Friday, November 16, 2012

TRUMPING THE MEDIA


The latest cast of "Celebrity Apprentice"
In case you were distracted by the rising body count in Syria, Donald Trump recently appeared on Today to promote the new season of Celebrity Apprentice – which, in the most bizarre of coincidences, are both NBC series. Trump introduced the dozen or so has-beens who hope to land a real job once they’re through groveling in his boardroom. (Three of these "celebrity" stooges are Lisa Rinna, Brande Roderick and Claudia Jordan. I'll give you a moment to ask, "WTF?") The only one who doesn't fit that sorry mold is Penn Jillette, the larger, louder half of Penn & Teller. The genuinely talented Jillette, who's probably taking part just to promote his Las Vegas gig, knows a showman when he sees one.




I could totally see him taking
the oath of office on a
cold January morning.
Or would that be “shaman”? Because it seemed like Trump concocted a potion to make everyone forget he was last seen as an almost-presidential candidate. And not just any candidate, but one whose crack team of gumshoes found evidence “you wouldn’t believe” regarding President Obama’s birth certificate. Trump never released their findings because… well, what’s the point if we wouldn’t believe it?


Perhaps, now that Election Day has passed, pundits analyzing the 2012 campaign will wonder how anybody took Trump seriously. Did they really believe he would give up his Celebrity Apprentice infomercial for a job that offers less personal power? (He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who’d enjoy consulting with 535 Congress people.) Or trading in his new jumbo jet for a used, government-designed model? Or, adding insult to injury, willingly living in a house that lacks shiny brass pillars, black marble credenzas and solid gold toilet handles?
You can't spell "class" without "ass."




Yeah, in today's job market this is
exactly what people want to purchase.

Now as far as his business empire is concerned, Donald Trump’s “look at me” shtick is no worse than goofy fun. You know the drill. The Trump hotels, steaks, vodka and cologne are the greatest in the world. The Trump country clubs are chockfull of “very important people.” Fine, that’s how big shots operate. At least he’s not flying airplanes into office towers or blowing up subways –- Trump creates things (or slaps his name on them). And he’s certainly responsible for more jobs and tax revenue than all his critics combined. That’s way more impressive than, say, the Trump Home fragrance collection. (What does a runaway ego smell like? You can find out yourself, starting at just $26.)




A jock, a black woman, a midget,
a dumb blonde and a gay guy
walk into a room...
But…That“will he or won’t he run” routine was nothing more than Trump and the media engaging in MAC (Mutually Assured Cynicism). Morning news shows in particular decided long ago that celebrities were what brought in the eyeballs. (The death of our ambassador to Libya? The winner of Dancing with the Stars? It’s all the same to George Stephanopoulos and the gang at Good Morning America.) During the Republican campaign, you probably saw more of Donald Trump than Jon Huntsman or Gary Johnson combined. Those other two were serious guys who wanted to discuss important issues as varied as our relationship with China to the legalization of marijuana. But as far as many news anchors were concerned, there was only one question worth asking: What does Donald have to say?


Perhaps it was appropriate, then, that the only person I saw demand Trump put up or shut up with the birth certificate“evidence” was Anderson Cooper. Cooper had nothing to lose by doing the job his elders forfeited when Trump allegedly considered throwing his hair into the ring. And when you're the news anchor best known for giggling fits, New Year’s Eve broadcasts with Kathy Griffin and being the son of the woman responsible for $500 jeans, that's pretty freaking sad for the state of television journalism in general.
 


Anderson Cooper proves once and for all that he has the same credentials
                                                              as Walter Cronkite.

In the end, though, who can blame Trump for taking advantage of our TMZ-fueled, celebrity-consecrating media? He’s just following the lead of your average holistic dietician or pet psychologist: shilling dubious claims via accommodating interviewers. On the other hand, as with the shrink who analyzes Fido’s aggressive behavior as suppressed memories of stale Milkbones, it doesn’t mean we have to take him seriously.

By the way, Donald, love your spring water!
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