I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t talk about Trump, but in the face of yet another media feeding frenzy following the very real potential for “Trump-Palin 2016,” I’m breaking that this once to call out the proliferators of Trump’s politics. These people are as opportunistic as they are ideologically chameleonic, and yet I haven’t seen anyone giving them the ridicule they deserve. No, I’m not talking about Trump’s supporters, I’m talking about his detractors, especially those who make a living doing exactly what I’m doing now.
From the moment Donald Trump transitioned from reality television star and kind-of businessman to a legitimate political force—and let’s not kid ourselves, by this point he’s here to stay—it was clear that his platform embodied a single consistent sentiment: controversy. In a sea of changing specifics and quiet pandering, the braggadocio of his increasingly bigoted and ethically repugnant (final) “solutions” has remained the spotlight of media coverage. Actually, virtually every platform can be boiled down to a simple, media-friendly formula: start with majority anger, add a huge helping of arrogance and name-calling and, finally, top it off with a scapegoat, each more controversial than the last. Showmanship at its finest, and not at all unprecedented—Trump summed it up pretty succinctly in his own book, “The Art of the Deal”: “Controversy, in short, sells.”
You’d think that something like this would be easily combatted, and many well-meaning politicians on both sides of the aisle have suggested the seemingly logical plan of hitting The Donald where it hurts: the specifics. And yet, after every comment that should send shivers down your spine—like, for example, banning Muslims from entering the country, including those who are US citizens, something even far-righters should fear if they are anything other than fair-weather constitutionalists—and in spite of the persistent efforts of detractors, he saw rise after rise in the polls. That most recent debacle netted him 41 percent of the GOP vote according to the New York Post, the highest percentage in his career at that point. It’s been speculated that Trump is beloved at least partially for his “honesty” and lack of political correctness, so, knowing what we do about Trump and all he has said about Mexicans, Muslims, women, political opponents and just about anyone or anything that might gain him notoriety, allow me to retort in a same vein: if you support Donald Trump, you’re a bigot.
But I’m not here to state the obvious. Instead, my question is directed at the pundits who are his greatest opponents: what exactly is your excuse for pushing his agenda? Sure, Trevor Noah—host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central—might protest that his “Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter” segment and Salon-approved quips like “supporting Trump is a lot like masturbation” are just comedy, in the same way that CNET would swear they’re just covering technology news when they make inflammatory article titles like “If Donald Trump had his way, your iPhone would be insanely pricey,” but the reality is that journalists, especially in the left-wing, are making boatloads of ad revenue off The Donald despite significant evidence that he will benefit from any kind of attention. The fact that recent presidential debates, forums that have been make-or-break for political figures dating back to Kennedy, have pandered so clearly and pathetically to Trump, even under a “gotcha!” pretense, goes to show that the one thing right and left wing media can agree on is that Trump winning isn’t nearly as important as making oodles of money off Trump winning.
I chose now to tiptoe hypocrisy because the Donald-Palin attention-baiting tag team, a pairing so dense it verges on collapsing into a fascist black hole, appears to be a very real possibility, and those like The Washington Post have already concocted such well-intended click bait as “Sarah Palin’s rambling, remarkable and at times hard to understand endorsement of Donald Trump” in response. There’s a fine line between reporting the news and making it, a line that has blurred significantly in recent years, and I can sympathize with the want to change politics through opinion. But to be frank, in a battle of this nature with Donald Trump, we’re out of our depth.
What people need now more than ever is matter-of-fact reporting on Trump: take the sensationalism out of the titles, take away the gawking and persistent attention, give Trump the same time of day you’d give poor ol’ Jeb, and we’ll finally see the real race begin.