Commentary

White House Drama, Omarosa Style: Better Than Reality TV

And you thought reality TV didn’t mean anything in real political life! The Trump Administration thinks it does.

Responding to former Trump Administration aide and veteran reality TV participant Omarosa Manigault’s recent appearance on CBS’ “Celebrity Big Brother,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said: “Omarosa was fired three times on ‘The Apprentice’, and this is the fourth time we let her go.”

The rule is to know your audience. Journalists in the White House press room laughed at the explanation.

“The Apprentice” was a longtime reality TV show on NBC in which Donald Trump presided over "real life" tasks for a group of wannabe top business people, and in later years, celebrities. At the end of each episode, Trump would fire one contestant.

Speaking to Ross Mathews, former Jay Leno intern on “The Tonight Show,” in one episode for the new “Celebrity Big Brother,” Manigault talked in hushed tones about her time in the White House.

“I was haunted by tweets every single day,” she said. “It’s not my circus, it’s not my monkeys. I’d like to say not my problem, but I can’t say that because it’s bad.”

Shah added this about Manigault: “She had limited contact with the President while here. She has no contact now.”

TV viewers have figured out what’s real and what’s not in reality TV. They consider it entertainment. Plenty of viewers -- and ad support -- exist for “Big Brother,” as well as other dating/documentary reality shows or competition shows, such as “Dancing with the Stars.”

Are we enduring too many reality TV metaphors with this president? Make that “ratings” TV then. We know this because of Trump's constant derision when it comes to specific TV news networks — and childish references to high TV ratings for himself.

Concerning his recent state of the union address, he tweeted: “45.6 million watched, the highest number in history.” Wrong. He ranked in 8th place for all time, according to Nielsen, behind Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

When it comes to information swirling around Trump's White House activities -- especially his incessant, high-drama tweets -- we know what’s expected of us and the media: constant engagement. It's inevitable. TV networks still need to report news and write stories with context. 

With apologies to U2, it’s even better than the real thing.

1 comment about "White House Drama, Omarosa Style: Better Than Reality TV".
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  1. Stuart Shlossman from Watershed Associates, February 13, 2018 at 3:02 p.m.

    What does it say that the white house hired Omarosa after Donald had already fired her her three times?

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