Donald Trump, who has been known to treat facts as if they were expendable underlings, may be proving that bloviation has its limits. Or perhaps he has us just where he wants us -- i.e., talking about him. In any event, an online petition on SignOn.org asking Macy’s to dump his line of apparel in response to his “unpleasant, nasty and despicable behavior” in various venues has gathered enough signatures –- more than a half million -- to gather widespread media coverage over the last 24 hours.
The story was teased at the top of America Public Media’s “Marketplace” last night and blogged about in the Washington Post’s “Election 2012” coverage. Why, it’s big enough news to compete with headlines like “Snooki Dyes Her Hair ‘Fireball’ Red” and “Keira Knightley Poses Topless” in Us.
The “Urge Macy’s To Dump Donald Trump” petition started by Angelo Carusone starts off with “Macy's: Donald Trump does not reflect the ‘magic of Macy's….’” The lede paragraph of his background statement goes on to say: “Macy's has a special deal with Donald Trump. They invest in developing Trump's brand and sell his clothing line and fragrance at their locations. To this end, they have had major events at Macy's Herald Square location and they often feature and promote Trump in advertisements designed to celebrate the magic of Macy's.”
The retailer says “it is sticking with the oddly haired mogul, who also appears in its holiday advertising,” reports Marketing Daily’s Sarah Mahoney. “Macy’s marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position,” a spokesperson tells Mahoney via email. “Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy's -- or at any retailer, for that matter -- express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company.”
Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek Smith reports that “Trump’s products have reportedly been big sellers for Macy’s, but The Donald’s brand is changing, according to marketing consultant Faith Popcorn. ‘He used to be a lot more elegant and a lot more of an icon,’ says Popcorn. ‘But what he’s bringing to the brand is negative political kind of backlash.’”
“The petition also paints the business magnate as a sexist hypocrite who ‘personally [attacks] women he disagrees with by calling them “unattractive,” ugly, or fat and complains about jobs being shipped overseas, ‘despite the fact that almost his entire clothing line sold at Macy's is made in China and other Asian nations,’” the USWeekly Staff points out.
And would you believe that even Cher is having her say? “Feud Alert! Donald Trump and Cher's Twitter War Gets Ugly” screams the hed on E! Suffice to say that the Tweets it repeats prove the point.
Commentators’ reactions to the story in Bloomberg Businessweek run the predictable gamut -- from right, left and patently obvious -- but most defend to the death Trump’s right, to paraphrase a quote oft wrongly attributed to Voltaire, to bloviate it.
Business Insider’s Ashley Lutz reports that “Trump isn't bothered by the critics and told Bloomberg Businessweek earlier this month that ‘the fact is that there’s a large group of people who like Donald Trump and what Donald Trump says.’”
The Nov. 7 story by By Susan Berfield also points out that Trump has 1,850,011 followers on Twitter as of that date. “How many of those are in it for the sheer spectacle?” she asks. “Who knows? Retweets are not endorsements.”
There was a time when “making a spectacle of yourself” was considered a pejorative comment. But in the age of Snooki, Kim and The Donald, it’s all about the retweets –- good, bad or patently obvious.