Follicular trivia, and yet . . .
Michele Bachmann lookalike confirms: Yeah, I think Trump’s hair is real
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I’ll be honest. I sort of assumed it was a toupee too, mainly because I can’t work out the physics of where it starts and how it swoops in those implausible directions. But you can look at my picture. Like I know anything about full heads of hair and how they operate. If it turns out that thing is real . . . I just don’t know what to believe about anything anymore.
Generally I tend to agree with the take offered at the Huffington Post by Gabriel Arana about the coverage of stories like this, which is that they’re cute and amusing but they get way more attention than they deserve and they crowd out attention to substantive issues that a campaign deserves:
MSNBC played the clip on “PoliticsNation” with Al Sharpton, “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell.
CNN was just as bad. “Erin Burnett OutFront,” “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” “The Lead With Jake Tapper” and “Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield” all dedicated precious airtime to informing viewers about Trump’s coif. CNN’s Noah Gray even published an exclusive interview with Bannister, who opined that Trump used “definitely a combination of hair gel and hairspray” to style his hair.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and Neil Cavuto also played the clip.
To their credit, the broadcast networks spent considerably less time discussing Trump’s hair, though ABC, NBC and CBS all covered it in their nightly newscasts.
The problem isn’t that some levity made its way into 2016 coverage, or that the networks covered it at all. It’s that this sort of fluff gets played over and over on the news, crowding out substance. Every moment that’s spent discussing the styling products Trump might use or gawking at his helicopter could be spent covering the substantive policy debates that will shape the future of the country.
And yet I do find this somewhat noteworthy, if only for the indictment of the very same media in a different way. How many just assumed Trump wore a toupee because everyone assumed that? And why does that matter? It matters to me because the political media gave up long ago the notion that they had to be sure about anything, drifting instead to the notion that impressions are all that really matter in politics.
And they do it with substance too. How do they treat a confusing, poorly worded statement by a candidate about a serious issue? Do they go back to the candidate and ask for a clearer explanation of the statement so they can report his position accurately? Or do they jump on the original, sloppy statement and obsess over the politics of his having made it, only to treat the later clarification as some sort of lame attempt to “walk back” (who invented that stupid phrase?) the original misbegotten statement?
You know perfectly well that it’s the latter.
So it may be completely trivial whether Trump wears a toupee or not, but if you think it’s noteworthy enough to make cracks about it, why don’t you find out if it’s actually true. You could start by maybe asking him. I realize he has a tendency to rip reporters to shreds for asking stupid questions, but maybe if you all hadn’t asked so many stupid questions in the past - about tiny crowds of protesters, about the use of phrases like “anchor babies,” about the way he talked to Rosie O’Donnell - you wouldn’t have so many problems at the start.
By the way, my hair is real too. My wife ran her fingers through it to be sure, because I couldn’t find any Michele Bachmann lookalikes to do it.