Is Donald Trump serious about running for president? That question is on the media’s mind this week as they continue to obsess over him. The consensus seems to be that since they are covering him so much, he must be serious. After all, a poll commissioned by a news outlet asked people if a guy who isn’t running for president were actually running in a fictitious election held today as news outlets everywhere talk about him and, surprise, many said they would vote for him. Now that’s Serious!
Last week I counted three stories on Salon’s homepage about Trump. Most news outlets report on his every grunt for the page views and clicks while serious” ones are left writing columns about how it’s all crazy and if only we could all stop talking about him. We now have a completely self-contained Donald Trump-based media; Journalists digging up dirt on his past marriages and financial dealings wonder if it will hurt his non-existent campaign they are reporting on.
One of the justifications issued by the punditry for this farce is that the presidential horse race hasn’t started, leaving them grasping for interesting coverage. Which is sort of like saying, “The year-and-a-half onslaught of insipid minute-by-minute campaign coverage has yet to fully materialize into the giant mountain of flaming bullshit we will proudly dance upon as you gouge your eyes out, so we have given you this much smaller pile of smelly foulness to drive you insane in the intermediate.”
Donald Trump has revealed a truth about our system: advertising, media and politics have become so closely intertwined that there is absolutely no way to determine if Donald Trump is serious about being president – even if he goes so far as to actually hold the office. What does the word “serious” even mean in a world where becoming a Senator is merely a stepping stone to a more lucrative career lobbying for corporate plunder? Momentarily proclaiming that you might run for president the very week you release a book is simply part of the normal booking process for interviews these days.
Mounting a presidential campaign has always been a great way get pet issues into the media spotlight. That works especially well when your pet issue is yourself being in the media spolight.
Wednesday: Pirate Obama”