Trump Punks the Media Again But They Shouldn’t Act Surprised

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

Although Donald Trump’s ascendancy as leader of the Republican movement may surprise some Americans, it was bound to happen sooner than later due simply to the percentage of the population that suffers from tragically low-intellect and desire to stay woefully ill-informed about anything other than religion and bigotry. Of course ignorant Americans would be fooled by a consummate con man and criminally fraudulent television celebrity because without gullible idiots a scam artist like Donald Trump would never achieve more than being a big-time wrestling celebrity. What is simply stunning, though, is the ease at which Mr. Trump continues to punk the media into doing his bidding because one likes to believe that journalists and top-flight reporters do not meet the criteria or possess the low-intellectual standards of Trump’s boneheaded acolytes.

On Friday when the media was conned into believing there was going to be a press conference that Donald Trump set up the previous day in an interview with the Washington Post. Trump renewed the “birther” issue by declining to say whether he believed President Obama was really an American. In the WaPo interview, Trump said “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.” That tease set up the Donald’s masterful manipulation of network and cable news outlets for “what amounted to a [free] extended advertisement for Trump’s newest hotel” and testimonials from veterans.

By now a couple of Americans are likely aware of the outrage from the press over being scammed by a notorious confidence man, and if it was a first-time occurrence, the “furious media” would be a little easier to take seriously. However, this was not the first time the media was conned and judging by their collective reaction, it was like they were surprised the Donald would pull such an underhanded stunt; even though he telegraphed, in advance, that the “event at his fabulous brand new hotel” was nothing more than manipulating national media into providing free advertisement.

It is not as if the media wasn’t aware that Trump was likely to trick them into giving free television advertising time for his new hotel. In fact, one media personality who will, out of deference to a journalist, not be named, said after the major scam: “We got played, again, by the Trump campaign, which is what they do.”

Now, there is an old adage that George W. Bush couldn’t quite get straight, but even he understood the meaning of “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” As Mr. Bush and rock royalty The Who said about being scammed; “We won’t get fooled again.” The media certainly got fooled again and for them to be angry at anyone other than themselves is simply absurd; as the journalist noted above said, playing the media is what the Trump campaign does. The media knows it better than anyone and yet they willingly, yes willingly, continue letting a television con man make fools of the people who are alleged to be the most savvy and observant among the population.

Look, even if the Trump campaign hadn’t faithfully tricked the media in the past, these folks are well aware that the man they’re covering is as dishonest as the day is long and will go to any length to advance his own interests at other people’s expense. The media knows, for example, that Trump is being investigated for conning thousands out of millions of dollars in his fake Trump University scandal. They also know that Trump paid bribes to not one, but two separate state attorneys general to sweep investigations into the fraudulent celebrity’s ‘university’ out of existence at their political lives’ peril. Remember, Trump just gave “political donations;” the current Florida and former Texas attorneys general are the only ones likely to be investigated for taking a bribe.

The media is also well aware that Donald Trump swindled the Republican National Committee into paying about a million dollars for two parties attended by the Donald’s wealthy country club buddies. Parties that experts say should have cost, at most, about $45,000 instead of a million that went directly into Trump’s pocket because the parties were held at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

It is disappointing that while one can barely accept that ignorant and low-intellect Americans are gleefully swallowing Trump’s fraud as a serious presidential candidate, it is beyond the pale that the press continues letting a disreputable con man punk them with increasing regularity. One journalist told this author that the reporters and news crews are sent to cover Trump and that they have little choice in the matter. That actually makes the situation more deplorable; editors, publishers, news producers and assignment editors responsible for authorizing payment for news’ and camera crews covering the events are certainly aware that Trump is a con artist.

As Jason Easley observed here on Friday, “The media knows that they have been played. With one colossally arrogant blunder, Donald Trump may have put an end to his media free lunch.” One desperately hopes Trump’s “media free lunch” is finally at an end, but facts are facts; the media knew they had been played in the past and yet they still let the film-flam man dupe them again.

Even if the media weren’t regularly manipulated by Trump, they’ve seen him con thousands of students out of millions of dollars, reported that he conned two attorneys general to sweep his fraud under the table, and wrote about how he tricked the Republican National Committee into paying a million dollars for two parties for his country club cohorts. And yet they still willfully served up thirty minutes of free national television advertising for his new hotel and campaign endorsements.

Chances are the media have not learned their lesson and that they will certainly get fooled again even though they are waist deep in the “shame on me” aspect of the “fool me once” adage. Even if they have learned their lesson, they had already lost any right to complain when they all knew in advance they were dealing with a scam artist because they said, “We got played again by the Trump campaign, which is what they do;” and the Trump campaign continues doing it because the media keeps going back to get played.