"The world is mine!" - "Nino Brown" from the 1991 film, "New Jack City"
On the morning of March 3rd -- the date of that putrid Fox News Channel GOP "penis" debate -- I awakened to the sound of Mika Brzezinski, co-host of the Morning Joe show on MSNBC.
It was an odd awakening.
Odd in that on this particular morning, it was a Mika -- instead of de-facto Donald Trump surrogate, former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough -- who was willfully stage-managing MSNBC's on-going weekday morning exercise of incessant Trump jock-riding. Brzezinski cooed the now-familiar Morning Joe torch song about the spectacularly unbeatable Trump's inevitability like a helplessly smitten songbird, almost boastfully gushing apparently awe-inspired homage to the skill with which "Mr. Trump" has run his campaign.
As Mika gushed on about Trump's political imperviousness, I very literally found myself semi-doubled over as if about to puke. But it's the first thing in the morning and my stomach's on "empty" so, as an escape from the nauseating orgy of Trump love on Morning Joe, I ran off and took a morning dump.
Although the show hardly stands alone, "Morning Joe" perhaps serves as Exhibit A for anyone who believes, as do I, that Americans should demand that the network media conduct a Reince Priebus-style introspective "post-mortem" over its epic fail at covering the 2016 presidential campaign "silly season." In many ways, it seems as if nothing or no one -- other than the Republican front-runner himself -- has been sillier than the spectacle of the network media's fear/adulation of Donald Trump. It was set off the moment Trump glided down the great golden escalator of Trump Tower last June to call Mexicans "rapists" and announce he was running for President of the United States to a diverse throng of paid sign-holders, wide-eyed curiosity seekers, "reality" television fans, tourists, shoppers, sycophants, idol worshippers, gold-diggers -- and, of course -- jock-riders -- the network media.
As noted, it's not just Morning Joe. Everyone loves a winner; or at least whoever's been leading in most polls among the Republican candidates since June. Perhaps the network media took its cue from the Huffington Post's original decision to assign all stories related to Trump's candidacy to its entertainment section. In early December, after several months of Trump leading in the polls, Huff-Po reversed that decision. The view here is that whether leading or not, if the network media in general has little interest in taking seriously Trump's business, personal and Bill Cosby-esque moral sketchiness, then "The Donald" -- a nickname coined by former New York Post gossip reporter Cindy Adams -- needs to remain on the entertainment sections of any media outlet that covers him. Based upon its largely fawning coverage, one might assume that the network media has come to equate the concept of leading in the polls with leadership in general. Fair enough. But prove it through courageous, but fair coverage.
Indeed, had such an effort been made, the running narrative on Trump by the network media would more likely reflect the story of a common businessman; a simple dyed-in-the-wool capitalist with a history of failed business ventures who is now marketing xenophobia from behind a veneer of synthetic patriotism for his own personal gain. While by now, it should be obvious to all that Donald Trump is the human embodiment of a counterfeit $2 bill, it's a reality that a seemingly star-struck network media appear perfectly content to overlook.
But hey, why not? Trump's perhaps the biggest media creation since Milli Vanilli and a far more sustainable ratings driver. Trump's hubristic swagger about shooting somebody on 5th Avenue before a live camera without fear of losing supporters seems to include network media "supporters" like Brzezinski and Scarborough, the latter of whom has been characterized by no less than the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol as "power-worshipping" the GOP frontrunner.
Current polling shows the majority of Americans want Congress to "do its job," and hold confirmation hearings for whomever President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court. But there appears to be no similar hue and cry by the public for the network media to do its job by drilling down on the one potential candidate for Commander-in-Chief capable of elevating a Twitter beef with Kim Jung Il into all-out thermo-nuclear war: Donald J. Trump. Although the door to Donald Trump's skeleton closet has long ago been discovered by the media, it's more likely that during the 2016 presidential campaign, much of the real in-depth reporting of the contents of that closet has come from individuals who are not network journalists.
It took "Little" Marco Rubio to clumsily inform many Americans during that ghastly March 3rd Fox News Channel debate that Donald Trump had been running a Ponzi-like enterprise brazenly called "Trump University;" that he amassed his fortune in part through reliance on a labor force comprised of thousands of imported "guest workers"; and to remind us that Trump's "Make America Great Again" merchandise is "making China millions" right now.
It took comedian John Oliver to brilliantly make us aware that Politifact found falsehoods in 76 percent of 77 statements, assertions and claims uttered by the one candidate whose principal claim is that he "tells it like it is." Among Trump's deceptions include his claim of a completely "self-funded" campaign which is little more than a clever play on words. Oliver noted that Trump's personal contribution amounts to just over $250,000. However, Trump has "loaned" his campaign $17.5 million which he can recoup from campaign funds. Meanwhile, according to the Daily Beast, Trump has spent $2.2 million in campaign funds patronizing his own businesses, or in other words, paying himself to run from president.
Who says pimpin' ain't easy?