When is a story so outlandish as to not be publishable?

If a famous author has written a story about the most incompetent way to run the most powerful country in the world into the ground, they would not have been published if they had created a story as outlandish as our current reality.

At every turn our President has chosen to put himself ahead of the needs of the people he represents. He’s chosen to cut funding to anything that prevents risk, and instead funnel everything towards the ultrarich who in turn buy and rent his buildings and signup for his clubs. Every thought is framed at the point of utterance and is based on nothing more than the last conversations he has had. Sycophancy, brown envelopes, and weak praise are the routes to power today. And while the growth challenges of an immature and mainly migrant population were framed in founding documents that have served well for a few hundred years and are now totally ignored, an always present undercurrent of xenophobia, racism and sexism is melding into fascism before our very eyes.

There may be nothing more dangerous that an incompetent leader. And today we have potentially the most incompetent leader any civilization has ever seen. I’m sure George W. Bush must have worried that history would have reported him as the most incompetent President ever, but he can rest easy, that accolade will be the headline of President Trumps for many years to come.

President Biden will need to build a team of competency to solve the mess he will inherit. His legacy will be not in the simple but difficult decisions he will be asked to make, but indirectly, through the professionals he must nominate who must follow absolutely the rule of law while promoting the values established in the constitution.

Mr. Trump, his family and the groups that control them through payments and dirt must be removed through the election process, and then investigated to ensure that no one else can ever corrupt the process using the same tricks.

America may never fully recover from this stain on its reputation. The power that has been given to countries such as Russia and China, may never be fully restored. The damage to the international community including NATO, and the financial and political established balance may never fully be recovered. America chose to give up global leadership of green energy, for no better reason than to protect the dying embers of the fossil fuel industries.

And yet America is still the most free country in the world, and maybe after a taste of how easy it is to fall into demagoguery and how easy it is to collapse democracy, maybe we will have a renewed understanding of the power of people to own their own destiny.

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There is no such thing as bad publicity.

Love him or hate him, you have to recognize that Donald Trump’s use of the “media” is incredible.

He doesn’t seem to care what people say about him, so long as they are talking about him. He has tapped into the “keep people watching,listening, reading across the ad gaps” requirement like no one has ever done before.

Every form of media used to make money from subscriptions and advertising, but with the demise of users subscribing and buying newspapers and magazines and the movement towards online viewing reducing the subscription revenue from cable companies, we saw the elimination of the firewall between editorial and advertising.

When I studied at college, we we’re taught that journalists never let commercial decisions impact a story. This was a cornerstone of their ethical code. But this is clearly not the case anymore. Now we have a 24-hour news cycle that must be filled with an every decreasing budget, which means opinion and reality shows replacing detailed analysis by professional journalists.

News must be timely, controversial and relevant, and that opens the door for anyone to present any point of view, and the more outlandish and crude then the more it will encourage viewers to watch more.

Reality TV shows containing almost naked people doing embarrassing things, saying the most obnoxious racist, sexist things top the ratings. When a plane crashes, that used to be a story on a news show, now it becomes a month-long continuous flow of opinions 24-hours a day. Ask the relatives of the dead what they think, ask retired pilots what they think, then ask the relatives about what other relatives think and see if you can get them to fight each other. News and reality TV have become conflated.

And now we have a reality TV personality as President, and the media can’t believe their good fortune. He cannot stop saying terrible, irrational and hurtful things. And that means there will be an army of hurt people to interview. If only he had a good-looking wife who used to be an almost nude model? And wouldn’t it be good if he had paid off porn stars and insulted war heroes. The ad revenue can only grow. It’s just a shame we had to give up democracy, civility, ethics and the constitution in exchange for media revenue.

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