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Reality TV White House; Blame Me? Get Real

by John on 01/23/2017

sean-spicerHere are some thoughts based on the first extraordinary days watching the Trump White House.  And also I am going to talk about how great I am.  Huh?

Welcome To Reality TV Media Bias

The first weekend of the Trump Administration was a doozy.

  • Arguments over who had a bigger inaugural crowd.
  • A press briefing that was a diatribe of false info that even right-leaning media outlets chastised.
  • An appearance by Trump at CIA headquarters used as an attack on the media using false info.

Welcome to the Reality TV White House.

The media bias I have told you about for a long time – the media’s entertainment and sports bias – was on full display.

But the Trump Administration is taking it a bit further.  This is the reality TV bias.

Let me explain.

Did You Know I Was A Reality TV Host?

But first, let’s talk about me.  Hey, that’s in style now, right?  (Hang on.  You will see where I am going.)

A friend who lives overseas emailed me.

real tv logo“Do you feel responsible for Donald Trump?”

She was referring to my years as the host of Real TV.  It is, according to the official Paramount TV verbiage, the first all-video news magazine TV show.  We broke ground in reality TV back in 1996 by using camcorder video from the audience, along with surveillance and cop cam video.

Sure, I am proud of what we did, but, of course, the answer to my friend is NO.

You can’t pin Trump on me.

  • First, Real TV was more news magazine than tabloid show. We had strict guidelines about the videos.  They had to be real.  If we aired the video and it was revealed to be staged, then we went after the person who delivered it to us (and was paid) with legal action.  We made sure each story had a real story; a hero was involved.  We avoided gratuitous violence and death.  Even though we were not considered news, we used news and journalistic principles.
  • Second, Real TV is so different from what reality TV is today. Consider shows like The Kardashians or Duck Dynasty.  All of them are scripted and staged.  In my opinion, they are bad dramas with everyday people trying to be actors.

Is this an indictment of the genre?  Not really.  It is the real reality of reality TV.

These shows are popular.

  • First, these shows are cheaper to produce than regular scripted TV.
  • Second, the everyday person whose life is not that extraordinary can look at these so-called reality TV stars and see that they are not so far removed from them. That makes them feel better.

But understand the TV biz.

No TV executive who is pitched a reality show would ever say, “Hey, great idea.  Here’s a million dollars.  Come back in a few months with 13 shows.”

No, they would want a detailed treatment (outline) on what will happen in every episode.  There is no way that exec will put his job on the line based on what you happen to shoot or not shoot by chance.

So, to succeed in reality TV today, you do these things:

  • Create conflict where there is none.
  • Show outrageous moments that people will talk about
  • Display a big personality

See where I am going now?

Danger of Reality TV Prez

Trump’s first weekend as President screamed reality TV.  It is how he got elected, so he is still playing that role.

Sadly, this performance is dangerous for the nation.

We are not addressing problems and finding solutions.  We’re arguing over crowd size?!  Hey, the media is just as much to blame.  And if you angrily posted videos or pictures to back up your bias, you are to blame also.

We have to realize that Trump is no longer a private citizen running his own business.  He is the custodian of the country we live and work in.

Trump’s ability to bend reality and create fabulous real estate makes sense in business and industry.  He only needs to garner 1% of the market and he is a raging financial success.

But in government, it is different.  He needs to get approval from 50% + 1 of the market to make a difference.

He can’t bend reality – especially when there is so much video, audio, and eyeballs that can contradict your reality.

Sean Spicer and Kelly Anne Conway can threaten cutting off the media.  And, hey I teach businesses how to set up their own news outlets to compete with news outlets and to control your message, so I see what they are doing.

But this is our nation.  We have a Constitution that guarantees the right to a Free Press.

I am not arguing in favor of the media’s recent performances.  I have documented their failures and biases – the same ones Trump has and uses.

But we are talking about people’s lives now.  We are talking about national security.  We are talking about people’s healthcare and their livelihoods.

We can’t bend reality on that – without some major consequences.

Bending Your Own Reality

So, what do you do?  You need to become the most important journalist in your own life.

First, use TV only an entertainment medium.  It is not a news medium.  Sure, listen and watch to get the flavor of what is being said or pushed on the public.

Second, read credible newspapers with competing slants and biases

Third, read news websites, again with a number of competing slants on stories and issues; one trick for me is to set up a Twitter feed just with news organizations but a wide range of news slants

Fourth, read non-fiction by credible experts like some of the books I suggest here.

Notice, this is all about reading different viewpoints.

Let’s start making Solutions Based News.  More on that coming up.

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