Has the media no shame?

A terrible Rolling Stone interview of Trump really can’t get past the superficial crap: he’s rich. He’s number one in the polls. He’s gonna go all the way. The interviewer seems to have absorbed Trump’s perspective with all the exposure. It really needed a reporter who’d point out the problems with a political class defined by wealth, the media’s childish infatuation with poll position, and that coasting on gas and bluster isn’t substantive. But this is what we’ve got, and even in this tedious paint-by-numbers review, the full Trump ghastliness can’t help but erupt outwards.

When the anchor throws to Carly Fiorina for her reaction to Trump’s momentum, Trump’s expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. Look at that face! he cries. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! The laughter grows halting and faint behind him. I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?

No, we’re not serious. The fact that a loud, crass, profoundly stupid clown like Donald Trump is dominating the election news says that politics and the media in this country are not serious at all.


  1. says

    I dunno, I think the reporter is just adhering to the principle of “show, don’t tell.” It isn’t necessary to point out to Rolling Stone readers how they should feel about Trump. The Fiorina quote speaks for itself and has gotten front page coverage all over the corporate media networks. Not that it will turn off his fans.

  2. erichoug says

    I was thinking about this over the long weekend and I came to a startling conclusion. Hillary is popular with the people who always support Hillary namely the Democratic party establishment. Bernie Sanders is polling well with most voters but the democratic leadership hates him so he has a tough up-hill battle.

    Trump has really exposed the emptiness and bigotry of the Republican party but he has also generated a lot of excitement and channeled the typical right wing anger into a his.

    I used to say that Trump could win the primary but there was no way he would ever win the general. Now I have to admit that there is a small chance he could win the general election. I can’t think of anything more horrifying than a bigoted, ignorant, know-nothing egomaniac running the most powerful country in the world. I mean this guy will have access to the nuclear launch codes. A trust-fund kid whose casino went bankrupt. Seriously!? How do you bankrupt a casino?
    And there’s a small but real chance that we will elect him to the highest office in the land?

    Time to be scared.

  3. Matt says

    Uh, what? Did you read the same piece I did? It’s a hit piece, not sympathetic to Trump in any way. It does point out the problems with wealth and substance throughout the article. You talk about Trump ghastliness exploding out, but it’s not like the article wrote itself despite the reporter’s intentions; he put that anecdote there deliberately, precisely to make the point you took from it. Certainly the article’s not as acerbic as a Matt Taibbi or Charles Pierce piece, but it’s got a pretty arch sensibility that, in some weighs, lends its scorn more weight.

  4. Dunc says

    A trust-fund kid whose casino went bankrupt. Seriously!? How do you bankrupt a casino?

    And not just once, but four times over.

  5. Gregory Greenwood says

    Trump is so unutterably repellent that he almost makes me feel something other than total disgust for the UK’s political class by comparison. That should give you some idea of the pit of ego-maniacal, ignorant vileness Trump inhabits.

    This man makes David Cameron look like a master statesman. I can think of fewer more scathing indictments than that.

  6. says

    Trump doesn’t really need strong needling from an interviewer to reveal his many flaws, his outrageous ego being just one. In the Rolling Stone interview, Trump reveals his flaws … but Trump supporters won’t care and/or they simply won’t see those flaws.

    The more Trump looks like a cartoon character, the better the base of the Republican/Tea Party likes him. Without providing any details, Trump can say that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are “stupid, very stupid, very very stupid,” and his followers will think “that’s right, they’re stupid.”

    […] In late July – just seven weeks ago – 39% of Americans believed Bush would eventually be the Republicans’ presidential nominee. In this latest poll, among all voters 41% said Trump is likely to win the GOP nod, and among Republican voters, 51% said Trump is probably going to prevail.

    Note, 32% of Republicans support Trump, but 51% of Republicans expect him to win the nomination – suggesting there are quite a few GOP voters who don’t necessarily intend to vote for Trump, but they nevertheless see him in a strong enough position to advance to the general election.


  7. Georgia Sam says

    Look at that hair! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the hair of our next president?! I mean, really, folks, come on. Are we serious?

  8. Rob Grigjanis says

    It’s a good article, of the “give ’em enough rope” school. No idea how you get “terrible“.

