It is hard to keep track of all the developments in the frenzied circus of tomfoolery and gutter politics that is the Donald Trump campaign. But here's one that should be noted. In fact, it might explain the unexplainable. The Financial Times, an outlet not given to colourful exaggeration or to floating outrageous untruths, reported recently that Trump's son-in-law had met with potential investors to canvass the possibility of starting a Trump television network.
It makes sense, in a weird way. Of course, there is no acknowledgment from inside the Trump circus that "Trump TV" is on the horizon. That might lead to the impression that Trump has conceded that he will lose and is already eyeing future endeavours.
And the possibility that Trump expects to win and, simultaneously, launch "Trump TV" is vaguely outlandish. Why, people might assume that, like Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump would like both political power and a TV channel to support him and smite his enemies.
At first, the idea of a Trump television channel engages us as fodder for fun. What on earth would such a channel broadcast? One can have sport imagining a weekly "Nasty Woman" movies slot. Gone Girl would be in endless rotation, being about a woman who lies and colludes with a corrupt media. It would air with Trump's personal endorsement – "No wonder this book and this movie were huge. Huge. It shows us the truth about how nasty women operate." There might be a travel-program slot, with Nigel Farage, the former UK Independence Party leader, now Trump supporter, engaging viewers with: "How to visit Britain without meeting any non-white people." I leave the content of a "Bad Hombres" movie slot up to your own vivid imagination.
But, in truth, there's nothing very funny about the idea of a Trump TV outlet. While new TV channels aren't easy to establish – ask Oprah Winfrey about the tribulations of the Oprah Winfrey Network – digital technology makes the possibility of a makeshift but impactful outlet a real possibility. Trump already has the backing of the far-right Breitbart News online platforms. Combine a Web channel with a minor cable presence and add Facebook video and other social-media platforms, and you have a going concern. About eight million people watched Trump's Facebook video discussion around the third presidential debate last week.
What makes the possible channel dangerous is its viability as a lunatic-fringe outlet that acts in permanent angry opposition to a Hillary Clinton presidency. It would, naturally, question the legitimacy of Clinton's presidency on a non-stop basis. Trump's old birtherism campaign against Barack Obama would pale in comparison.
Already, part of the engine that drives the frazzled Trump campaign is a livid, infantile loathing of existing media, especially CNN and the larger influential newspapers. Fox News no longer offers succour to Trump supporters. Trump has alienated Fox, with the exception of Sean Hannity, who looks out for Trump with gimlet-eyed intensity even to the point of upbraiding his colleagues who appear to waver in their support.
A mass of Trump followers who already believe that the existing media are biased and unreliable are hungry for an outlet that reflects their views and that of Trump himself. And the fact that no major media outlet has endorsed Trump for the presidency creates a vacuum that must be filled.
What might fill it is to be feared. There is the dangerous possibility that a Trump-controlled media outlet would foment not just anger, but violence against a Hillary Clinton presidency. While that might seem as outlandish as the content of a Trump-curated TV channel, the sheer vigour of his campaign through the Republican primaries to now underlines the volatility of the American electorate.
More probable, mind you, is the leverage of influence that comes with a media outlet. A Trump-controlled outlet could be a Tea Party of the digital age, a judge and jury to assess Republican politicians and policies for years to come.
Influence matters enormously in this scenario. Consider this curiosity – the National Enquirer is one of the very few publications to endorse Trump. And that's not something to joke about. The Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc., has money to burn. It likes influence. Its chairman, president and chief executive officer, one David Pecker, a friend of Trump, was just appointed to the board of Postmedia, owners of the National Post and other papers in Canada, through some complicated hedge-fund deal. Riddle me that.
The idea of a Trump TV/media outlet would certainly appeal to the vanity of Donald Trump and his family. But a pointless vanity project is not what it would be. It would be mad, bad and dangerous, and not without fans or backers. The frenzied circus of tomfoolery and gutter politics would go on and on.
Mohawk Girls (APTN, 9:30 p.m.) returns for a fourth season. It remains one of the truly original, far-out shows on Canadian TV, a concoction of comedy, drama and whimsy that is never reined in. Anchored in the lives of four young women in Kahnawake, it challenges many conventions about how the lives of young women are portrayed on TV. A summary of what has been happening will give you a flavour. Caitlin (Heather White) is trying to adjust her life and recover joy after an abortion. She remains entangled with Butterhead (Meegwun Fairbrother), who is a helluva lover boy. As for Zoe (Brittany LeBorgne), she's still trying to keep secret her dedication to kinky, unorthodox sexual encounters. It's like nothing you've seen.