When there is so, so much of substance to justify criticizing Donald Trump, it is absurd for any critics to engage in manufactured scandals and cheap shots. It is also annoying, because it forces me to defend the guy, when I’d so much prefer to be, say, stuffing grubs up my nose.
Gawker, not surprisingly, may have set the low bar (or just put the bar on the floor) for anti-Trump tactics when it published anonymous excerpts from Trump’s answering machine to show that he was chummy with liberal media figures. This obviously made Mediaite’s Joe Concha’s head explode, as he wrote in part, in a post called “Even for a Toxic Waste Dump like Gawker, this Trump Voicemail Story is Truly Craptastic”:
Here’s a little background for anyone with an ounce of lucidity: Donald Trump once worked for NBC as host of The Apprentice….Newsflash: Politicians and media members, particularly those on the editorial side, are actually friendly with each other. Bill O’Reilly, for example, has gone to Knicks and Yankees games with Trump in years past. He doesn’t hide from it nor should he. Because before running, Trump was an A-List celebrity in New York… has been for 30 years. A-listers tend to hang out, you know, with each other from time to time…Am I missing something? Seriously. Because the next dot this comically bad story attempts to make mocks Trump for not securing his voicemail, and then has the audacity to call him hypocritical for criticizing Hillary Clinton for her use of a private server out of her home while she was Secretary of State… as if these situations are remotely on the same planet….You know what, I can’t even comment on this anymore. The genius authors, Ashley Feinberg and Andy Cush… who really have a big future ahead of them, don’t deserve any more free promotion. I’m not even going to link it here.
This Gawker scoop was so bad virtually nobody would touch it. This is not the case with HBO’s John Oliver riff on Donald Trump’s grandfather’s name, however. In an epic and generally funny take-down of Trump at the end of February, Oliver devoted part of his deconstruction to the fact that Trump’s original family name was Drumpf until it was changed by his grandfather.
“If you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to ‘Make America Great Again,’ stop and take a moment to imagine how you’d feel if you’d just met a guy named Donald Drumpf: a litigious serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader whom he can’t decide whether or not to condemn,” Oliver said. Then he ended the segment by unveiling his “Make Donald Drumpf Again” campaign, which includes a “Donald Drumpf” Chrome web browser extension and parody hats, both available at DonaldJDrumpf.com.
But of course Donald Trump was never named Donald Drumpf, and if you are the kind of person who would think less of someone because they had a German ethnic name, or mock him for that fact, you’re an idiot as well as a bigot. Full disclosure: my paternal grandfather changed his name to John Marshall from John Smellie in 1891, and so the hell what? What does that possibly have to do with me, my character, or my abilities?
Okay, I made that up, but presumably you see the point.
Strange, I don’t recall anyone on Comedy Central making “Barack Hussein Obama” jokes in 2008, when the more despicable right wing talk show hosts like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and Bill Cunningham tried to “other” the candidate by referring to him using his middle name. Oh, never mind: belittling someone because of his non-Anglo name isn’t ugly and wrong when it’s done to rich white guys. That’s apparently the theory. I exaggerate, but only a bit, when I say that if progressives didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.