Blow up Your Boob Tube - Liberal Resistance

Blow up Your Boob Tube

William B. Turner

Everyone is aflutter about Roseanne these days. You may remember her? The woman who had the hit TV show a long time ago about a rough and tumble, working class mother who stuck it to the man in every episode?

Her hit show is back, and it’s a hit again. Sort of. Except now a lot of people have found out that Roseanne is a big Trump supporter and recently circulated a photo of herself with a Hitler mustache taking cookies shaped like people out of an oven. Oh, ha ha. What a comedienne.

Many people are noticing that she likes to promote very wacky conspiracy theories.

Roseanne is a TV star who vocally supports our first “reality TV” star president, Donald Trump. Forget Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Trump initially gained his fame via television and he dominated the Republican primary campaign because of his mastery of the ways of television.

A set piece of U.S. history textbooks is a sidebar on the first televised presidential debate, in 1960, between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Such sidebars always note that people who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon won, but people who watched on television thought Kennedy won. Kennedy would win the election and become president in January 1961. The race was hard fought, extremely close, and many factors played a role in Kennedy becoming president instead of Nixon, but Kennedy’s youthful, handsome face on television must have helped.

Trump is neither youthful nor handsome. In 2016, televised debates were routine features of presidential races. It would be odd not to have one, or lots of them, since the two major Parties typically televise the debates among their candidates during the primaries, as well as having televised debates between the two major Parties’ candidates once the Parties have selected them.

If you don’t like Trump as president, blow up your boob tube.

Television made the Donald president.

The major news networks mostly seem to have recognized their error. Their coverage of the so called president, now that he is in office, has become more critical. Some people still criticize certain reporters at the New York Times, the nation’s newspaper of record, for publishing softball coverage of Trump.

But the point remains that Trump’s outsized personality and his extremely thin grasp of policy – he knows nothing of policy – play well on television. We have had three intellectual dullards as Republican presidents in the history of the republic, and two of them, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, were celebrities from movies and television before becoming president. The middle of the three chronologically, George W. Bush, only got to be president because he is the biological son of George H.W. Bush, Reagan’s vice president, and political heir to Reagan.

Maybe because he’s pretty, former Republican member of Congress, but the invariably vacuous Joe Scarborough and his equally vacuous co-host, Mika Brzezinski, have a television show that people actually watch and discuss as if it had value. Why? Numerous observers have repeatedly criticized “Morning Joe” for their tender treatment of Trump during the campaign, criticisms Joe himself reacts very defensively to.

If you want to be well informed – if you want to resist effectively, you have to be well informed – you have to get your news somewhere besides the boob tube. It’s a shitty way to get news. It’s shallow and limited. There are any number of highly reliable print and on line sources for news that provide much more thorough, detailed coverage of events.  Sunday morning talk shows are a complete waste of time.

The Donald was made for television and television was made for the Donald. TV is a major factor in what is wrong with our politics today.

Blow up your boob tube.