Commentary

My Hero, Donald Trump

Maybe you've never even heard of the Media Future Summit.

It's an annual event, staged in association with the Wharton Future of Advertising program, in search of ethical, sustainable business models -- or at least revenue streams -- for magazines, newspapers, TV, audio, movies, music, and above all, newspapers. Because…well, duh. Democracy needs them to properly function and the industry is circling the drain.

You haven't heard of MFS most likely for two reasons: 1) It's all off the record, to encourage candor among owners and top executives unaccustomed to voicing reality beyond their own four walls, and 2) You weren't invited. It's for big shots. And they pay a small fortune to be locked in a room to hear the latest news from the front, to wring their hands, to argue, to learn.

Also, it's kind of my baby. The third MFS is being held on November 16, and I've worked on pulling it together every day since the last Summit back on October 27. For me it's something like a labor of love, something like a crusade, something like a chronic condition. But this is an existential crisis and solutions must be found -- solutions that don't, for example, barter off a publication's credibility to the highest bidder. 

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So, yes, it's a quixotic tilt. I personally have been in the searching-for-solutions racket for 10 years, and so far: zilch. The collapse of the high-CPM ad economy -- not to mention ad avoidance and fragmentation into smithereens -- has been ruinous. Truth be told, though I've labored tirelessly and canvassed the world for the magic beans, I've despaired of finding a path out of doom.

And then came Trump. 

And with it the Trump Bump -- a sudden reawakening in the cynical and complacent electorate to the crucial fact that news matters. Note this headline from our very own Media Daily News: 

Americans Watched 44 Billion TV News Hours During First 99 Days

It wasn't for the climate coverage. Trump is so awful, so dishonest, so vulgar, so destructive and so dangerous, the public is fixated on his every move. He is the proverbial flaming car wreck, and we are a nation of rubberneckers. Because how can you not look?  

Then there's the third of the audience that actually likes him, and they are tuned in as well, like baseball fans keeping score at home as he blows up every norm of politics and governance -- and decades of progress on civil rights, human rights, the environment, consumer protection, financial regulation and the whole deplorable list of right-wing targets in the so-called “administrative state.”

All in all, quite the spectacle. As CBS boss Les Moonves notoriously observed: “It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS.”

Also 21st-Century Fox and Time-Warner, as it turns out. I don't know why anybody would watch Wolf Blitzer on purpose, but viewers are doing it en masse. TV news is expected to be up 21% in 2017. Newspaper subscriptions are up, too. The New York Times has pulled in hundreds of thousands of new digital customers, and page views are off the charts. Even at low digital CPMS, more eyeballs means more money. 

The paradox is almost dizzying: we need a healthy press as a watchdog of democracy, and that press is being revived by interest in a regime doing everything in its power to dismantle democracy. I'm not sure whether that is an irony, or just exactly what the authors of the First Amendment had in mind.  

None of this necessarily translates to public interest in the less pyrotechnical corners of our democracy: state houses, school boards, sewage treatment authorities, courthouses and the rest of the mundane apparatus of government that affect our lives every single day -- now often without any journalistic scrutiny whatsoever. But, let's face it, that expensive coverage has always been subsidized by the sports pages and the comics. 

Which is exactly what's happening now. The only question is whether Trump is more Dennis Rodman or Beetle Bailey.

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20 comments about "My Hero, Donald Trump".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 17, 2017 at 11:18 a.m.

    Interesting that only a third of the audience managed to win in the 37 states that Hillary did not carry.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 17, 2017 at 6:51 p.m.

    Douglas, please edify me as to exactly which are the 37 states that Clinton did not win, because last time I looked Clinton won 21 states and there were also only 50 states, and 50-21 = 29 states she did not win in.

    Maybe the Internet is slow in getting the results to Australia.

  3. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network replied, April 17, 2017 at 8:16 p.m.


    ... There will be a short pause while Mr. Ferguson removes his shoes and socks.

  4. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 17, 2017 at 9 p.m.

    Psst.   They'd have to be removed twice.   The challenge mounts.

  5. Kenny Kurtz from creative license replied, April 18, 2017 at 5:52 a.m.

    The article spoke to the 33% that "like" Trump. Many that don't like Trump voted for him, including myself, primarily because I "liked" the previous do-nothing, lying politicians that have preceded Trump even more.

    Trump is less of a liar than Obama, and Bush were... while disliking him personally, I can at least give him credit for being somewhat truthful, esepcially when doing so costs him votes, and keeps the bulls-eye on him.

    Garfield speaks about paradox, while ignoring the plank that his "decades of progress on civil rights, human rights, the environment, consumer protection, financial regulation" haven't been particularly "progressive" at all. The paradox is that Trump will do more to move all those things forward in positive veins than all the bleeding (but misconstrued, and unaware of paradoxical nature) hearts could ever accomplish in a million years simply by spending his time in office DOING.

