January 25, 2017

PBS's "Frontline" showed "An examination of the key moments that shaped President-elect Donald Trump."

"Interviews drawn from The Choice 2016 with advisors, business associates and biographers reveal how Trump transformed himself from real estate developer to reality TV star to president."

You can watch the whole thing at the link. We watched it. It's sort of like 2 documentaries edited together, one made by a someone who wanted a glossy, neutralish story of how Trump became President and another by someone with some edge who wanted to bring out the ominous dark side. Almost as if the show is based on sort of an "alternative facts" concept.

Here's the NYT review of the show.
As the program runs through Mr. Trump’s greatest hits — “They’re rapists,” “He’s a war hero because he was captured,” “Blood coming out of her wherever,” “I moved on her like a bitch” — his strategists recall how they believed that each new gaffe would be the one that finally ended his campaign. They do not, however, express any disagreement with his statements, and they describe approvingly how Mr. Trump would “double down” each time he seemed to have crossed another inviolable line.

There is also a Greek chorus of reporters and writers, who recount the fear and surprises of the campaign trail and discuss how Mr. Trump manipulated the news media without getting into how the media allowed itself to be manipulated. Most of them project an air of getting on with it, except for Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, whose agony in discussing Mr. Trump’s rise is palpable.

36 comments:

David Begley said...

I will be so happy when PBS and NPR lose their federal funding.

Henry said...

The terrible anecdotes accumulate.

Lewis Wetzel said...

. . . except for Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, whose agony in discussing Mr. Trump’s rise is palpable.
The people that are hysterical about the Trump victory . . . what country do they believe that they live in? America is a real country. It can't be contained in the imagination. It is not raw material for anyone's progressive fantasies, America makes its own reality. It is bound to follow no laws of history, it makes laws of history.
God Bless America!

eric said...

The winning. It's starting to overcome me. I'm starting to constantly feel like I'm high on drugs.

Will I overdose?

Only if Trump keeps doing what he's doing.

Please defund NPR, the NEA and Planned Parenthood. Please?

rcocean said...

I got through most of it but couldn't finish.

First, because I don't really care about Trump pre-2012 and secondly, I lived through the campaign and I don't need to see talking heads tell me what I all ready saw. And third, I don't think these WaPo, New Yorker, etc. reporters really knew Trump or his campaign that well.

But that's me.

Big Mike said...

... except for Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, whose agony in discussing Mr. Trump’s rise is palpable.

Let me know when Lizza is ready to understand his own role in Trump's ascension to the presidency.

Will said...

A dystopian tale.

Rob said...

We looked forward to the agita Trump's victory would inflict on the New York Times, The New Yorker and other reliably liberal media outlets, but the enormity of the dyspepsia is a continuing joy. As Trump predicted, it feels like we're winning so much, we're going to get tired of winning.

Earnest Prole said...

The blended, almost dueling styles are something of a Frontline trademark.

narciso said...

Those were not the pivotal moments, San Francisco, San Bernardino, Paris Orlando, where the ctiticsl events everything else is filler.

JML said...

Most of the reporters didn't see it coming until about 5 PM on the 8th. They didn't even consider hillary could lose. I enjoyed seeing some of that again. But really, as a famous accused rapist once said:

"Our country has been distracted by this matter for too long...

Now it is time -- in fact, it is past time to move on.

We have important work to do -- real opportunities to seize, real problems to solve, real security matters to face.

And so tonight, I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of the past seven months, to repair the fabric of our national discourse, and to return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise of the next American century."

narciso said...

Dallas and baton rouge as macmillan said 'events dear boy, determine much'

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

@rc: "I don't think these WaPo, New Yorker, etc. reporters really knew Trump or his campaign that well." True, though my general assumption, mindful of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, is that they don't know much about anything. Most of us commenting on this blog, pro Trump or con, are alien to them. With our hostess and commentary, we got a better sense of things than any of the major newspapers. (Though I admit that, like the MSM, I did not expect DJT to win.) In this respect, at least, we resemble Trump: by necessity, we understand them a lot better than they will ever understand us. And they still think they can afford not to care.

