Op-ed: American scraps

  • By Bob Franken
  • Saturday, November 26, 2016 12:02pm
  • Opinion

Chances are you’re still consuming Thanksgiving turkey leftovers like most Americans, unless of course you are a Hillary Clinton campaign leader. Now you’re eating crow, along with those of us in the media and all the pundits who were so certain Hillary would win the election. Yes, that was a cheap shot, but it felt so gooood.

Right now, all of the so-called experts are hard at work trying to blame everybody but themselves for simply blowing it. Nearly all were out of touch with the millions of people in America who were alienated because they were being left behind and ignored. So they were attracted to Donald Trump, who made them and their anger the focus of his campaign. One of the latest items in the blame-everybody-but-ourselves catalog is the angst over “fake news” on social media. Apparently, our geniuses are just now figuring out that people were influenced by all the completely made-up, scurrilous material presented as bona fide news reports on the Internet. As if that were anything new, considering how we’ve spent a generation or so standing in the grocery line perusing tabloids that featured someone famous having an affair with space aliens or raised by wolves — or having an affair with space aliens raised by wolves. This is just the modern equivalent: fake news, as opposed to the real news that isn’t real.

That’s really phony. It must be, considering how so many were describing their adversaries as the scum of the earth a few weeks ago, but now are all sweetness and light with each other. Case in point: Mitt Romney — the failed 2012 Republican presidential candidate who got in a poisonous personal battle with candidate Trump, whom Mitt charged Donald Trump would bring about “trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny.” Donny trickled right back; actually, it wasn’t a trickle, with Trump calling Mitty a “con man” and a “fake” who “blew it” and “choked like a dog” when he lost his race against Barack Obama. Still, there was Mitt Romney, all but kissing the Donfather’s ring when they met at Trump’s country club, in an obvious grovel to get a piece of the action in the new administration.

Actually, the president-elect is filling a mixed bag so far when it comes to keeping his campaign pledges, if his appointments are good indicators. Three of them — White House strategist Steve Bannon, former general Mike Flynn and Sen. Jeff Sessions — all have records indicating that President Trump has every intention of taking extremely harsh action against immigrants and Muslims, just like he said he would.

Of course, he also promised he’d never settle the massive lawsuits against him, filed by those who claimed he had swindled them by taking their money at Trump University. Settling litigation was something he never did, said the candidate, although that was one of his lies. Sure enough, as quietly as he could, Trump did settle, to the tune of $25 million. He explained that he didn’t have time for the litigation, since he was busy trying to make America great again. But let’s face it, $25 mil is a lot to fork over simply to avoid inconvenience. Then again, this is a man who considers that petty cash. Of course, he’s got other ways to be petty. He fumed on Twitter about the reception Mike Pence got when he went to see “Hamilton.” Trump also tweet-whined about the treatment he got on “Saturday Night Live.” No slight too teeny for the one who’s about to be the planet’s most powerful man.

Maybe he’s grumpy because his wife, Melania, has decided not to move to Washington with him, at least till their kid finishes the school year. It’s probably a good thing, because that way she/they can stay away while he’s draining the D.C. swamp. That’s a promise the Washington swamp creatures might make harder to keep than he ever imagined.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

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