Celebrity Politics


Throughout the Republican primaries and the 2016 general election, commentators regularly characterized Donald Trump’s campaign as the political equivalent of a reality show.  References to Trump’s leading role on NBC’s The Apprentice were a dime a dozen.  Some on the left, in fact, criticized the 24-hour news networks for providing Trump with the equivalent of scores of millions of dollars in free advertising, arguing that they had given up any pretense to news coverage and were treating the election entirely as entertainment.  And Trump and his advisors, of course, provided plenty of raw footage—often willingly; sometimes unwittingly.

The dynamic has continued throughout Trump’s first six weeks in office.  Farhad Manjoo, writing for the New York Times (“I Ignored Trump News for a Week. Here’s What I Learned,” February 22), declares that “Coverage of Mr. Trump may eclipse that of any single human being ever.”  That may seem like hyperbole, until you read on: “The new president doesn’t simply dominate national and political news. . . . He has taken up semipermanent residence on every outlet of any kind, political or not.”  That certainly accords with my experience.  Unlike Manjoo, I haven’t attempted...

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