Donald Trump, we all know by now, has the mind of a graffiti artist and the extravagance of Marie Antoinette. “I’m rich,” he matter of factly summarizes his control over all things temporal. “I can do these things.”
It’s then that you begin to wonder if he is the ultimate payoff of wealth and reckless power in a free society or merely a clownish pop-up figure in a penny arcade to amuse you for no more than a blink.
This much is certain; the media elite are now beginning to question their own early fascination with Trump as a magnet for viewers and readers, whatever his failings.
MSNBC, trailing both Fox News and CNN, was never hesitant to cut into regular programming with further opportunities to view him on a roll. The cable coverage was unspeakably awash in his appearances regurgitating polls and endless analyses.
Republican and Democratic “strategists”, whoever they were, got top billing with often meaningless insight. At MSNBC, the network even posted a clock in the right hand corner with a countdown hour and minute to Chris Mathews’ latest round of the Place for Politics that could double for the “Place for Lunatics.”
So it was a welcome break in the action that New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof placed the blame for the Trump phenomenon in a word that sounded an awful like Pogo’s reference to the enemy: “Us”. Kristof said Trump was empowered by the fact that the media “screwed up”.
He quoted former “Today'” anchor Ann Curry as saying “Trump stepped on the presidential campaign stage precisely at a moment when the media is struggling against deep insecurity about its financial future. The truth is, the media has needed Trump like a crack addict needs a hit.”
The columnist concluded: “Despite some outstanding coverage of Trump,on the whole we in the media empowered a demagogue and failed the country. We were lap dogs, not watchdogs.”
Alas, the whistleblowers may be too late.