Politics

The Big Reason Donald Trump Has Come This Far

Media made buckets of money selling us Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. They raked it in: gave Trump lots of airtime, let him call into TV shows, waited breathlessly for 90 minutes for Trump to say that President Obama was born in the United States. For the 21st century this was a Princess Diana and Michael Jackson media bonanza — the ultimate click bait.

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Part two of media’s "Trump Profit Plan" was to make an equal amount of money taking him down; for example, Joe Scarborough saying they didn’t give Trump a free ride, while they devoted 120 minutes a day talking about Trump. And it was on every channel, every day and night; they all cashed in big time.

Meanwhile to Trump, headlines mean not having to advertise. He campaigned by dominating the headlines. Trump gave them bread and circus — anything that got a headline — and the media (including ATTN:, at times) printed it, broadcast it, and everyone talked about Trump. Trump is an attention addict, that’s his drug. And the media is his dealer.

But now something truly disgusting has surfaced — tape of Trump and former "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush discussing women in the most vile way — and the media is going to ask for redemption by exposing the real Donald.

Now, part of it will be righteous journalists like The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold, who scooped "Access Hollywood" and NBC News on their own story that they dragged their feet on. Fahrenthold's shoe-leather reporting also exposed a series of issues with the Trump Foundation. But another and maybe even larger part of it will be purely the corporate media in it for the money.

Tonight’s debate was going to be a ratings bonanza before Friday’s revelations. Now, it’s the Super Bowl and the Oscars rolled into one. The amount of promotion, the number of hours playing that disgusting tape over and over again will help them recoup the expense of covering Hurricane Matthew.

But what about the American people, have they been well served by this circus? No, they haven’t. They have been at times entertained, amused and titillated, but not truly informed until now. Now we will see them go after Trump because that is the way of all celebrity media — make money by promoting the celebrity, then, make money by taking the celebrity down.

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But, as I have said before, this is not a reality show, not "Dancing With The Stars" or "America’s Got [Presidential] Talent." This is a job interview to be the leader of the free world. So, when "Access Hollywood" outtakes are the reason that a disgraceful Presidential candidate is taken down, my question to the media is — where the fuck have you been? Anyone and everyone in show business knew who the Trump character was. It was all out there. Media could have done their first amendment duty and dug this up months ago.

As Margaret Sullivan of the Post wrote on Saturday the three journalistic lessons of this election are check your mailbox, answer your phone, and search your archives. "Why," Sullivan asks, "didn’t NBC News do the basic journalistic work of working through its own company’s archives on Trump months ago?"

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And this current scandal should finish the job of taking down this sexual predator quickly. However, I’m sure media will drag this out, fill the air time with Trump outrage and make money on his dominance of the headlines for as long as they can make a profit from it. Well, in the process, let’s finish this once and for all.

I am disgusted by what Donald Trump said, as I believe every evolved person in America and the world is. And, as a media strategist and trainer, in the face of this disgusting tape, I would advise a client to go for a Jimmy Swaggart-Come-to-Jesus-moment, using the debate audience to confess and ask for redemption.

But that’s not The Donald. He will probably come out swinging wildly at the reputation of former President Bill Clinton. If he does, I strongly advise Secretary Clinton to use the words that Laura Dawn, founder of Art not War, posted on her Facebook page on Saturday:

“I was cheated on by my husband. I'm pretty sure everyone in the world already knows that. What they might not know is how painful that experience was, and my heart goes out to every woman and man who has ever been in that dark experience. My heart goes out to Melania right now for having to hear that tape of you Donald, bragging about hitting on a married woman while married to the mother of your child. But what I chose to do was to do the deep work, the deep painful work on my marriage with Bill so my family could stay together. We did that work and we've been together for 41 years. Others like Donald Trump, who have cheated on three wives now, cut and run and just marry someone new. That's been his path. I'm proud of mine because my family is still together. And this is all I will say on this tonight."

That "Access Hollywood" tape told us the truth about the Donald: He really likes using his celebrity power to get the sex he likely would never get without it. (It also reveals Donald J. Trump is stupid. It is a stupidity built on arrogance. He had a microphone clipped to his lapel and he said all of those things. With a microphone on, no conversation is private. The first thing I drill into any client’s head is: all microphones are hot all the time.)

And, all of those who have held their nose and supported him, saying their support was about conservative principals or U.S. Supreme Court justices, or anything else, confirm my belief that they have transactional morality. This transactional morality allows these voters to support this man that none of them would let near their daughter, wife, sister, or mother.

And let’s be clear, this isn’t locker room banter or “boys will be boys.” This is truly revolting. So now, I’m counting on America to save us from this disgrace of a man. And in defeating him in his ultimate power quest for the presidency, Trump must disappear the way OJ and Bill Cosby did. His punishment should be to starve him of his drug — attention. And to do this, the media must move on.

Joel Silberman is a distinguished media critic, expert, and strategist as well as a partner at Democracy Partners.