No hooker jokes, folks: Apparently, President Trump has gotten sick of blowing his own horn and instead has hired a professional.
You might remember Kayleigh McEnany from the heady days of the campaign. She’s the CNN commentator who endorsed Trump waaay back when, and upon whom they regularly called to defend his positions. She’s now working directly for Trump in order to boost his accomplishments in a regular “real news” bit once each week.
I can see the head explosion coming, so let me stop you before it starts. There’s no indication she’s working for the government in any way at all. Her video appeared on the personal Facebook page of Donald J. Trump, Public Figure as opposed to his POTUS page, and there’s good reason to believe she’s employed by Trump: The Name. Yes, this looks like a P.R. move paid for by the Trump business interests, as directed by sons Eric and Donald Jr.
Even so, this is undeniably propaganda (or, if you prefer, advertising). You can watch it right here, if you want. It’s a straight-to-video pseudo-newscast that exists to say only good things about the sitting president — a move that seems straight out of some third-world tinpot dictatorship. Talk about your fake news! Heck, even Russia’s unofficial propaganda bureau pretends to be reporting actual news (though admittedly not very well.)
But it’s hardly without precedent even here in the good old USA. Why, there was a time when you couldn’t run for dogcatcher without having a family newspaper on your side. Madison used his pet newspapers to sell his War in 1812; Jackson bought papers to win the presidency; the Lincoln machine ruthlessly abrogated the First Amendment to win re-election and with it the Civil War. This latest version is nothing new. It’s corrupt and biased as hell, but so is every press release ever written, every lobbyist or commentator or talking head on the airwaves, and every news program that’s driven by ratings and ad dollars. (Except Newsnight, and that’s a work of fiction — ironically, one that was driven by ratings and ad dollars. Damned good television, though.)
So no, this is nothing horrible, nothing corrupt, nothing even all that unusual. It’s someone pretending to give you the news while showing off the logo of the corporate sponsor in the background. You should be used to that by now.
Oh, we had an independent press once, but that was long ago, before broadcast television convinced us with the illusion that there was such a thing as unbiased reporting. There’s not; apart from the box scores, there shouldn’t be, because news isn’t just numbers and facts and figures. News is history coming to you live as it happens — and history is meaningless without context, without flesh and blood people living it and telling you in their own words. That’s why you fell asleep in eighth-grade history class, because without those things it’s dead and dry and dusty and boring as hell. And it’s why there’s no good to be found in unbiased journalism. Balanced, sure, when it’s appropriate — but never unbiased.
But a profit-driven entertainment program pretending to give you the news while desperately seeking ratings points and ad dollars? That’s not news, no more from CNN than it was from Rush Limbaugh or Jon Stewart. It’s a circus, and we who watch it? We’re the clowns.
But of course this isn’t even that. It’s a regular, unapologetic, corporate propaganda video which hired itself a nationally-known pretty face.
Don’t be fooled by the blonde hair; she’s no bimbo. She’s intelligent, well-spoken, and clever enough to earn a J.D. from Harvard. She can also write; her articles at Above The Law and “The Hill” are well-crafted and compelling. (This one’s a good example.) There’s a decent chance she’ll have some input into content given her proven chops, but unlike mainstream media, the advertising arm of a major corporation doesn’t often try to maintain any pretense of journalistic ethics or balanced reporting, so there’s no guarantees at all. I’ll tell ya: If I got peanuts for my writing it’d be a raise, and even I wouldn’t take that gig.
…well, maybe. I guess I’d have to look at the severance package. I mean, what the hell; it’s honest work, right?
Now, if only they hire someone to handle the man’s Twitter account…
(Image captured from the Donald J. Trump Facebook page. I assert no copyright, and am honestly only using the image because I think the Trump people would be darn foolish to try and stop me promoting their new paid mouthpiece. So I’m a little critical; they say all press is good press, and nobody has demonstrated that better than our current president. Anyway, this in no way indicates that anyone including me is allowed to use this image.)