In the Trump era of cartoon politics, the world’s biggest jackasses have an easy highway to fame and fortune...
The Krassensteins and Wohl are just two sides of the same coin, just as Avenatti is a more transparently pathetic version of the man he claimed to oppose, Donald Trump.
The Trump era has seen the rapid proliferation of a new type of political grifter. He or she often builds huge Twitter followings with hyper-partisan content, dishing out relentless aggression in the form of dunks and hot takes while promising big, Kaboom-y revelations that may or (more often) may not be factual. They often amplify presences using vast networks of sock-puppet accounts.
Avenatti had 254 cable appearances last year, including 147 on MSNBC and CNN alone in a 10-week period. Cable news bookers fell so madly in love they nearly propelled him into the presidential race, during a time when, among other things, he was allegedly bilking $1.6 million from a paraplegic.
Waytago, cable! Congratulations for giving air time to any slimeball who throws enough coal on your ratings furnace, beginning of course with the president.
Trump understood the modern press is not only weighted toward the outrageous, but discouraging of moderation in any form. In the WWE-ized landscape, people like Jeb Bush and John Kasich appeared as tomato cans for Trump to knock over, using shareable insults, extravagant policy promises and ratings-stimulating antics.
From Charles Ponzi to Mike Milken to L. Ron Hubbard to Bernie Madoff to Jack Abramoff, Americans have a long history of embracing snake-oilers and schemers, showering them not just with money but social approval. In America, even after exposure, the huckster is often still worshipped for being enterprising. In a weird way, we tend to admire the effort.
It’s one thing to give these clowns our money and time. But do we have to give them our respect, too? Make them political heroes? Are we really that stupid?