Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Did The Media Create The Reality TV President?

   Is It Mourning 
     In America?

Many people are tired, angry, depressed, and fearful after watching the election results come in.  One of the biggest upsets in the political history of our 240-year-old nation has rocked the world.  Even those who voted for the Republican --about half of the electorate -- may not be fully happy or even aware of what their choice will mean for the near and long-term viability of America.  But one thing is clear:  The one who gets the most publicity wins – even when it’s seemingly negative.

Donald J. Trump was a reality show candidate.  America, with the election, merely renewed him for another four-year season.

He is the P.T. Barnum of politics.  He would just make an outrageous claim and double-down on it – no facts, no evidence no plan.  But he’d say it with such conviction, always speaking in superlatives and language that expressed how a wish could become the ideal reality.  He’d smile.  Behind his words was the lottery-winning allure that one could achieve his wealth and be surrounded by beautiful women.  

He was also the train wreck no one could avert their eyes from.  Good or bad, he dominated most media coverage.  Everything – from headlines to op-eds to letters-to-the editor, led with his name.  Everything was filtered through and defined by him.  People were enamored with him, even shocked by his words and actions.  But they couldn’t get enough of him.  Boring he is not. Everything seems to be six degrees of separation from Trump.

Another lesson here is that political advertising means little.  People tune these negative ads out.  Clinton outspent the billionaire by a lot – and still couldn’t win.  Trump seemingly turned off women, Hispanics, blacks, the handicapped, Muslims, and so many groups.  It didn’t matter.  People voted for a personality.

They decided they’d rather be entertained, than governed.  They didn’t want to see Trump exit the national stage.  He’s why people tuned in to the debates in record numbers.  He’s why cable news ratings shot up.  He’s why people buy newspapers.  The media, though they sided against him on the editorial content, created him.  They covered him non-stop, from early morning news shows to late-night comedies, including Saturday Night Live. The media enjoy the high ratings, extra clicks, and bigger circulation numbers -- but we all pay a price for this.

Of course, it’s not just the media who gave us a Trump presidency.  Clinton did her share as a flawed candidate who managed to still lose a chunk of women and Hispanics in states that had been blue for decades.  Too much talk of her was not about policy but about emails hacked and her private email server.  She had the hint of corruption and scandal around her, along with her own womanizing burden, former president Bill Clinton.  Whereas Trump admittedly tweeted outrageous things and managed to get elected without real tax scrutiny, there she was, a calculating, cunning person, as told to us by her purloined emails.  Perhaps if Trump had been hacked we would’ve learned even more about him, but it would not have mattered.  He just would’ve gotten more air time, furthering his commanding PR edge.

As a practitioner in marketing and public relations, I apologize to those who fall victim to what my industry does and in the role it plays in feeding the news media its ammunition.  I did not vote for Trump, but the media, by virtue of its constant coverage of him, ended up swinging things his way.

No one knows how to explain it.  The polls got it wrong. The pundits failed us, too.

Trump had so many major gaffes, and each one normally would have doomed a candidate, but he became Teflon Don. He also managed to fight his own party, his own election team, the media, and a Democratic machine.  You have to give him credit, the master of PR and spin like few have come before him.

To be fair, something else was at work here, bigger than his lack of experience, bankruptcies, affairs, sexism, narcissism, racism and lack of policy knowledge. He represented change, even if it meant some of us were getting short-changed. He’s the bad boy that girls are told to stay away from but whom seek approval from. Even those disgusted with his behavior are envious of his powerful aura. He was the 800-pound elephant in the room who managed to crush everything and anyone in his way. 

Sure, having the Russian hackers, Wikipedia, and the FBI on your side helped Trump immensely, but in the end, the media’s creation of the trump character and its 24-7 consumption of all things Trump pushed things his way.

But there will be repercussions for this curiosity, this infatuation with the wild-card outsider.  He’s inexperienced with how government works.  His business tactics may not translate to government.  His racist-sexist views will still alienate the nation. We went from the election of Obama as a uniter to Trump as a divider.  But people preferred to overlook the ego, the grandiosity, the megalomania because they hated or didn’t trust her more.  She gave people enough ammunition to oppose her, and that is on her.

There’s no doubt he’ll do things on a large scale – sink or swim.  He’ll either blow things up or make America great again. I don’t want to bet against him because our fate is tied into his.  And he’s proven us wrong time and again, so who’s to say what he is really capable of.  He’s as surprised as any, he’s the president.  It was just a marketing ploy and an ego trip to run.  But then he started to climb and climb and climb.  His popularity continues to grow.

The next two years will be the most perilous since The Great Recession, September 11, Pearl Harbor, or the conclusion of The Civil War.  He has the majority in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.  He’s going to appoint at least one Supreme Court Justice.  The inmates are in control of the asylum, led by a carnival barker.

The media created him. The people elected him. Now we should rally around our government. We have no other choice. .

God help us all.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.
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