Trump and Omarosa
It may be the dog days of summer for most of us, but not for the media. Chasing the latest outrage, which they for the most part create, they are like a pack of dogs chasing a car down the street. Once they catch the car, they are flummoxed as to what to do next. So they look for another car to chase.
They chased the Stormy Daniels car, finally catching it and taking a bite of the tire, finding that it didn't taste very good. Then they turned their attention to the Michael Cohen car. That one must have gotten away, as that story died as quickly as it was created. What happened to all of Cohen's tapes? The only one I heard was a big dud, the dogs getting a bite of the rear bumper of the chased car.
This week, their attention is on Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former Apprentice star and longtime Donald Trump pal, who for reasons unclear was hired by the White House. She has a bad history with White House jobs, "banished from four jobs in two years with the Clinton administration." Getting fired is part of her résumé.
At one time, Omarosa praised President Trump. As an aside, when I used Google to search for evidence of such praise, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. My guess is that the search algorithms have buried those stories, as they don't gel with the current narrative.
This week, the only news is Omarosa's tell-all book about the chaos and dysfunction in Trump's White House. Unfortunately for her, it's her word against everyone else's. Short on corroboration, long on confabulation, her book could have been written by Brian Ross, former CBS newsman, who at one time told us the Aurora, Colorado theater shooter was a Tea Party member.
President Trump is hardwired to respond to baseless accusations and slander from anyone, whether a former employee like Omarosa or the media. Call it the "Covfefe Code," a part of his internal operating system. His political opponents, both Republican and Democrat, got a taste of his rapid-fire responses during the primaries and presidential campaign.
He called Omarosa a dog, and the media immediately had a new shiny new object to chase. What is amazing is how quickly they mobilized; coordinated their stories; and blitzed television, print, internet, and social media. Military leaders should learn the tactics of the media to beef up their rapid response tactical teams.
Look at the rapid response media, coordinating their stories on par with Olympic synchronized swimming.
From the New York Times, "Trump Calls Omarosa Manigault Newman 'That Dog' in His Latest Insult."
CNN finds everything Trump says as racist or sexist: "Trump calling Omarosa a 'dog' is sexist and racist, period."
Fox News, trying to be CNN lite, joined the chorus: "Omarosa's actions are despicable, but Trump's 'dog' attack goes too far."
Slate is singing in harmony with CNN: "Donald Trump Called Omarosa a Dog. Is That Racist, Sexist, or Both?"
The Washington Post provided an echo: "Trump knew exactly what he was doing when he called Omarosa a dog."
I could go on, but you get the picture.
Aspen trees, common in my part of the country, are actually a single organism, buried underground, with each tree sprouting like a root but above ground. The media is much the same: a single entity with multiple tentacles.
Why the outrage over the term "dog"? The Advocate calls the term dog "a dog whistle to misogynists and racists." If anything, it is cultural appropriation, a popular leftist theme these days.
Urban Dictionary defines dog, or as some like to spell it, dogg or dawg, as "a friend or homie." Think of Snoop Dogg greeting one of his pals with "What up, dawg?" As President Trump is not part of this urban culture, perhaps the outrage is over his appropriation of the word "dog."
He has used "dog" in the past to describe people. Perhaps it's a New York Yiddish expression, like "putz" or "schmuck." Imagine if he had called Omarosa a "putz," which might be more descriptive than "dog" for her actions.
Whom else has Trump called a dog? This is one of his common descriptions of those he doesn't like.
David Gregory was "fired like a dog." So were Glenn Beck and Bill Maher. Ted Cruz let go of his communications director, or, as Trump would say, "fired like a dog!" Trump predicted, "Sleepy eyes @chucktodd will be fired like a dog."
The president's right-hand man during the campaign, Steve Bannon, was "dumped like a dog." Famous NeverTrump George Will, "got thrown off ABC like a dog." Another NeverTrump, Mitt Romney, "choked like a dog."
All of the above are men. All are white. Yet to CNN, the term "dog" is somehow sexist and racist. With Omarosa being the exception, perhaps "dog" is indeed a dog whistle for derision against old white guys. But don't let the facts get in the way of a well coordinated media narrative.
Why Omarosa turned on a dime against her longtime friend and mentor is a mystery. Was it simply to revive her reality show career? From The Apprentice to the White House, the ultimate reality show? The Trump campaign is now taking legal action against Omarosa. Is this all to sell books and get a gig on The View or MSNBC? High risk for dubious reward.
She may be a dog, but Omarosa is not stupid. Those who have crossed Donald Trump haven't fared well. Being part of his inner circle for years, she is keenly aware of this reality. Besides, dogs are loyal. Omarosa appears to be the opposite.
Or is this kabuki theater? Is Omarosa being used, as was James Wolfe, a Senate Intelligence Committee staffer, to plant and track leaks? What if Omarosa taped more than her dismissal by General Kelly? What if she taped conversations with reporters?
Could the dust-up be Trump strategically distancing himself from Omarosa in advance of future events or revelations? Just as some speculate Trump is doing with Jeff Sessions, with his frequent Twitter attacks on Sessions?
Who knows? Between the inspector general and the QAnon crumbs, much may be happening behind the scenes as part of a larger Trumpian strategy. We will have to wait and see how this all plays out.
But the media outrage over the "dog" tweet is silly and predictable. Piling on in unison, the media ignore real news to chase the latest anti-Trump shiny object.
Like dogs chasing the car, they may catch it, only to be befuddled as to what to do next – other than waiting for the next car to chase. As of this writing, that's John Brennan losing his security clearance. Chase on, dogs!
Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.