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Sat Nov 21, 2020, 09:13 AM

How TV paved America's road to Trump

“A brand mascot that jumped off the cereal box”: TV critic James Poniewozik explains the multimedia character Trump created.

By Sean Illing @seanilling sean.illing@vox.com Updated Nov 21, 2020, 7:37am EST

Donald Trump is the show we can’t turn off, the car crash we can’t look away from, the news cycle we can’t escape.

There are just too many reasons why we got here to distill into a single explanation. But certainly one reason for Trump’s ascendance is television. It’s not quite right to say that TV made Trump president, but it is fair to say that TV created the conditions that made Trump’s presidency possible.

This, at least, is the thesis of James Poniewozik’s new book Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America. Poniewozik is a TV critic for the New York Times, and his book is an attempt to explain how Trump turned himself into the protagonist of his own TV show and then pulled all of us into it. It’s also about what TV has done to our political culture and why Trump is the logical fulfillment of all the media trends of the last two decades or so.

According to Poniewozik, Trump is fundamentally a creature of TV. His whole public persona was shaped by TV and he cleverly used the medium, with shows like The Apprentice, to propel his political career. He also knew exactly what TV media craves — spectacle, drama, and outrage — and capitalized on it throughout his presidential campaign.

“Donald Trump is not a person,” Poniewozik writes, “he’s a character that wrote itself, a brand mascot that jumped off the cereal box and entered the world.” And, of course, he’s now entered the White House.

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https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/11/7/20920933/donald-trump-television-james-poniewozik

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 09:24 AM

1. Looks good. Yep TV promoted him freely and told everyone it was already over in 2016

thus the horrendous turnout. He one on a fluke. Michael Steel yesterday said “President by accident”.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 09:27 AM

2. That sums it up quite well

“A brand mascot that jumped off the cereal box” - Roger Ailes' dream come true. He turned politics and news into entertainment and the end result is a President Donald Trump. Idiocracy is no longer a spoof.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 09:43 AM

3. I blame NBC for Donald Trump.

They knew what he was all along and allowed this to happen.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 09:49 AM

4. Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs comes to life.....

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 09:52 AM

5. I told my kids years ago, TV ruins everything. I haven't been proven wrong yet.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 10:01 AM

6. He's like a has been actor who starts believing he is the role he played

That is a cliche from film and tv, like a western star from 50s tv show who starts acting like some big tough sheriff in real life after his career is long over.

I remember Mika and Joe saying they saw drumpf where he was signing something for the suckers and they teased him about it and he winked back, like yeah I know the whole thing is bullshit. They said he changed, where he started to take his bullshit seriously. In other words, a has been reality tv personality who started to think he really did know business and was an important figure in the world instead of the joke he is.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 10:05 AM

7. RayGun did the same

With Death Valley days and bonzo goes to Washington

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 10:36 AM

8. Time for "Media Burn"

The Ant Farm collective's famous 1975 Media Burn video-performance.

Original version of Ant Farm's classic video art piece examining and satirizing the media, particularly the impact of television. On July 4, Independence Day, 1975, what a TV newscaster described as a "media circus" assembles at San Francisco's Cow Palace Stadium. A pyramid of television sets are stacked, doused with kerosene, and set ablaze. Then a modified 1959 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz, piloted by two drivers who are guided only by a video monitor between their bucket seats, smashes through the pyramid destroying the TV sets.


Actual crash footage begins around 16:30, after "fake Kennedy" speech, but watch the whole thing: it's a classic

https://

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 10:40 AM

9. John Prine had the right idea...



So did Alan Watts...




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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 10:42 AM

10. I've reserved this book from the library. Anyone who is interested in this subject should

also read an older book called "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 10:46 AM

11. Could be. But in my lifetime I've been exposed to a lot of information about tRUMP and I haven't

been encouraged to think he's anything but what he is. He's a con man and grifter and has no socially
redeeming value. The number of votes against tRUMP in our recent election is one indicator of how
powerful any media is in supporting him. He lost! Put the blame on him, which is where it belongs.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 10:57 AM

12. My wife predicted Trump winning in 2016 after watching American TV in July of that year

We live in Germany, but we spend every July on the outer tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In every airport, in every waiting room, there was usually CNN on (Fox Noise is not the channel of choice in Boston). There was nothing but Trump this, Trump that, one hour shows with 45 seconds of Hillary speaking and 35 minutes of Trump speaking.

My wife, who is German, warned me then: "all your media is showing is Trump, Trump, Trump. He could be speaking Armenian, and it wouldn't matter. If all your media shows is Trump, then when the election comes, he is all many people will have in their minds, and will thus be the one they vote for. Your media has become his enabler. Just because YOU know better doesn't mean the masses do. Just remember what I'm telling you when the election comes."

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