Criticism Of Donald Trump At The Emmys Just Gives Him The Free Press He Doesn't Deserve

Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 68th Emmy Awards show on September 18, 2016 at the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. / AFP / Valerie MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

The Emmys are a celebration of all things television, and talking about TV in 2016 without talking about Donald Trump is like talking about music without mentioning Beyoncé. Guests (and even the host) of this year's Emmy's made sure to mention the toupéed elephant in room from the very beginning, when host Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue indicted television media for their role in Trump's rise. His comments, and the anti-Trump sentiments that followed, are ironic because the Trump criticisms at the Emmys give him the free press he doesn't deserve. I get it, he's perceived as being a monster — but if media members keep playing into his "any press is good press" strategy, his biggest dissenters might just help win this election for him.

Admittedly, penning an article about why giving Trump free press is a bad idea is similarly ironic. It's a treatise directed as much to myself as it is to anyone else, because I despise the fact that Trump is even newsworthy at all.

But dog-piling the public censure of him only serves the candidate's interest, which is to keep the American public talking about him as much as possible. Whether you're calling him a racist, comparing him to Hitler, making jokes about his wife, or even praising him, the net effect is in some ways all the same. It's nearly impossible to not talk about him.

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Interestingly, Mark Burnett, the producer who made The Apprentice happen, had some choice words for Kimmel after the host somehow seemed to blame him for Trump's meteoric rise. Burnett responded that Trump probably appreciates all the free press and search queries he's getting from the awards show. Of all the comments about the Republican nominee, this was the only one that didn't make me roll my eyes, or rather, feel the vague sense of doom that I get every time I hear or read Trump's name in the media. "How much free media could any one person get?" Burnett asked — and he wasn't wrong. At this point, it's just not edgy to make fun of or criticize him. If nothing else, it's honestly kind of boring.

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I have no illusions about the media stopping the endless discussions surrounding Trump. The only thing I've had to get used to more than the fact that he exists and was nominated for the presidency of the United States is the fact that nobody can seem to shut up about how incredulous it is. The bizarre circus that is the 2016 election is entertaining, infuriating, and mind-boggling, and we'll be talking about it for years to come.

But right now, with a few more than 50 days until the election, we must take stock of what we've created. I fear that the more buzz Trump gets, the more powerful he'll become. I don't have a solution to the issue, but I wish desperately that others would maybe see it this way — and maybe start referring to him, as I've jokingly begun doing, as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

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