Big Mike said...

@Sebastian, I kept my eyes on the RealClearPolitics state by state polling. What was plain to anyone was that in the battleground states Trump was closing fast while Hillary stayed stuck at around 47% in those places. Suggested to me that the Republicans who had flirted with voting for Johnson were coming home in the face of the awfulness of a Hillary Clinton presidency, and that the undecideds were also breaking for Trump. But I thought Trump had flat run out of time and was going to be somewhere in the 260's in electoral votes. Haven't been so glad to be wrong in quite some time.

What's weird is that I really had to hold my nose pretty tightly to vote for Trump, and I might even have voted Democrat for the first time since 1976 if they had put up someone decent. But the Democrats couldn't be bothered to do that.

What's even more weird is that every day I am happier and happier that I did vote for Trump. I like Sessions as the AG and the choice of Mattis is pure genius. "Peaceful" protesters smashing windows like Hitler's thugs on Kristallnacht? Women marchers setting a girl's hair on fire? I'm glad to stand with whomever that scum hates.

Clyde said...

I think I watched the wrong one, the "President Trump" one at the top from January 3rd, which was interesting in its own right. Not sure I want to invest another hour watching this one, even if there is schadenfreude to be had.

Clyde said...

I went for it. Pretty good, since the bad guys lost. As one commentator noted, the view from Clinton's city-dwelling supporters was very different from the Trump supporters in the Heartland. They did leave out Hillary Clinton's physical collapse on 9/11 and the fact that down the stretch, she was usually only doing one campaign event a day, if that, and taking weekends off, while Trump was doing a marathon stretch of multiple campaign events in multiple states every day. Clinton seemed old and tired while Trump seemed energetic and up to the job of being president. The WikiLeaks and FBI investigation reopening announcement by Comey just reinforced all the bad things that many people thought and felt about Hillary Clinton. I know that in my case, it was less about voting for Trump than about voting against Clinton because of her corruption and criminality. However, every day since the election, I've seen things that made my choice to vote for Trump feel better and better. I've especially enjoyed this week so far, as Trump's team has energetically gone about the business of getting America back on the right track.

tim maguire said...

I'd have more compassion for people like Ryan Lizza if they weren't Clinton supporters. They want you to get all up in arms about how gross the other candidate is at the same time they want you to completely ignore how gross their own candidate is. And then they feign mystification that the rest of the country couldn't grasp their deep wisdom.

I don't know what's worse--their lies or that they seem to believe them.

Earnest Prole said...

I listened to both documentaries. Three impressions: 1. “From the first time I met Trump, I thought of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and Travolta. He was the kid who grew up as a outsider to where the real action was, and he was acutely aware of it.” 2. I had forgotten Roy Cohn, but his mentoring of Trump explains a lot. 3. The thing was reasonably fair, given the source.

Bill Peschel said...

Well, we got Obamacare because he wanted to get outside Hillary on some issue and this was nearest at hand. He also didn't believe he would win, too.

Maybe Trump did the same thing.

Yada yada yada answered prayers seems to be batting .500.

chrisnavin.com said...

You don't speak for all the public, PBS, and unlike the CBC, the BBC and other State run media orgs, your consumers and competitors should be your guides, not necessarily the latest greasy funding bill passing through the House.

Mission-creep, conflicts of interest, the capture by self-interested idealists and radicals, and reality demand it.

You're only 'human,' after all

bgates said...

As the program runs through Mr. [Obama]’s greatest hits

"Hold on one second, sweetie, we’re going to do — we’ll do a press avail"

"I'm really good at killing people"

"if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"

"it was like the Special Olympics or something"

"I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any seances"

"You didn't build that"

"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody"

"I do think at a certain point, you've made enough money"

"Well, the math stuff I was fine with up until 7th grade. But Malia is now a freshman in High School and I’m pretty lost. It’s tough."

