Ring My Bell: The Press and Donald Trump

Reporters show up to cover something they know is likely to be bullshit, only to complain that it is in fact bullshit:

Donald Trump today pledged $5 million to a charity of President Obama’s choice, provided the president makes public his college applications and transcripts and releases his passport history, a far cry from the October-surprise bombshell Trump had promised.

If only there had been some indication that Donald Trump might be utterly full of shit prior to this very sad moment. It all could have been avoided.

Calling the offer a “major announcement,” Trump released a video via Twitter at noon to much ballyhoo, and his online followers grew by the hundreds in the moments before the video was released.

Why yes. It’s almost as if he benefitted from high-profile media coverage of some kind.

Trump had been teeing up this announcement for days, and many hoped for a game-changing October surprise.

They had? Who are these people? Quote them, name them, at least tell us many of WHAT had been hoping for an October surprise. Many Republicans? Many voters? Many hairdressers? Many clowns?

How exactly was Trump “teeing up this announcement?” By sending gullible, lazy and stupid national pundits and reporters endless press releases and Twittering things? Is that how he forced them all to attend his press conference? I was sort of hoping it was something more extreme, like maybe he held a gun to their heads, given that this story is written as if under duress.

Oh, and no piece of total bullshit would be complete without false equivalency:

Separately, liberals were also hoping for a late-breaking smear on Mitt Romney that would alter a neck-and-neck race for the White House, but that also fell flat today.

A Massachusetts judge will hold another hearing Thursday before deciding whether to unseal testimony Romney gave in a 1990s divorce case. Some people have accused Romney of lying under oath so a friend and political backer, Staples founder Tom Stemberg, would not have to pay a settlement his wife.

That didn’t “fall flat.” It hasn’t happened yet. We don’t know what’s in those records. We don’t know it’s a “smear.” Might be nothing, but it’s certainly not equivalent to Trump throwing open Al Capone’s safe only to find a squeaky toy and a half-eaten Twinkie in there, not yet.

You know, I don’t fault Trump at all for his antics. He’s doing exactly what he’s good at, which is being a better-dressed Joey Buttafuoco. But it is blindingly clear by now that absolutely nothing he says is important in any way, and 90 percent of it is false. So why is he being covered as though he has anything that matters in his head?

The stories themselves say flat-out that this was crap, which makes me wonder why there were stories at all. Instead of covering something only to bemoan how demeaning it is to cover it, why not … not cover it? Call your assignment editor and say sorry, nothing new here, the thing died on the table? I had to do that all the time, and it sucked, but we have a limited amount of time on this planet and not everything was worth the ten minutes it would take one of our readers to get through the story.

Politicians and others are always calling press conferences to talk about things that don’t get covered. It’s perfectly possible (and at times even honorable) to refuse to listen when somebody wants to lie to you, to refuse to broadcast those lies, and above all to make clear that it is your goddamn job to make those decisions.

Once upon a time journalists took pride in not getting played so easily. Now they describe the precise ways in which they got worked and expect us to be outraged on their behalf. It’s exhausting. Just shut up and go home and the next time Trump drunk-dials you promising he has Jimmy Hoffa in his car trunk, use the caller ID God gave you and don’t pick up.

A.

5 thoughts on “Ring My Bell: The Press and Donald Trump

  1. RayS says:

    I wonder if I can patent an oversized toilet so that when Trump finally dies, instead of burying him we can just flush him as he deserves.

  2. montag says:

    Oh, fer sure, there are “many clowns” involved, and they all have press credentials…

  3. MapleStreet says:

    To ask the obvious question: So why is it so important for Obama to release all of these then Romney hasn’t even released his taxes beyond 2 years?
    Not to mention, if Trump made this offer to me, I certainly don’t have my college applications. No reason to keep them.

  4. gratuitous says:

    THANK YOU for creaming that meatball over the heart of the plate. Home. Run. The question, as you say, isn’t why T Rump does what he does: He gets stroked from here to Sunday for his overhyped antics. But why do the popular media feel compelled to give this charlatan any oxygen at all? And, as you note, the topper is when these multi-millionaire “journalists” stamp their little feet and complain about getting fooled by T Rump. Again.

  5. MapleStreet says:

    @gratuitous – perhaps because he **is** a celebrity personality with a history of being over the top and foolish? Plus because he is so rich, he is what the collective “we” aspire to be. Not to mention the scary part : this nutcase has enough money and power to make things happen.
    Kind of like a rich Vermin Supreme (although Mr. Supreme admits it).

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