Donald Trump has always been a household name. He's spent decades introducing us to bikini-clad beauty contestants, yelling at B-list celebrities on our TV screens and paying ghost writers to plaster his name all over our bargain bin books. He also once helped that cute kid from Home Alone navigate the corridors of a fancy New York hotel.
And that's why the media has always given him a bit of a pass. The guy is a whacky orange firecracker, and everything he tweets merits a whole bucket of salt. But that's okay — because it's just The Donald being The Donald, right?
Let's get one thing straight: Donald Trump is not your typical, run-of-the-mill TV clown. He's orange, sure. But over the course of the last year, he's outed himself as the single most dangerous political gremlin ever to try and claw its way into the White House. Trump's piecemeal political platform is riddled with obscene ambiguities and economic illiteracies — but that doesn't exactly set him apart from any other presidential hopeful.
What separates Trump from the pack is his complete lack of empathy for other living souls.
In the span of just a few months, he's utterly transformed the party of Abraham Lincoln into a bigoted, ultra-conservative caricature of its former self. Donald Trump belittles women at every turn, terrifies children, mocks the disabled and has repeatedly pledged to ban 1.6 billion men, women and children from ever visiting the United States based solely on the way in which they choose to worship God. He's a rampant xenophobe, serial liar and has a nasty habit of flip-flopping on major issues.
Okay, you get the point. The guy is a monster in wolf's clothing – and his lacklustre political agenda and fringe views on how to behave like an adult should have completely mothballed his chances at presidential glory by now. Yet because of that great orange bigot's historical treatment as a zany TV host, Trump's dangerous words are simply not being scrutinised in the same way you'd expect a reporter to grill Hillary Clinton about how she spells her email address. And it's not just Fox News letting the guy get off easily.
Last week, Matt Lauer kissed his journalistic integrity goodbye after teleporting us all to some magical, alternate universe in which The Donald was not the star cheerleader of America's 2003 Iraq invasion. Lauer isn't the first to let Trump get away with lies like that, and he probably won't be the last. At this point, it looks like we've simply got to come to terms with the media's refusal to fact-check Trump and get on with it. Yet what happened Thursday on The Tonight Show was a different beast entirely.
If you happened to miss it, you're one of the lucky ones. The spine-tingling segment saw comedian Jimmy Fallon kick-start the world's creepiest on-air bromance with Donald Trump. The two joked about everything and nothing, and conducted a blithe mock interview before Fallon won permission to tenderly tussle Trump's alien-like hair. The cute exchange ultimately gave viewers the foreign impression that Donald Trump is actually a spontaneous and likeable little man with the light-hearted soul of any ordinary, relatable human being.
And that very well may be the fattest lie the Trump campaign has ever tried to shove down our throats.
Now, Jimmy Fallon is not a journalist. He's an actor. The guy couldn't even make it through an entire Saturday Night Live skit without breaking character and giggling – and we love him for that. Yet by assuming the role of Donald Trump's whimsical court jester, Fallon has unwittingly joined the seemingly endless group of media pawns that are constantly fuelling a toxic propaganda machine that's getting disgustingly close to humanising a deplorable xenophobe.
We're supposed to be vetting this guy for the most important job on the planet. We should be calling Trump out on his ambiguous policies and shameless lies. Yet, for whatever reason, we're simply tussling his artificial hair, dipping our toes in snake oil and treating this all like it's some kind of sick joke.
This is no joke. We're not voting on who we want to be Miss Universe, or whether Meatloaf should stay on Celebrity Apprentice. We are literally 52 days away from handing the keys of the White House to some narcissistic sociopath. Right now all we can do is pray voters will start to realise that sooner rather than later.