So how long will it be before Donald Trump hires Roger Ailes as a media consultant?
The timing is perfect. Last night Trump, the beefy bully former reality television star, really, truly, totally not making this up, became the Republican nominee for President of These United States. And yesterday Roger Ailes, the beefy bully who turned FoxNews into a Republican propaganda machine, was forced out of his job as Chairman and CEO of Fox News — the media outlet that buttressed the illusion that Trump was somebody who should be taken seriously as a political thinker.
It may not happen, of course. but Trump/Ailes seems a natural pairing. This would truly be a match made in Hell. Not the nicer part of Hell, with the little shops and cozy restaurants, but the other-side-of-the-tracks part of Hell, where decent demons and fiends are reluctant to visit after dark.
Back in 1988, when he was still working overtly as a Republican political consultant, Ailes was interviewed by Judy Woodroof. Ailes had just helped put George H.W. Bush in the White House, and he described his approach to political media consulting.
Roger Ailes: Let’s face it, there are three things that the media are interested in: pictures, mistakes and attacks. That’s the one sure way of getting coverage. You try to avoid as many mistakes as you can. You try to give them as many pictures as you can. And if you need coverage, you attack, and you will get coverage.
It’s my orchestra pit theory of politics. You have two guys on stage and one guy says, “I have a solution to the Middle East problem,” and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news.
One thing you don’t want to do is get your head up too far on some new vision for America because then the next thing that happens is the media runs over to the Republican side and says, “Tell me why you think this is an idiotic idea.”
Judy Woodruff: So you’re saying the notion of the candidate saying, “I want to run for President because I want to do something for this country,” is crazy.
Roger Ailes: Suicide.
Trump is almost a perfect orchestra pit candidate. He equally divides his time between stumbling into the orchestra pit and attacking his opponents. Wait, that’s not entirely correct. Trump doesn’t necessarily stumble into the orchestra pit; sometimes he hurls himself head first into the pit. And then sets it on fire.
The four days of the Republican National Convention proved that. Let’s face it, the convention was one orchestra pit moment after another. It looked like it was staged by somebody with a severe synaptic disorder. It was chaos piled onto a heaping mass of confusion with a side helping of disorder, served up with a large glass of pandemonium.
Trump needs Ailes.
Back in May I said I wasn’t worried about Trump getting elected as president. My opinion hasn’t changed much. The flaws and weaknesses of the Trump campaign haven’t changed. But if anybody can put a glossy shine on the Trump turd of a campaign, it’s Roger Ailes.
Of course, Ailes has been forced out of Fox because of a sexual harassment scandal, so Trump might be reluctant to hire him as a…oh c’mon, you didn’t really think I was being serious with that line, did you? Trump would snatch up Ailes like a dog eating its own vomit. And his supporters would see that as Trump standing up against the Tyranny of Political Correctness.
Maybe it won’t happen. I hope it doesn’t happen. Because with Ailes, the Trump campaign could actually take form. It’s not that Ailes would plant pretty flowers around the borders of the Trump landfill; that’s not Ailes’ style. The risk is that Ailes might convince some folks that the stench of the landfill is the smell of freedom and success.