The New York Times recently launched a bewildering and blistering attack against prolific reality television producer Mark Burnett over his relationship with one of his former stars, President Donald Trump. The article argues that since Trump’s presidential election victory in 2016, Burnett has suffered a string of losses and has struggled creatively.
It’s a ridiculous hit piece that demonstrates the media’s continued bias against anyone who has ever associated with Donald Trump, even when Burnett has publicly stated that he was not a supporter of Trump’s candidacy.
Mark Burnett is an extremely successful producer who has created some of the most influential reality television shows in the country, including “Survivor,” “Shark Tank,” “The Voice,” and, infamously, “The Apprentice,” the television show that made members of the Trump family household names.
Of course, now that Trump has become the President of the United States and Burnett has, allegedly, hit a bit of a dry spell creatively, The New York Times decided it was time to attack the Christian producer for his yearslong professional and personal relationship with one of his former stars.
In the piece, author Ben Smith wrote, “When President Trump took the presidential helicopter from Walter Reed Hospital to the White House this month, panicked Twitter commentators compared an official video of his triumphal return to the work of the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. But Mr. Burnett was the artiste whose influence really shined through on the video, though a spokeswoman said he did not consult on it.”
So, The Times big scoop here is that Trump’s exit from Walter Reed was so filled with specific, dramatic camera angles that it could have been under the direction of Burnett, which the producer firmly denies. That is some cutting-edge journalism right there.
Though Burnett and Trump have not been photographed together since the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast, and there is no evidence that Burnett is currently working behind the scenes, it was still necessary to compare Burnett to Leni Riefenstahl, who directed the influential Nazi propaganda film “The Triumph of the Will.”
The fact that Burnett has supposedly “gone dark” and isn’t producing the hits he used to is one of the main reasons The Times believes that his association with Trump has damaged his image.
“And Mr. Burnett, until 2016 one of the most prominent figures in Hollywood, has gone dark. His Trumpian gift for telling his own story — about his triumphant reinvention of a once-great studio, MGM, and his plan to bring Jesus Christ to entertainment — has foundered on the reality of corporate infighting, creative struggles and a religious streaming network that never got off the ground,” The Times reports.
The reporter failed to suggest other, more reasonable explanations. For example, Burnett could be working on some sort of behind-the-scenes project or he has a secret family or health issue. It could also be that Burnett doesn’t want to engage with the biased media, which attacks anyone associated with the Trump family. There are a variety of explanations that have absolutely nothing to do with Donald Trump, but, for The Times, all roads lead to Trump.
An article by Indiewire is worse, stating, “The president is Burnett’s monster but the ‘Shark Tank’ creator doesn’t appear to have even half the moral compass of Victor Frankenstein, who at least had the courtesy of attempting to stop his monster. (Who, for the record, killed three people. Burnett’s creature has far more blood on his hands.)”
Couldn’t it be argued that the real Victor Frankenstein in this situation is the media? After all, the press gleefully covered Donald Trump and his family for decades without issue. The negativity changed only after he announced his candidacy for president.
In another example, Kirstie Alley, best known for her work on the highly acclaimed television series Cheers, came under intense attack after she wrote on Twitter, “I’m voting for Donald Trump because he’s NOT a politician. I voted for him 4 years ago for this reason and shall vote for him again for this reason. He gets things done quickly and he will turn the economy around quickly. There you have it folks, there you have it.”
Director Judd Apatow, in a rather low blow, tweeted in response, “Shelly Long was way funnier than you.” Alley replaced Long on Cheers.
Since 2016, association with Donald Trump, regardless of how tenuous, has become a dog whistle to the media and celebrities who have nothing better to do than drag someone’s name through the mud for entertainment.
Photo from Levy Steve/ABACA
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