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NBC, Trump and Miss USA Get What They Deserve: Each Other

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In case you missed it, NBC was forced to fire Donald Trump, Univision won’t air Miss USA and NBC gets to waste money fighting a $500 million lawsuit. Let’s hear it for corporate synergy!

Donald Trump is a carnival barker and bloviating windbag who exaggerates his wealth in order to convince people he’s an innovative entrepreneur. He lies about his net worth, his companies have repeatedly filed for corporate bankruptcy, and he defrauded students of “Trump University” out of millions of dollars. (Yes, I know Trump makes lots of money by owning properties in New York City. Big deal. Give me a few properties in New York City and watch how quickly I make money with them!)

Despite these truths, large swaths of the American people have bought into his schtick, due largely to his partnership with NBC/Universal and various “beauty pageants.” Trump, like Bill Cosby before him, made NBC lots and lots of money. And greed was the only reason NBC didn’t swiftly dump Trump when he announced his presidential candidacy.

Let’s break this down another way. Donald Trump made weekly appearances on Fox News for years, but the network quickly cut ties with him when he announced his run. Logically, it could not broadcast a free commercial on behalf of a candidate for higher office.

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Yes, I just praised Fox News for appropriately avoiding a conflict of interest. Pigs are flying!

When Fox acted, reporters reached out to NBC for comment about the future of The Apprentice. But NBC head honcho Robert Greenblatt sidestepped the question. NBC didn’t care if it was giving Trump a giant platform to promote his candidacy – conflict of interest be damned – because they might be able to squeeze a few more dimes out of has-been celebrities begging for dollars on The Apprentice.

This decision predictably came back to haunt NBC when Trump made exactly the kind of comments a bloviating windbag makes when he wants to run for president:

Mexicans are “rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Oh RLY? Trump doubled down on his remarks later the same week.

“I like Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I do business with the Mexican people, but you have people coming through the border who are from all over. And they’re bad. They’re really bad. I’ve spoken to border guards and I said, ‘How bad is it?’ And they said ‘Mr. Trump, you have no idea how bad.’ But you have people coming in and I’m not just saying Mexicans, I’m talking about people that are from all over that are killers and rapists and they’re coming into this country.”

I’m here to report the unfortunate truth that the USA indeed incarcerates many murderers and rapists. And 99 percent of them were born in America. U-S-A, U-S-A!

Trump’s viewpoints immediately enraged a lot of people, including the executives at Univision, who terminated their relationship with Trump. Univision will not air Miss USA or Miss Universe, which are both owned by Trump. The Giant Windbag responded by filing a $500 million lawsuit.

By refusing to cut ties with Trump before he made the comments, NBC opened itself to criticism that it only fired Trump when his specific views became politically unpalatable, when in truth he should have been let go when he announced his candidacy. Now critics will say Trump’s freedom of speech is being attacked (it isn’t, unless NBC and Universal now constitute the US government.) But the appropriate way to handle the situation was to sever ties with anyone who is running for president, regardless of their political views.

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Maybe NBC should have just announced that in addition to airing The Apprentice, it was bringing in Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton to host a show called The Heirs, where third generation political descendants compete for a seat in Congress. Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie could both host and compete on The Biggest Loser. And Ted Cruz could host Fear Factor, since he scares the hell out of me every time he opens his mouth.

Come on NBC, put your money where your corporate mouth is!

Alex is a lawyer and opinionated.

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