  6. Kenny Kurtz from creative license replied, April 18, 2017 at 5:55 a.m.

    In hindsight, I liked Trump's predecessors even less. One finger in the air to tell them what lie to tell next abpout what they'll "do", and the other finger up their asses as reminder of how much their "doing" stunk up the joint.

  7. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 18, 2017 at 7:08 a.m.

    Right on Kenny!

    Look at the evidence that is piled up waist high.

    Such as Obama lying about being born in Hawaii and not Kenya.   And then in April 2011 stooping so low as the produce a certified copy of his birth certificate issued by the Hawaii Department of Health.   Obviously fake.   Sad!

    Then if you ever had any doubts he lied just look at the pathetic attempt of producing copies of the August 13, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser and the August 14, 1961 Honolulu Star-Bulletin which both ran the public announcement "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Hwy., son, Aug. 4."    I mean ... what is the chance of exactly the same announcement in both publications.   NASA puts it at over 180,000, trillion gazillion to one.   Fake, fake, fake.   Boo hoo tears. sad face.

    He wouldn't even admit he was a Muslim.   His deception started way back in 1992 when he was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ.   Clearly the Feds or the CIA were on to him in 2008 when he started attending Protestant churches.   What a cover up!   What a fake!

    So a very big thank you for pointing that out.

  8. Kenny Kurtz from creative license replied, April 18, 2017 at 8:31 p.m.

    Typical "lefty response" John Grono. Set up strawmen, knock them down, and then pat yourself on the back as if you've accomplished something (other than spilling some "bleeding heart" blood).

    Personally, I never put much stock in where Obama was born, or what his true faith was. Never thought he was lying about any of that, and found those that attempted to make cases of such nonsense to be ridiculous (including the originator of most of it, that political animal Hillary).

    What Obama lied about (which got me to vote for him in 2008, so much post-W malaise was I feeling over our Idiot-In-Chief for the previous eight years) throughout his campaign was what he said he intended to "do." All of it revolved around him being a great uniter, and his never-ending promises that he would "reach across the aisle" to a greater degree than any president before him, and work with the other side to make great things happen. I bought in, and voted for him on those ongoing promises, and was left wanting when he proved himself to be the least inclusive, most imperial, and MOST DIVISIVE president in our history that attempted LESS to unite the two parties for common good than any previous president.

    The one thing he did accomplish in eight years, with the incomprehensible backing of his Democratic majority, turned into a horror story. The Affordable Care Act made health care more UNAFFORDABLE for all Americans (paradox of paradoxes... leave it to a Democratic president with a majority to work with), and our first African-American president made things FAR WORSE for his own people. Plainly, and simply... Obama did NOTHING that he promised he would do, and for that, he is a liar with pants afire regardless of his birthplace, or faith.

  9. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 18, 2017 at 8:42 p.m.

    KK, well if you thought Dubbya was "Idiot-In-Chief" you are in for a rude shock.

    What you call "bleeding heart" I call truthfulness, trust in our fellow man, compassion, empathy, understanding, knowledge, selflessness, vision.   If you want to call me a "lefty" that's fine by me.   I hope you feel nice and warm and fuzzy now in your you-know-where's.

  10. Kenny Kurtz from creative license replied, April 19, 2017 at 6:36 a.m.

    Not sure about that, John. The things that ultimately made "W" an "idiot" (the ongoing inability to speak clearly, and malapropisms, the Alfred E. Neumann 'What, me worry?' looks, the lack of depth, and decisiveness, the "Frat Boy" qualities)... that's not exactly Trump. Trump is many things, but "idiot" is not one of them (although he can behave idiotically, at times).

    I'm glad you're comfortable being labeled a "lefty." There's certainly no shame in it, although all that "truth, trust in fellow man, compassion, empathy, understanding, knowledge, selflessness, vision" that you ascribe to your liberalism continues to register as not particularly truthful, trust-worthy, compassionate, empathetic, knowledgeable, selfless, or visionary on a real world basis. As Bill Clinton remarked when lying about his sexual harassment of an intern three decades his junior... "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

    I understand why you'd like to be known as all those things, but as practical matters, very little that comes from the left actually results in anything positive, even if intent is good, or correct. This is paradoxical truth, and well demonstrated by Obama's inability to do a single thing to help lift his own people up, and out. He once again attempted "compassionate, empathetic, selfless, and visionary" tactics to lift his people up and, yet again, those things only proved capable of keeping people down.

    Let's face it, we elected Bush because he appeared to be the "anti-Slick Willy" and we elected cool, cerebral Obama because he appeared to be the "anti-W." Both of those guys lied about what their intentions were while in office, and accomplished very little evolving around those promises made to curry favor, and votes.

    To this point, I'm giving the insolent buffoon Trump credit for actually following through on many of his promises (at least in this early going) and appearing to be less of a liar than his predecessors. The guy said some very unpopular things that cost him votes during the campaign, and I found that refreshing as well, from a contextual standpoint. He was elected because he appeared to be the "anti-Obama" and he's so far holding true to that...