  9. freemage says

    I was really hoping that once Trump signed the Loyalty Oath, he’d finally be dismissed as ultimately irrelevant and we could go about the real job of winnowing through the rest of the Clown Car to find the least awful GOP hopeful. Unfortunately, that has not happened.

    I think part of the problem isn’t JUST the obsession with polls–it’s also with a very superficial reading of them.

    Yes, Trump has the plurality position. But he has that while having nearly 100% name recognition. Every republican voter has already made up their minds about him, and 3/4 of them would rather go with literally anyone else. Once “anyone else” is winnowed down to a Confederate Jesus candidate and a Laissez Faire Business candidate*, Trump will STILL be at 25%, if not lower. He can’t really gain support, only lose it. So, without the possibility of a third-party run, he isn’t really a threat anymore.

    Although, having typed that out, I suppose he could very well be looking to play kingmaker–get the field down to himself and the aforementioned Traditional GOP candidates, then see who is willing to fluff his ego more in order to get his 20-25% of the party. That process could be tragically comic to watch. (Comic because it’d entail two GOP weasels kowtowing to Trump while pretending to have spines, tragic because it’d be further evidence that this country is fucked.)

    *: I should note that this is a distinction without a difference–they’ll both be awful, awful people and support the same miserable policies, because they’ll be trying to win the support of the same vile body of voters. The designations are more about their super-villain origin stories than their actual positions.

  10. says

    Trump engaged in damage control this morning:

    “Probably I did say something like that about Carly,” Trump said. “I’m talking about persona. I’m not talking about look.”


  11. says

    During the damage control interview this morning, Trump also gave his own analysis of the Rolling Stone article:

    ” […] the pictures in the magazine were magnificent. Overall, it was probably a pretty good story.”

    So, yeah, the article posted lots of photos of Trump, and he does like looking at himself. From the Rolling Stone article:

    Hope Hicks, Trump’s communications director who, several years ago, was studying at Southern Methodist University, leads me into the boss’s office, which is as much Trump’s trophy room as workspace. Every flat surface is adorned by his image: framed magazine glossies from Important Publications, none more so, at least per Trump, than the 1990 Playboy where “I was one of the only men to ever get on the cover.”

    This reminds me of Trump doing his version of damage control after the remarks about Rosy O’Donnell became fresh news again. He told us that it is hard for others to make fun of him in that way because he is “so good looking.”

    Trump in a nutshell.

  12. says

    My problem with the article, is that like all the news lately, it plays directly into Trump’s hands. Talk about politics as if its a horse race. Don’t dig into issues, just let him open his mouth and babble, burying all the ideas in bullshit.

    We learned this in the creationism debates, long ago. When dealing with a bullshitter, you must focus. Don’t let ’em Gish Gallop you. Don’t let ’em distract everyone from the point. Focus, focus, focus.

    The only person I’ve seen do that so far is Jorge Ramos: he confronts him with ONE issue, immigration, and hammers him with tough questions on that one topic. Everyone else, like this Rolling Stone reporter, let’s Trump set the agenda. It’s fine to say you’re letting him hang himself with his own rope, but what he’s doing is all kinds of fancy rope tricks and getting the applause of the ignorant mob.

  13. robro says

    erichoug: “How do you bankrupt a casino?” — Put Donald Trump in charge. “How do you bankrupt a country?” Um…

  14. robro says

    PZ @ #14:

    My problem with the article, is that like all the news lately, it plays directly into Trump’s hands. Talk about politics as if its a horse race. Don’t dig into issues, just let him open his mouth and babble, burying all the ideas in bullshit.

    Ain’t it the truth. That sums up my problem with the entire election process in this country. The whole business is a horse race. Just like a horse race, it’s all about the money. I suspect it’s the money that can be made from just running that has attracted so many candidates in recent years.

  15. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    The problem with the “Trump is a Democrat plant” conspiracy theory is, that even if it were true, getting a Trump to reveal his disguise is still the wrong persona for POTUS. Even Libs ain’t desperate enough to want a conman elected to reveal the “twist”, that “all you Rethuglican maroons voted for your worst enemy after all, the trump of trump cards”. It is enticing to imagine Trump playing the ubercon, going so extreme wingnut to get the merely wingnutty to vote for him, then springing the ultimate twist.
    However, however, pause a minute, consider the full ramifications of such an event. I too will say: *No* *uunh unh* *nope*.

