Michael Lewis, author of "The Big Short” and “MoneyBall,” says President Trump tells a good story. And, as we all know, that story can have a lot of fantasy attached to it -- he takes creative license.
Perhaps another way to look at it is as pure advertising -- which can be full of truths, half-truths, lies and misdirection. But also a strong push to close the deal.
Barry Diller, former major TV executive icon, now chairman/senior executive of IAC, a company that owns many digital ecommerce businesses, speaks to those daily amped-up press conferences from the Trump Administration.
“We currently have an administration as infomercial,” Diller told CNBC recently. But this media campaign won’t last, he says. “I actually think the infomercial administration ends in November.”
Diller refers to those traditional 30-minute advertising messages appearing typically in off-hour periods -- overnight, early morning, weekend dayparts, and other times -- that repeat the same message over and over again during a half-hour span.
Specifically, this is what happens during Trump’s recent COVID-19 late-afternoon press briefings.
To be sure, lot of politicians have an agenda to push. The best ones -- especially currently, like New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo -- give you the full picture; the good, the bad, the hopeful, and the deaths.
Cuomo’s approval ratings have skyrocketed; Trump's has not.
Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen -- recently released from prison because of a possible COVID-19 infection threat -- said in his testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee in February 2019:
“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great... Mr. Trump would often say this campaign was going to be the greatest infomercial in political history."
We know many journalists believe Trump briefings should not be aired, given the lack of clarity and false information. Or, at least, if those briefing do air, there should be rigorous, near-real time fast-checking.
Better yet, I’d add this: Put a note on screen -- just like they do before an infomercial airs: “Opinions expressed by the program are the sole responsibility of the producer and in no way reflect the views and/or opinions of this TV station.” Or, possibly of general reality.