Thursday, January 28, 2016

Emperor Trump 's Clothes

One way to look at the biggest political story of the 2016 presidential campaign is to see that Donald Trump sure as hell knows how to play the press. Hasn't he proven he's chock full of savvy about how to capture the spotlight? Isn't everyone impressed with his skill for holding its attention? 

Conveniently, those rhetorical questions set up the concept that Conductor Trump has orchestrated his big lead in the opinion polls. Not votes. Polls. While that is a good story, it's not the complete picture. 

Front-runner Trump is competing with a particularly unattractive and bumbling group of rivals. Jeb Bush's zillion-dollar ineptitude has been stunning.

On top of that, a lot of Americans now hate the federal government and they aren't so happy with whoever seems to be in charge of Team Elephant, either. Yes, Trump is good at appealing to the passions that fuels those grievances. Plus, there's another angle to consider. 

The establishment media presenting the story of the 2016 campaign have a big stake in creating the impression that they can still have a lot of impact on the making of a president. They want us to blindly believe in the credibility of their polls. Their polls results are frequently at the top of the news. They also don't want us to question whether political advertising is still working as well as it ever did. Thus, stories about clever or ham-handed political ads also fill up time and space.

Those stories about polls and ads work together to boost us into buying their crafted in-house truths. They also help to promulgate a sense that today's editors and news directors and adverting executives have as much influence on society as their predecessors did.

But my take on this scam-in-progress is that the advertising world is desperate to reverse a dangerous trend. Every day more people can tell the advertising industry just isn't producing such predictably profitable results. Ask Jeb Bush how well the fortune that's been spent in advertising on his behalf has boosted his campaign this year. He's not the only candidate whose ads are not delivering. And, who hasn't noticed that today's press-release-driven news business has lost its charm on consumers? In well appointed board rooms, both entities' fear of the potential of social media has to be escalating.

So the manufactured story the establishment media are selling this chilly season is that Emperor Trump's fascinating success is living and breathing proof the folks who brought us our lovable consumer culture are still in charge of shaping perception. After all, haven't they just put front-runner's clothes on the newest poobah? 

As always, readers are advised to believe what they will.  

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