I’m on the elliptical Friday morning, sweating like a fat New Yorker on the D train at 5 o’clock in late July — I’m really, really sweaty, is what I’m saying — and I look up at the TV and see the calm, cool, preternaturally well-groomed Mike Pence on the Today show set. (Pence’s hair is the polar opposite of his running mate’s. It is so together, so perfectly groomed, never a strand out of place … hell, I’m pretty sure I can’t trust either one of those guys, just based on their hair.)
Matt Lauer starts out by asking Pence about his scary night, when his plane skidded off a rainy runway at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The hosts and Pence exchange a few “Hoo boys, that must’ve been scary” and “Yeah, but the pilot was great” before Lauer jumped into why Pence’s running mate continues to say that he might not accept the results of the election.
Pence spends maybe five seconds on this before he quickly pivots, as any politician would (they don’t even try to hide it anymore), into Hillary Clinton’s email server and the Wikileaks revelations about the shadiness of the Clinton Foundation.
And we’re off. A local channel is on the set next to Pence. ESPN is a couple screens the other way. I strain to see what happened in some college football game.
I finally get through my elliptical hell, much to the relief of the poor sweat-dodging lady next to me, and I’m doing a lap around the gym trying not to drip on anybody (and everybody, nicely, gives me plenty of room when they see me coming). I look up to see Pence, again, on TV. This time on the set of Fox News. The closed captioning is not on this one, but the chyron on the bottom of the screen shows what they’re talking about … which, of course, is something about “allies and adversaries” both jumping on what the email leaks say about the Clinton Foundation.
Sorry. I know I’ve been through this before. But that morning round of interviews with the Republican nominee for vice president, in a wad of toilet paper, is what you get in what we call news nowadays. Blatantly one-sided on both sides, with NBC asking what’s wrong with Trump and Fox asking what’s wrong with Clinton.
Different channels, different agendas.
For a test — I’m not looking — I’m going to the Fox and CNN websites again, right now:
Fox headline: THANKS, WIKILEAKS/Trump seizes on damning emails to accuse Clintons of corruption
CNN headline (and I swear I’m not looking): Trump’s tough move/Cancel the election and declare me the winner, he says
I swear, those are true, right now, as I’m typing this.
Very unscientifically speaking, things seem to be getting tighter with under two weeks to the election. Certainly, Wikileaks is making things uncomfortable for Clinton. Trump, despite his quip about throwing everybody’s vote out and declaring him president — and it was a quip, off the cuff, just Trump being mouthy Trump and nothing else — has not said anything alarmingly stupid in at least 24 hours. Yeah, things probably are tightening up.
So we wait, nervously, to see whether a long-time politician with trust issues or a narcissistic misogynist with truth-telling problems of his own will end up as our next president.
I, for one, am sweating this one out. It’s not a pretty sight.