Most of us will agree that Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has woefully underperformed, is dangerously uninformed and appears to have an alarming intellectual deficit but what we didn’t count on is that deficiency, strangely, compromising the media.
NBC’s Matt Lauer was a perfect example of this compromise on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, during the security forum held in New York City for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Surrounded by a faction of our military’s dedicated men and women, both presidential candidates sat down with Lauer on the Carrier Intrepid for separate 30 minutes interviews–with the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, getting first dibs. But it was clear from the early questions Lauer threw at Clinton, that the newsman was following the media’s standard playbook: hit Hillary hard on her email scandal.
This topic’s exhaustive repetition didn’t slow Lauer, who proceeded to aggressively question Clinton almost to the point of hostility which garnered swift criticism from the public even before the forum was over.
Then it was Trump’s turn and Lauer morphed into a lap-dog, rolled over and letting Trump lie and bluster his way through the interview. Lauer grilled Hillary on her emails for approximately 10 minutes then turned around and allowed Trump to control the half-hour sit-down.
The controversial GOP candidate later lavished praise on Lauer for his “toughness and fairness” during the forum which is code for “thank you for going easy on me.” We know the tanned and coiffed one doesn’t take kindly to tough interviewers. Remember the Megyn Kelly take-down during the Republican debate and his nasty, sexist, crude rant afterwards?
Well, it is way past time for all of the media to start treating Trump like a serious presidential candidate. Yes, he is dangerously uninformed, has the self-control of an infant, the temperament of a two-year-old, the attention span of a four-year-old, the vocabulary of a kindergartner and the venom of an internet troll.
But he is vying for the highest office in the land, as well as the leader of the free world, and should be scrutinized, interviewed, measured and vetted as such. It doesn’t matter if he is mentally challenged or lacks experience. He has decided to compete in the big leagues—therefore, the hurdles for the race cannot be moved closer to the starting point as a concession to his intellect deficit.
Unfortunately, the media has unwittingly done just that; moved the hurdles so close for Donald Trump that all he has to do is jog over to the finish line while poor Hillary Clinton has to jump over every obstacle.
Trump is allowed to double down on outrageous statements and spew outright lies during interviews while reporters clutch and cling to their prepared questions–where the goal of getting through all of them trumps getting to the truth or getting the GOP candidate to fully answer questions posed to them.
The secret to interviewing Trump is repetition. Those of you who are parents or Early Childhood educators know this is the key to early learning. Children learn by constantly hearing or reading the same book or material.
The same strategy used for children can be used for Trump. I know, I said he needs to be treated like an adult but this is as close as it gets folks. Interviewers need to keep asking him the same question until he answers. Don’t move on to the next after he tosses word salads, evades or blatantly lies. Reign him in if he lies or when he strays completely off course and ask him the question again. And do not let him get away with his standard “bully and bluster” routine.
For example, if the question is, “what is 2+2?” and he answers “blue,” don’t roll over and move on to the next question. Tell him he’s wrong and ask him to answer again. If he persists “it’s blue,” provide him with the correct answer.
That will surely throw him off his game–for an egomaniac like Donald Trump cannot tolerate being corrected. When he drags his answer out by using his acutely limited vocabulary repetitiously, cut him off at the knees and wave the question under his nose again. Keep waving it until he picks up the scent.
And remember media, it is better to pin him down to a few coherent answers that have him babble befuddled answers to all your questions.
After all, you owe it to voters to at least act like you’re trying after giving us half-baked coverage of an election that you have allowed to degenerate into a circus for over a year.
Just an aside: I would love the opportunity to ask the Apprentice host (whose catchphrase “you’re fired” and had millions tuning into NBC weekly) one question: Would Donald Trump hire someone like himself to run his empire: someone who walks in for that “esteemed” position with no experience in that field, who is shockingly uninformed, unprepared and who tells him he will learn on the job or surround himself with smart people instead of being qualified himself?
What do you think the answer would be to that question?
Featured Image: The Celebrity Apprentice: Screen grab: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QturQGAVOyI