Did we think this clown, this buffoon with the funny hair, would ever become a world leader? Not once. Ever. Would he and his bombastic nature dominate in prime-time TV? We hoped so. Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning. People are buying our crap.
There’s a larger issue at hand: non-fiction or “reality” television has obviously become a huge force in shaping the minds of the populace. The Apprentice contributed to that. People lapped up what the producers were putting out, and the danger became real as news directors, desperate to compete with ratings, started putting music under soft news stories. Facebook started pushing altogether fake news. Opinions on Twitter became truths over lies. People were prone to clickbait no matter how salacious or factually questionable it was, and the entire journalism world turned on its head.At the very same time, some clever producers were putting forth a manufactured story about a billionaire whose empire was, in actuality, crumbling at the very same time he took the job, the salary, and ownership rights to do a reality show. The Apprentice was a scam put forth to the public in exchange for ratings. We were “entertaining,” and the story about Donald Trump and his stature fell into some bizarre public record as “truth.” This is nothing new, and the impact it’s having on the history of the world is best depicted in the Academy Award-winning film Network, a satire.Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities tried to outwit the headlines, but things have gone completely off the rails now with regard to how storytellers have to work double time just to keep up with the awful and true antics of Kanye West, the separating HGTV home-makeover couple, and our president-elect. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Supermarket tabloids are being thrust from the podiums of congressmen and Supreme Court justices. Smart people are playing dumb. And now it’s pretty safe to say that the man behind the curtain, Vladimir Putin, and his merry band of hackers, has done a decent job of playing puppet master doing a Jedi mind trick on the world so that he and Exxon Mobil could strike deals that would make them and the other 1 percent more rich and powerful than they already are.So it’s more than just about lewd, lascivious behavior, and narcissism on set. It’s about a complex global system that uses the media to construct its allies and to sway the populace to move like lemmings toward the ballot box. We are masterful storytellers and we did our job well. What’s shocking to me is how quickly and decisively the world bought it. Did we think this clown, this buffoon with the funny hair, would ever become a world leader? Not once. Ever. Would he and his bombastic nature dominate in prime-time TV? We hoped so. Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning. People are buying our crap. Make it entertaining, yes. But make it real. Give them the truth or pay the consequences.I hope you appreciate where I’m coming from. My “Tweet Throat” moment when I suggested to the news media that someone unlock the recorded behavior found on The Apprentice tapes helped summon a bevy of stories about “what really went on” behind the scenes of that series. That story’s been told. What hasn’t been told (as much) is how complicit the media and social-media outlets have been in getting us to where we are now.