  11. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 19, 2017 at 6:54 a.m.

    Umm.   KK, I wasn't attributing those qualities to myself.   You are assuming I am a liberal.

    They are qualities (admirable ones in my humble opinion) that right-wingers have a habit of attributing to 'bleeding-heart lefties'.

    I reiterate in regard to your loathing of lying (another admirable attribute), by quoting none less than Bachman Turner Overdrive ... You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.

  12. Kenny Kurtz from creative license replied, April 19, 2017 at 7:05 p.m.

    John...

    In "tongue-in-cheek" fashion, you put up a staunch defense of Obama's "lies" (ones, again, that I'd never even considered as untruthful) which, at least for the moments it took you to write that defense, had you quacking like a "liberal" duck, anyway.

    Honestly, I've not heard "right-wingers" ascribe qualities like "truth, trust in fellow man, compassion, empathy, understanding, knowledge, selflessness, and vision" to liberals, although, I have heard many liberals labels themselves, and other of their ilk, in such glowing terms. No matter. For the most part, I find liberals and conservatives alike equally reprenhensible in stretchiiiiiiing their own ideological "truths." As for trust, I find that conservatives seem to put more trust in God, and themselves as opposed to "fellow man" with liberals tending to put more trust in government (fallen and imperfect men, and women of course). The problem with things like compassion, empathy, and selflessness is that while liberals claim to have the market cornered on those things, they're not big on action as it applies to those things. For example, liberals are not nearly as charitable as conservatives, traditionally less likely to lend resources, or even a hand to the less fortunate, and downtrodden. My favorite book tells me that much can be gleaned from people's "fruits"... liberals can claim, while leading with their "hearts", to be more compassionate, empathetic, and selfless 'til the cows come home, but they are only banging gongs until they take compassionate, empathetic, and selfless action.

    Demanding that government raise taxes on the rich so that those monies can be re-distributed to the less fortunate continues to be the left's rallying cry, however, how "compassionate" can that be when history has demonstrated over and over again that doing so decreases the amount of charitable giving in lieu of that increased taxation, and that direct, and cheerful giving gets WAY MORE resources into the hands of the needy than does taxing the rich, and expecting those taxpayer dollars to wind up in the hands of the needy before greedy career politicians swallow up the vast majority of it for other "pet projects?"

    Jesus was correct when He encouraged cheerful giving, yet, how "selfless" is a liberal being when instead of cheerfully giving of his/her own individual resources (as Jesus prescribed, and has been shown to be most advantageous to the less fortunate) he or she merely cries out for government to tax more, and hope that those additional funds will somehow make it to the needy? Again, that's bad math that never gets resources where it needs to go, yet liberals still rally for it.

  13. Kenny Kurtz from creative license replied, April 19, 2017 at 7:10 p.m.

    And to contunie to rally for things that can NEVER produce the desired results is as paradoxical as it ever gets. You may be right about Trump winding up being the "mother of all liars" when all is said and done, however, he's followed through on virtually every promise he made on the campaign trail so far, and many of those promises did him no favors with the electorate, and are not resonating much better with most as he makes good on them. We shall see.

    Are you even an American citizen? You alluded to "election results making their way to Australia?"

  14. Jonathan Hutter from EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems) replied, April 20, 2017 at 2:49 p.m.

    Holy smokes Kenny Kurtz, enough already. You complain like a damn snowflake! 

  15. Tom Haymond from Creative Mobile Technologies, April 17, 2017 at 2:46 p.m.

    Yawn. You're getting really boring with your diatribes Bob. But I'm sure it's good for you psychologically to vent, so keep writing and I'll qujit reading. That's the great thing about freedom of media choice.

  16. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, April 17, 2017 at 3:59 p.m.


    D, C & T; ... OK, you all got to spray your seltzer.  Now, get back into your little clown car and let the adults discuss the issues. 

  17. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited replied, April 17, 2017 at 4:56 p.m.

    You notice the comments allowed on MP.

  18. Dean Fox from ScreenTwo LLC replied, April 17, 2017 at 5:15 p.m.

    In absolute terms, the Trump trolls may be outnumbered, but they certainly are prolific. And angry, especially when the meds wear off.

  19. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, April 17, 2017 at 8:55 p.m.


    Ain't this place great?  Come for the fantastic articles and stay for the comments sideshow laff riot. 

  20. Kenny Kurtz from creative license, April 20, 2017 at 7:06 a.m.

    Thanks to the insolent buffoon Trump... the "state" of "media's future" is strong, and bright.

    It matters not, however, whether he is more Dennis Rodman or Beetle Bailey. What matters, and will continue to matter is that he is LESS "community organizer" Barack Hussein Obama who proved capable of organizing nothing, and uniting nobody.

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