Gary Abernathy looks at Donald Trump and sees a creation of “reality” TV and cable news. Methinks his argument is worth a look.
But as cable TV and, later, digital platforms flourished, so did the need for revenue. What became evident was that Americans would tune in to watch a good fight, which brought us “Crossfire” on CNN and countless imitators on other channels pitting left vs. right, each one louder and more aggressive than the one before. Americans were encouraged to choose sides, driving us deeper into our partisan corners.
On the entertainment side, television struck gold with “reality” programming, placing seemingly ordinary citizens in voyeuristic and titillating settings, asking viewers to cheer one contestant, jeer the other and cast their votes.
Out of this divisive and salacious swamp climbed the combative, shocking and polarizing Donald Trump, stepping onto a cultural stage constructed almost specifically for him.