jueves, 6 de octubre de 2016

How Howard Stern Owned Donald Trump

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The Donald fancied himself a player in the ’90s, but the shock jock knew just how to play him. Now that’s back to haunt the candidate.

To anyone who’s listened to “The Howard Stern Show” since it hit the national airwaves in 1986, Stern’s name still conjures the snicker of adolescent dirty talk, and the occasional sicko comment about Columbine or the developmentally disabled.

But now, to the “WTF” of his own audience, Stern has emerged at the center of the national political conversation, a ghost in the machine of the 2016 presidential campaign.

It was on Stern’s show, after all, that Donald Trump, then a playboy real estate mogul, called former Miss Universe turned Hillary Clinton supporter Alicia Machado an “eating machine.” It was on Stern’s show that Trump now infamously said he supported the Iraq War (“I guess so”)—a recording that flatly disproves his countless claims he was against it. On Stern’s show, Trump also said it’s “hard to be a 10” if a woman is flat-chested and called the challenge of avoiding STDs his “personal Vietnam.” If the political class is appalled by the notion that anything from the morass of ’90s shock-jock radio could become part of a presidential race, it may be just as surprising to Stern’s fans, who proudly embraced the outsider-ness of a guy who couldn’t seem further from inside-the-Beltway political chatter.

But surprising as Stern’s sudden arrival at the center of American politics is, the Stern-Trump encounters are also strikingly revealing—showcasing a strange, mutually manipulative relationship that tells us a lot about both men. Age has chastened Stern, who’s now a more searching interviewer on SiriusXM, as the New York Times recently noted, but he was ascendant at the time, still playing the famous, if haggard, firebrand surrounded in-studio by his team of carnies. Trump, meanwhile, was in personal and professional trouble, fishing for any publicity he could get, and in Stern, he found someone who was willing to put him on national radio, over and over—some two dozen times in the ’90s and the aughts, according to counts by BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post.

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