Monday, August 13, 2018

Not on a first-name basis

One sign of the reality-TV-ification of everything these days is the reduction of persons in political life to first names: Chuck and Nancy, Jared and Ivanka. I think all the way back to the first season of Big Brother: George, Eddie, Jordan. (Those names, I am surprised to discover, have stuck in my head.) “Omarosa,” too, is a character from the world of reality-TV. The woman who worked in the White House is Omarosa Manigault Newman. Newscasters should refer to her by her name: Manigault Newman, or Ms. Manigault Newman.

But the less time cable news spends on Manigault Newman, the better. She offers a form of reality-TV spectacle that distracts from urgent issues of the real: tariffs, Helsinki, North Korea, Russian hacking, emoluments, conspiracy and obstruction, congressional inaction, the firing of Peter Strzok, refugee children separated from their parents, and the incurious, ill-informed, misogynist, racist president at the heart of it all. “Trump at war with Omarosa!” said someone on MSNBC this afternoon. No, that’s entertainment posing as news — which leaves less time for news.

See also this moment when reality and fiction merged: “Omarosa was fired three times on The Apprentice, and this is the fourth time we let her go.”

[My list of issues is incomplete: I had to stop somewhere.]

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