The last weekend of July may have been the last weekend of our democracy.
That’s when President Donald Trump launched Trump TV.
Now, to be fair, he started on a small scale: one “real news” show hosted by his daughter-in-law that ran for just 2 1/2 minutes on Trump’s Facebook page. I guess there was only two and half minutes of real news to tell us about. Everything else that happened anywhere in the world was fake.
So there was Eric Trump’s wife Lara, seated at a desk in front of a backdrop festooned with Donald Trump’s name in various forms and typefaces. “There’s so much fake news out there,” she begins, “we wanted to give you a glimpse into his week.”
Of course, I expected to then see video of Trump golfing, but instead, Lara has decided that the most important thing about Trump’s week was his salary. She doesn’t tell us what that is ($400,000), only that he has donated it to the Parks Department and the Department of Education, both of which he has done his best to decimate. (Lara leaves out that last part.)
“Again,” Lara says, “this is a president who is putting America before himself.” And then she adds in a totally unbiased, news anchor sort of way, “I’m so proud of that.” It’s as if she’s talking about a little boy who came in 4th in a spelling bee.
We are then told that the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2001 (not sure what Trump has to do with that) and that the Dow has hit an all-time high. “The stock market is up, the economy is BOOMING ladies and gentlemen,” Lara says, as if she’s introducing the next act in a talent show, and with the implication that even the most poverty-stricken, health insurance-less members of the population should be happy about this.
Later in the Facebook-cast, Lara tells us that, “Every day in this country, we look to honor our American heroes. These are men and women who put their lives on the line every single day to make sure that we are safe. The president went out of his way this week to give a special honor to some very special people. The Medal of Valor was given at the White House…”
Just stop right there, Ms. Trump. “Went out of his way?” Giving out medals is part of his friggin’ job! So sorry if he had to take his thumbs off his smartphone long enough to drape a ribbon around our heroes’ necks.
Anyway, the best thing I can say about this show is that it was only two and half minutes long. And it was all just Lara on screen, except for a couple of cuts like you get when you watch a show on Hulu with the commercials removed. (Were they intending to sell ad time?) They didn’t even cut away to video of Trump actually doing anything, like accepting resignations from his staff.
This was, perhaps, the most frightening thing I’ve seen on TV this year although, admittedly, I haven’t watched “The Gong Show.”
It was scary because what actually premiered on Facebook last weekend was a state-run news agency.
It’s almost exactly the kind of thing I imagine you see when you turn on the TV in North Korea: look how great we are, look how great Kim Jong Un is. Combine that with Trump’s attacks on the actual media, the backing of lawsuits against the media by conservative billionaires like Peter Thiel, and the purchase of media (the Las Vegas Review-Journal) by unabashed GOP supporters like Sheldon Adelson…not to mention the employment of our supreme leader’s family throughout the government…and we’ve got the beginnings of the end of democracy.
On the plus side, as Trump’s dictatorship strengthens, perhaps they’ll put a little more production value into Lara’s little show. And you never know: maybe he’ll eventually be overthrown by a transgender military coup.
See you soon.
P.S. This is important; please share.