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them ... And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Bob Ellison said...

bgates, RE: one of those-- "a certain point"-- that one bugs me. People use "a certain point" when what they mean is "at some point that cannot be determined". The point is far from certain. Weird and widespread misuse.

roesch/voltaire said...

How refreshing to have detailed clips of Trump interwoven with reflections from those close to the campaign, but not nearly enough details found in Wayne Barrett's book about how Fred essential made his DJT with all his loans, signing etc.

Barry Dauphin said...

The Frontline narrator could read the phonebook, and it would sound ominous.

Henry said...

Re: Mr Obama's greatest hits.

That's it? 20+ years as a politician with two books, and that tiny jar of larks tongues in aspic is all there is?

I realize that both sides run a cottage industry of media-watchers who publicize and preserve every slight and excessive act they can find, but it does get old after a while.



Michael K said...

Trump was doing a marathon stretch of multiple campaign events in multiple states every day.

I was very impressed with that. The contrast with Hillary, who I still think has Parkinson's, was part of it. That may have been her health or her overconfidence but it was a preview of what he is doing now.

I am always amused by the lefties, probably school teachers or DMV clerks, who belittle Trump's intelligence and education (reading).

They have no idea what running a big company is like. The only other guy with similar experience was Eisenhower.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Repeal the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 (47 U.S.C. § 396).

Shhhh. Close your eyes. It will all be over in a second. You won't feel a thing.

BANG

LarsPorsena said...

Dear Ann,
Thanks for watching for us, so we don't have to.

bgates said...

Re: Mr Obama's greatest hits.

That's it?


That's ten minutes of Googling for the exact phrasing of lines I could remember off the top of my head. If you like you can add in like your doctor/keep your doctor, more flexibility for Putin, the promise of a "net spending cut" in his first budget, calling the opposition party "terrorists" when refusing to negotiate with them while secretly negotiating with actual terrorists &c &c.

bgates said...

@Henry yesterday: The terrible anecdotes accumulate.
and today: it does get old after a while.

Fritz said...

Trump was doing a marathon stretch of multiple campaign events in multiple states every day.

I was very impressed with that. The contrast with Hillary, who I still think has Parkinson's, was part of it. That may have been her health or her overconfidence but it was a preview of what he is doing now.


I think even she knew that the more she was in public, the less people liked her.

James Graham said...

"Most of them project an air of getting on with it, except for Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, whose agony in discussing Mr. Trump’s rise is palpable."

I've been a regular reader of The New Yorker since high school.

The current editor (Remnick) has turned it into a glossy political pamphlet with no attempt at balance and in my opinion ought to be fired.

The man is entitled to his opinions but he has an implicit obligation to deliver to subscribers what they signed up for: a readable general magazine with articles on a broad range of subjects.

I didn't (and would never) sign up for The Nation which is what Remnick is now issuing.

He has become a crank who sees his job as saving the country (the planet?) from a terrible person which, I guess, satisfies his ego but ruins my reading experience.

Quit, you jerk, and peddle your opinions on the street and let someone else, a professional, produce the magazine.

Henry said...

@bgates: The terrible anecdotes accumulate.

It's irony. "The terrible anecdotes" is intentional overstatement. The remark is an allusion to Churchill's famous words about the beginning of World War I, "The terrible 'ifs' accumulate." But Churchill's 'ifs' involve a fatal accumulation of bad decisions that led to the Ottoman empire entering the war on the side if the Axis, with much subsequent death as a result. Comparing the media's petty anecdotes about Trump to Churchill's terrible 'ifs' is absurd hyperbole and thus overturns the meaning of the sentence.

Today's comment was pretty straight in its meaning with only a metaphor to jazz it up.

I remain opaquely consistent.

walter said...

Barry Dauphin said...The Frontline narrator could read the phonebook, and it would sound ominous.
--
Was he required to say "schlonged"?

BJM said...

Forget it, Jake. It's Frontline.