  16. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Donald Trump making fun of somebody else’s appearance…

    [Blink] [Blink] [Blink]

    Damn. Need a new irony meter

  17. Rob Grigjanis says

    PZ @14:

    Don’t dig into issues, just let him open his mouth and babble, burying all the ideas in bullshit.

    What the article makes clear is that he has no ideas. Just ego and the cunning required to exploit the bigotry and ignorance of his constituency. It also gives some insight into what made him the horrible person he is.

  18. says

    Something something access.

    One argument too many journalists make is that they can’t ask the hard questions because that can shut off their access to politicians. What they never seem to say is what they need that access for if they’re not going to ask hard questions.

  19. says

    At the anti-Iran-deal rally held in Washington D.C. yesterday, Trump used R.E.M’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” song as his walking-to-the-microphone soundtrack.

    R.E.M. was not pleased. Michael Stipe said:

    Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you–you sad, attention grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.

    Bassist Mike Mills said:

    Personally, I think the Orange Clown will do anything for attention. I hate giving it to him.

    And here is the official R.E.M. statement from their Facebook page:

    While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here. The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign.

  20. says

    Criticizing Carly Fiorina’s physical appearance is a low blow when’s she’s done so much that is worthy of legitimate criticism. Like shitting all over Hewlett Packard like some kind of demented seagull before flapping off to start her political career.

    (Having taken Trump to task for doing it, it might be totally hypocritical of me now to state that I find him physically repulsive. Seriously. That mouth, locked in a permanent sneer yet somehow slack, like some kind of orifice Francis Bacon would paint after a particularly hard night on the gin…)

  21. tkreacher says

    Tabby Lavalamp #20

    What they never seem to say is what they need that access for if they’re not going to ask hard questions.

    A steady paycheck.

  22. McC2lhu is rarer than fish with knees. says

    Politics in America are very serious…seriously stupid. That you can have some racist, misogynist blowhard asshole top a non-fringe party’s polls speaks volumes about the collective intelligence of the entire nation. You can blame Reagan and Falwell’s call to evangelicals to vote. People that had no interest or will to follow national and international news in discriminating fashion suddenly being told to vote was a recipe for disaster. Now you add in a full-time propaganda ministry with Faux News and you have the most ignorant fuckwits hitting the polls in numbers that affect policies that deserved monumentally more gravitas, rationality, empathy and in-depth knowledge. The founding fathers’ intentioned outcome for this country is a non-starter until Faux and Jeebus are shown as the fraud couple they truly are.

  23. mamba says

    Oh I don’t know, I think to the rest of the world, Trump represents current America pretty well…

    …rich elitist racist completely out of touch with people, a totally self-absorbed ignorant blowhard oblivious to the concerns of others as he projects his huge ego’s need to dominate everything and have others worship him, ignoring his own failings and hoping that volume and style will distract from his own multiple spectacular failures.

    Pretty sure most places in the world see that and say ‘Yup, that’s America for you! Nail everything down, here they come to ‘save’ us again.”. So given that, vote for Trump…as long as you allow Republicans to have any power, at least you’re getting the leader you deserve without the mask of decency. You even have a prescient for it…Bush was just Trump without the confidence and intelligence, which says something in itself.

  24. Dark Jaguar says

    Nate Silver has a LOT to say on Donald Trump that nobody is paying attention to. Basically, statistically, he’s not nearly doing so well as everyone thinks he is.

  25. Joey Maloney says

    My problem with the article, is that like all the news lately, it plays directly into Trump’s hands. Talk about politics as if its a horse race. Don’t dig into issues, just let him open his mouth and babble, burying all the ideas in bullshit.

    Well, sorry, that’s all US political journalism for as long as I’ve been following it which takes us back to Nixon’s impeachment. In the late 70s, the crime novelist Robert B. Parker had his hero, Spenser, say about political journalism something like, “I realized they weren’t treating politics as if it were important the way, say, love is important. They were treating it as if it were important the way baseball is important. Northing about their ideas, their policies, if they would be good for people or bad for people. All the talk was of winning and losing, who was up and who was down.”

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la motherfucking même chose.