Lipstick on a pig? A toad?
(My last blog, Stuck on the Tar Baby, takes a look at what it means in the worlds of journalism and public-relations to frame $2 billion in “free” press coverage in today’s presidential campaign. Today I muse about recent PR efforts to harness the comb-over candidate’s tongue).
Bluster & blunder
With voting deadlines bearing down on all comers, journalists observe that the comb-over candidate’s handlers are attempting a new approach: curbing the Republican front-runner’s erratic blunder-busters.
Until now, the candidate stated publicly that “what you see is what you get.”
The mass-mediated projection of his character is…well…accurate.
And that’s a good thing.
That means readers and viewers—you and I—see an authentic portrayal in the news.
Each time he opens his pie-hole we hear the real, uncensored candidate.Here are some of his most choice and uncensored reflections (with citations):
“It really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful piece of ass”
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich”
“The point is, you can never be too greedy”
“Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?”
“I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK? I’m building a wall”
“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day”
We should worry that spin-meisters are redoubling their efforts to curb the candidate’s runaway Coprolalia (obscene language) by forcing him to stick to a carefully scripted playbook.
Until now, we’ve seen the unvarnished croaker: warts and all.
The future promises a frog-turned-prince, whose musings will be tempered and speeches burnished with greater polish.
And that’s what we should fear: a Trump cloaked in finely spun rhetoric from a puppeteer’s hand.
“I put lipstick on a pig,” is how Tony Schwartz described his handling of the real-estate racketeer when ghost-writing the book, The Art of the Deal.
“I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is,” Schwartz told The New Yorker.
What concerned Schwartz was the candidate’s indifference to lies. “Lying is second nature to him…He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.”
And Schwartz regrets he soft-peddled the bottomless pit of lies as a ghost-writer, instead framing fibs as “Truthful hyperbole,” which, deconstructed, simply means “true lies.”
My fear is that the prince will wear new clothes and spout carefully constructed rhetoric while the toad reposes beneath the varnished façade.
My fear is that some news reporters will assess the prince as a convert to rationalism and applaud the glossy Trump.
My fear is that some voters will accept the new exterior as authentic.
But the toad will still be a toad, and the pig? A pig.
Image from http://altjapan.typepad.com/my_weblog/yokai/