Donald Trump doesn't want Americans to see his tax returns. Is that because his brand is built on the fiction that he is a tough talking self-made billionaire? A cross between the monopoly man, Elvis and Steven Seagal. Will releasing his tax returns expose the fact he is not that rich or is this lack of transparency just another story to feed the crawls on the bottom of the 24/7 news screens. In his ninety two page financial disclosure document, Trump values his brand at more than three billion dollars. The unprecedented tsunami of free media coverage recently given Trump has added considerably to that value. His business plan is all about increasing brand awareness and associating that brand with being rich and bossy.
Channeling Frank Underwood, the candidate has said, I could “shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.” Almost any mention of his name seems to increase his popularity. Just the other day there was a “poll” that proclaimed Donald Trump is more unpopular than lice. That story was so devastating to his reputation it was followed by the announcement that Trump and Clinton are now neck and neck in the swing states.
The broadcast media LOVES it some “Mr. Trump”, as he insists on being called. They just can't get enough. They just can't quit him. They don't miss any chance to talk about him, show images of him and show his name on the screen. Look at the this screenshot from a moment on MSNBC. HIS face is shown three times, HIS name is shown three times and all the while the HE is the topic of conversation.
The financial reward for trumpeting his constantly changing spew of half-baked positions, insults and back-peddling is so valuable to the media they have become addicted. All the anti-Trump spending and the increase in ratings has media moguls like Les Moonves drooling in his caviar, "It May Not Be Good for America, but It's Damn Good for CBS." Almost all the focus is on optics and very little of it on facts. The constant, repetitive, never ending stream of shallow conversation is exactly what Mr. Trump wants and needs.
Recently countless hours were spent on two stories involving Trump. “Donald Trump’s Former Butler Calls for Obama’s Death; Secret Service to Investigate” and “Donald Trump masqueraded as publicist to brag about himself” in 1991. Both of these stories can be interpreted in different ways and are easily dismissed distractions from the terrible policies advocated by Trump. The broadcast media fails to dwell on his tax cuts that are three times larger than the disastrous tax cuts pushed through by George W. Bush. There is little examination of the impact of Trump getting advice on Supreme Court nominations from the Heritage Foundation. Instead of digging into all the flip flops and lies about actual policies, we hear about Trump's racist former butler and a strange phone call that happened twenty five years ago.
These “stories” are probably conceived in a command center on the 13th level basement under Trump Tower. Perhaps someone should cross reference IMDB Pro and LinkedIn for reality TV writers and producers against the personnel lists for the Trump campaign and their contractors. Imagine that a team of veteran reality TV writers have been hired by The Celebrity Candidate to create scenarios to play out on the screen. The whiteboard is full of ideas, all presented in hopes of earning that big viral bonus money. Mr. Candidate gets into a spat with Speaker Smug Beard. Mr. Speaker says he might not support Mr. Candidate because he has wild ideas. Mr. Candidate calls Mr. Speaker a loser. In the end Mr. Speaker kisses Mr. Candidate's ring and gushes about how his ideas have evolved. Isn't Mr. Candidate just another regular Republican now? This writers room is killing it. They have the media sopping up their copy so fast you would think they are on the payroll.
The butler story sounds bad to many people, but to Trump's admirers it says, Trump is for white people and he is a rich successful guy. He even has a butler, just like Batman! The man on the phone, who sounded just like Donald Trump, called a reporter and pretended to be a publicist named John Miller. This phone call paints a picture of an insecure, attention-seeking, narcissist attempting to inflate his public image. This is weak sauce. The story is old and also easily dismissed by supporters. It demonstrates that Donald Trump is an aggressive advocate who will do anything to win. So what if he pretended to be someone named John Miller. He is a creative problem solver. And reporters are anti-American evil scum anyway.
Wait! OMG! I am contributing to HIS brand building exercise. Perhaps I should refrain from mentioning HIS name or using HIS image. From now on the Republican candidate for President in 2016 could be known as #JohnMiller or #TheBigOrangeHead.
And finally... John Miller should never be President of the United States of America.
NOTE: Louse of Barbs image DonkeyHotey available on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)