Trumping Truth with Stories


One of the few consistencies of a wild 2016 presidential campaign thus far is that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is willing to spin, obfuscate, exaggerate, misdirect, deflect, lie outright and double-down when called out for having done so. And, so far at least, it’s working. Truth – literal factual accuracy – just doesn’t seem to matter to him or to his supporters (who recently shouted “Sieg Heil” and “Light him on fire” at a black protestor in Las Vegas). If it feels right to them and fits into their favored narratives, from their perspective it is deemed true. What actually happened could not be less relevant.

This post-truth worldview isn’t a new-found tactic now that the Donald has entered the political world. For him, it has been a consistent way of life designed to benefit the Trump “brand.” He has thus routinely inflated his supposed net worth, often by billions of dollars, to make himself appear far more financially successful than he actually is. And he keeps claiming that his campaign is self-funded (because he’s really rich, donchaknow) when it demonstrably isn’t. But his Pinocchio-like behavior hasn’t been limited to things that, if believed, offer an obvious benefit to the Donald. Continue reading

When Gorgeous Isn’t Enough

MichelleMy March 2014 column in Research magazine is now available digitally. It opens like this.

Michelle Pfeiffer was and is a major movie star. People magazine put her on the cover for its first “50 Most Beautiful People” issue. The New York Times, no less, called her “devastatingly gorgeous.” So when Esquire magazine’s December 1990 cover asked “What Michelle Pfeiffer Needs …,” the answer printed on the inside front cover—“Is Absolutely Nothing”—seemed superfluous at best. However, as it turned out, she needed a lot of help to look like she did on that cover, which was perfect.

I hope you enjoy it.

The Perfectly Dangerous Thing Your Clients Want