Why do tens of millions of Americans believe that Donald Trump, who has no experience in domestic or foreign policy, is qualified to lead the United States government?
One major reason is The Apprentice.
The popular reality-television show portrayed its host in a favorable but contrived light. He would sit at a big, wooden conference table, reviewing business tasks that two teams competed to carry out. The winning team would often get his circumspect praise. With the losing team, Trump usually seemed able to pinpoint a clear performance failure and to accurately identify the person most responsible for it.
Aren’t those precisely the attributes a good president would possess?
The problem, of course, is that “reality television” shows are elaborately constructed lies. Many “real housewives” are not actually housewives! Trump’s boardroom scenes were no more “reality” than his time in the ring with Vince McMahon:
The producers of The Apprentice edited down hours of footage in ways that obscured many aspects of what actually happened; they advised Trump on who to fire and who to keep around; and the editing served to make Trump look better than he is.
A year ago I urged NBC to level with us:
In the interest of giving the public as accurate an understanding as possible of a leading presidential candidate, NBC’s news division should upload the raw footage from The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice to the web. Let voters see what Trump was really like while the show was being filmed, for better or worse; let them judge if the hours that they spent with the billionaire left an accurate impression or constituted a false portrayal of someone less presidential than he seemed.
The need for the truth has only grown.