In his "Fourth Watch" media newsletter, former CNN producer Steve Krakauer interviewed former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush in email. He asked "as you look out across the landscape right now, and where things stand in 2020… what do you think is missing? What would you like to see more of?" Bush had a spicy answer, knocking his former bosses at NBC: "the network that despises him most is the one that built him in their laboratory."
One thing of which you cannot accuse Trump is pretending to be someone he’s not. From the outset 5 years ago through today he has shown his true colors: a penchant for the zero sum game, a love for making things personal, a need for an enemy and an insatiable appetite for press. Have you ever known a person about whom we talked more?His greatest love is the media, probably Jim Acosta above all others.
And ironically the network that despises him most is the one that built him in their laboratory back in 2002 with the launch of The Apprentice. The persona people voted for to fix America in a no nonsense tough-guy way was made and marketed by NBC. My how times change. In 2005 when he was making lots of profit for his network, protection wasn’t just guaranteed it was paramount. In 2016 there was no sacrifice too small or great to take down Frankenstein.
What’s missing is real independence in our media. If targeting a villain is important for cable news ratings and clicks, then how about making both parties the enemy.
NBC didn't just promote Trump in their reality shows, but in their news shows. In 2016, MRC Business studied NBC News reporting on Trump and found coverage a Trump could love: "The network’s coverage of Trump was overwhelmingly and consistently positive. MRC Business found only 15 stories (out of 335) on Trump’s business failures, and 320 stories promoting him as a businessman, his businesses and his shows."
Of course, it's also true that CNN boss Jeff Zucker was the NBC executive who signed Trump up for The Apprentice, and CNN's coverage of Trump also fits the phrase "there was no sacrifice too small or great to take down Frankenstein."
Bush concluded with a little sermon:
I don’t SEE hope but I HAVE hope. My hope is the silent majority stops letting 5 people on Twitter unfairly influence events and ruin peoples’ lives. I hope that we stop letting the polar extremes dominate our politics and that we return to centrism. I hope we once again elect someone with an impressive resumé. I hope that when Twitter calls for the head of someone whose done something we’re all capable of, we unfollow those people. Or ignore them. By staying quiet or squelching our opinions and beliefs, because the threat of the mob lurks, we are contributing to a nation of liars. We are denying our humanity. As humans, we are capable of incredible acts of love and genius but also hardwired for some pretty dark stuff…we know this. Let’s return to forgiveness and spirited, fearless discourse.