While it was happening over the last several months, I wondered how various columnists, show hosts, performers, publications and Web sites would recover if Donald Trump got elected.
The media may have done a terrible job covering this election, but along the way, some outlets and opinion makers stated their anti-Trump messages without any of the softening pundits often do to leave themselves some "I got to work in this town" wiggle room. Because they were sure he wouldn't be there on Nov. 9.
Even Garrison Keillor, the recently retired host of “Prairie Home Companion,” belittled Trump in a Washington Post op-ed, asserting that Trump is a just a sad billionaire no one likes.
In another essay, he concluded: “We made our mistakes back in the 20th century, Lord knows, but we never nominated a man for president who brags about not reading. Calvin Coolidge had his limits. Warren G. Harding spent more time on his hair than strictly necessary. Lyndon Baines Johnson was a piece of work. But all of them read books. When I envision a Trump Presidential Library, I see enormous chandeliers and gold carpet and a thousand slot machines. God help us. I mean it. We’re in trouble down here.”
Now, America’s media get something it certainly didn’t want: President Trump.
If there is an ounce of vindictiveness in Trump’s body -- and I’d guess there are really a couple hundred pounds of it -- some very major media are going to have trouble getting access to the White House. For Web sites, cable channels, newspaper columnists, (and Ohio Gov. John Kasich), it could be they’ll get the kind of treatment supporters at Trump’s rallies showed protesters in their midst.
It could get nastier than that.
The FCC controls TV licenses. Business has long feared an angry president could wreck a network and its stations, or just make life ugly. After media-loathing President Nixon gave a speech about the Vietnam War, the Nixon-appointed FCC chairman called the networks and demanded transcripts of their post-speech commentaries. Feel that chill?
At least that was within the ugly realm of official overreach by a U.S. agency charged with overseeing the communications industry. But it’s not just a skewering of “Saturday Night Live” to watch for. It's Viacom called to account for all those wiseacres at Comedy Central, and of course, CBS' Leslie Moonves called in to defend Colbert, who mocked Trump even in his moment of triumph early this morning.
Imagine what President Trump, or his ardent supporters could say (or do) about the next mocking viral video on YouTube, the next mean parody on "Funny or Die," someone tweaking of Melania on Refinery29, or an expose of Trump’s business dealings on Vice?
You might say, hey, there’s no law! And there isn’t. But we’ve never had a sheriff like this before, either, coming to town with some scores to settle. He may have a different definition of Net email@example.com