Anne Mikolay

Another week, another book. This time, from the infamous Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney and “fixer.” “Disloyal: A Memoir”, penned by Cohen, hits the already flooded marketplace on Tuesday. I have no plans to read Cohen’s book (why put more money into a crook’s pocket?), and would have paid the publication little mind if it were not for a Facebook headline that caught my eye: “Trump paid fake Obama to belittle, fire him on video.” This little gem is apparently revealed in Cohen’s book and is substantiated by video.

My first reaction to this report of “fake Obama” was laughter, disbelief. While I  believe Donald Trump spoke irreverently about our troops, I can’t believe what the Facebook post implies, that Trump engaged in a weird, ego-boosting exercise designed to enhance his self-image by allowing him to insult “Obama” face-to-face. The suggestion, quite frankly, jumps the shark.

When you watch the video in question, the misleading phrasing of the Facebook post is immediately apparent. The post stating “Trump paid fake Obama to belittle, fire him on video” is craftily worded to further stir the anti-Trump pot and convince people Trump is unhinged. While that remains to be determined, the faux-Obama video in its current application is sheer propaganda.

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The video, a slick parody of NBC Television’s The Apprentice, was actually produced for the 2012 Republican National Convention. In the video, Trump conducts a performance appraisal of Barack Obama’s first term. Whatever marketing team came up with that one should give themselves a pat on the back. It was a clever, effective campaign tool, though it was reportedly deemed too controversial to actually air. Trump likely had a field day with faux-Obama in 2012,  but at no time did Trump hire an Obama impersonator solely to gleefully mock him. The video was not Trump’s twisted game of one-upmanship; rather, it was a professionally produced video for the 2012 RNC. As such, there was no reason other than defamation for Michael Cohen to include the video in his book and no reason other than the same for anyone else to expand upon it. Trump made a video in 2012 for the RNC; there’s nothing more to it.

Faux-Obama is propaganda, plain and simple. Apparently, politicians know the average person does not conduct due-diligence and is thus likely to spread falsehoods advantageous to their particular campaigns. Some Democrats are capitalizing on this flaw in human nature and promoting this faux-Obama video as evidence of Trump’s break with reality. Creating misleading headlines about the faux-Obama video is akin to Republicans alleging Biden’s stutter is proof of dementia when they are well aware Biden’s mental acuity is sharp. The gullible on both sides of the political fence are easily swayed by such untruths that conveniently fit with their perception of the opposition. If Democrats want Republicans to play fairly and lead with truth, all Democrats must do the same.

The 2020 presidential race is a dirty, nasty, disturbing thing. There are those who say it has to be this way; stirring people’s emotions is the only way to initiate change and mobilize the vote. Perhaps, but we must rise above the muck! Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Think for yourself. Educate yourself. Be certain your vote for your chosen candidate is based on solid truth and fact, not ridiculous tabloid journalism, propaganda, and carefully crafted lies.




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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...