Winning (!) (?)

Published: April 11, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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If you go to YouTube type in: “Charlie Sheen, Winning.” You will see almost two minutes of the actor’s rambling account of what has become the latest cult mantra of lunacy. What remains unclear is whether Sheen’s statement is voiced as an exclamation or a question. I’m not sure Sheen knows himself.

That would never happen with Donald Trump. The real estate developer, hotel owner, wealth porn decorator, reality TV star and now – thanks to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that places him second behind Mitt Romney – apparent presidential candidate, declares that he hates being labeled a “birther.”

Gee, how would anyone get that idea?

“Three weeks ago, when I started, I thought he was probably born in this country. Now, I really have a much bigger doubt than I did before. His grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya. She was there and witnessed the birth.” (NBC Today Apr. 7)

“Everybody that gives even any hint of being a birther … they label them as an idiot.” (ABC Good Morning America, Apr. 8)

“In an interview with ABC, Trump said he finds it strange ‘nobody knew’ Obama as a young child in Hawaii… ‘I’m a really smart guy. I was a really good student at the best school in the country. The reason I have a little doubt, just a little, is because he grew up and nobody knew him.’ ” (CNN, Apr. 9)

“…forget about birth certificates. Let’s say there’s no birth certificate. How come in the hospital itself, okay? This is one of the…in the hospital itself, there’s no records of his birth. In other words, it doesn’t say how much they paid, where is the doctor, here’s your room bill…” (NBC, Apr. 7)

Okay, let’s go to, the “nonpartisan, non-profit ‘consumer advocate’… that monitor[s] the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players…. Our goal,” the University of Pennsylvania Public Policy group says, “is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.”

Among the statements checked:

“[Trump] claims the president’s grandmother says Obama was born in Kenya. In fact, the recording to which he refers shows Sarah Obama repeatedly saying through a translator: ‘He was born in America.’

“[Trump] claims that no hospital in Hawaii has a record of Obama’s birth. Hospital records are confidential under federal law, but Honolulu’s Kapi’olani Medical Center has published a letter from Obama calling it ‘the place of my birth,’ thus publicly confirming it as his birthplace.

“[Trump] insists that the official ‘Certification of Live Birth’ that Obama produced in 2008 is ‘not a birth certificate.’ That’s wrong. The U.S. Department of State uses ‘birth certificate’ as a generic term to include the official Hawaii document, which satisfies legal requirements for proving citizenship and obtaining a passport.

“[Trump] claims ‘nobody knew’ Obama when he was growing up and ‘nobody ever comes forward’ who knew him as a child. ‘If I ever decide to run, you may go back and interview people from my kindergarten,’ Trump said. Well, two retired kindergarten teachers in a 2009 news story fondly recall teaching a young Barack Obama.”

I wanted to get the fact stuff out of the way before going to the more serious issue, namely: why is the media (CNN, NBC, ABC) giving this guy and this issue any attention?

Given, Trump is a billionaire huckster who knows how to work all the bells and whistles of media attention to vault himself into a second-place tie in the polls for a “possible” presidential run. So, the only reason I can come up with for all the media attention is… the media, itself. Fresh from their gateway drug of choice, Charlie Sheen, NBC, ABC, and CNN are now looking to get high on the new ecstasy — anything outrageous that comes with plenty of ego and lots of ratings.

“I’m well acquainted with winning,” Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February. Apparently, Trump believes that winning comes not by a serious discussion of the issues, but by obsessing on one issue: “I want to see the birth certificate.”

Trump’s vainglorious statements remind me of the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem (excerpted) I studied long ago in a High School far, far away:

…”Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert… Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculpotor well those passions read…
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

If Mr. Trump sincerely wishes to run for president he needs to understand that people don’t follow bluster, they follow integrity, the kind of integrity that listens more than talks.

Americans need real leadership, not reality show buffoonery.

One thing I am sure of, if this is the evolution of television news, we’re all losing!

Memo to Trump: the “boundless and bare” sands are fast approaching, Donald.


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