President-elect Donald J. Trump certainly was the greatest salesman ever during the last campaign -- and America pretty much bought it.
Question: So, what do you suppose he was selling?
Answer: Easy. Donald J. Trump.
Q: How did he do it?
A: He told people what many (although not quite a majority) wanted to hear and mostly in all the right Electoral College places.
Q: Did he mean what he said?
A: Who knows? Do you suppose he even knows? I mean, this is a guy who changes positions on a dime, depending on what he believes will work as he says it. He’s like a clone of Alex Trebek who knows all the answers even before he knows the categories. For example: One day Trump insists that the Russians absolutely did not try to hack the election suggesting it was, among other thoughts, some “400 pound guy in New Jersey”; then he says well, maybe they did but it doesn’t matter; and, when the issue refuses to die, he (finally) agrees to meet with national security advisors to … well, to what? Tell them that the truth is malleable? (“All those computers, you know. Can’t trust ‘em for a minute.”) And besides, his new BFF is really smart to wait for him to be inaugurated before he retaliates by hornswoggling the new President.
Q: So, what did America buy?
A: The greatest bait and switch in American history.
Q: So, what will that mean?
A: Interesting times. As to what that means, your guess is as good as mine. Just be sure to learn Russian … ochen horrashow (очень хорошо; very good in English)!
Maybe Vice President-elect Mike Pence will be sort of a Chief Operating Officer VP with Trump in charge of mostly Twitter and noise. After all, Ohio’s Governor John Kasich was said to have been offered that COO chance by Trump.
Since this column comes to you via MediaVillage.com, let’s take a closer look at what the great Trump sales job means to those of us in the greater media village.
The next four years – if Trump lasts that long – will be challenging, interesting and damn difficult. Just look at his last 18 months of media manipulation/cynicism/antagonism. (Take your pick, depending on ease-of-choice du jour.)
It isn’t that Trump doesn’t like media. In fact, he loves it! And uses it … even better than all the heads of all the networks – cable and broadcast – appear to know how to do! What the man can’t stand is journalism. As in reporting on the truth to the best of one’s ability. For Trump, truth is a lot like money: It’s fungible. That’s true of most narcissists. They like what they like. And their mirrors, real and imagined, only reflect the good, the great and the beautiful … and, of course, the yuuuuuge!
For those regulated by the Federal Confusion Commission, Trump, when compared to outgoing Chairman Tom Wheeler, looks like a breath of fresh, deregulated air. Maybe overall not so good for the USA, but pretty good for a lot of media bottom lines in the next few years. The media consensus seems to think Trump’s appointment of three very free market true-believers as heads of the FCC transition team will help boost media profits.
Wheeler’s resignation and Sen. McConnell’s churlish abandonment of the outgoing non-re-nominated Democratic Commissioner guarantees at least a temporary 2-to-1 Republican majority that can do Trump’s bidding without much more than whining in opposition. If, that is, the consensus is right.
With Trump, who knows?
Another real worry in the soon-to-be FCC Trumpland is his dissing of truth and the journalism that uncovers it … if he gets the FCC he might really want and, given his admiration of Putin and Nixon, how safe is any broadcast license?
Looking at his cabinet (like a Putin friend for Secretary of State versus retired Marine General “Mad Dog” Mattis for Department of Defense who doesn’t like either Iran or Russia) and other senior policy picks, it seems like Trump is setting up a shooting gallery of potential winners and losers. Kind of like how he manages his businesses and keeps even his own execs guessing about what he really thinks. His picks, who represent lots of divergent policy positions, will begin to fight it out for his attention, love, respect and agreement. In other words, life should be interesting and until real decisions are made (or un-made), anything goes. Except, of course, for how many truly far right-wing picks he’s chosen for domestic policy … which proves again the bait and switch point.
I can’t remember a time when so many people have voted against their own best interests. Well, they wanted change. They’re gonna get it.
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