Monday 20 November 2017

Trumpeting Trump on airwaves is no bad thing

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

It must be because this is such a small country, but we often get a bit excitable over things that aren't necessarily the biggest deal ever. Take this Donald Trump visit: the rug-haired billionaire's trip to west Clare had the whole nation talking.

The Donald spent three days here with his children, visiting the newly acquired golf resort in Doonbeg. His arrival was covered by Morning Ireland (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7am), the country's highest-rating show and, to an extent, barometer of national priorities; news bulletins across the stations reported on each development as though it was a ground-breaking moment.

Now, Trump is a big deal. He's just not that big a deal. But with Michael Noonan going to welcome him, and the airwaves hopping, you'd swear a resurrected JFK had flown into Shannon.

Having said that, it's disingenuous of people to act as though he's just another US tourist. Clearly, Trump is more than that. As local station Clare FM's flagship Morning Focus (Mon-Fri 9am) reported, the New Yorker promises to invest up to €60m.

That's a hell of a lot for a place that is, and probably always will be, economically disadvantaged. Local man Tommy Comerford told host John Cooke that this resort is the biggest employer in west Clare, saying it can't be denied that Trump is good for the area "whether people like him or not".

Besides, I think the guy is alright. Trump's longest interview was on Today with Sean O'Rourke (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 10am), who even went to the trouble of broadcasting from Doonbeg.

Sean seemed a bit star-struck at meeting the tycoon and TV star, but handled the interview well, letting Trump do what he does best: talk at length.

And after all the hype, he doesn't come across as such a bad sort.

Sure, he's brash, cocky, blunt. So what? He's a businessman, not Mother Teresa. Besides, you get the feeling a lot of that is play-acting. It's show-business as well as business.

The only really black mark against Trump, as far as I can see, is his bizarre obsession with President Obama's birthplace – and what concern is that of ours?

The most vital politics are always local; this week proved it again.

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