REPORT:

Springboro drug distributor benefited from weakened drug enforcement

Billy Bush is collateral damage in Trump tape controversy


To say I care about Billy Bush’s career is overly generous. If you’d asked me two weeks ago who he is, I doubt I could have given an answer beyond, “The name is familiar,” or, “Isn’t he on one of those shows?” And by “those shows,” I mean that undifferentiated hog trough of “Access Hollywood,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “TMZ,” “Inside Edition,” etc.

But now, of course, I know who he is. He’s the cousin of George W. Bush who’s made a living in the worlds of infotainment, gossip and celebrity worship.

Eleven years ago, he worked for “Access Hollywood,” an aptly titled program that allows the hoi polloi to participate, at a distance, in the practice of what we will have to call “stellar fornication” for the benefit of the editors of family newspapers. He was assigned the task of interviewing Donald Trump on the cusp of Trump’s cameo appearance on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” in which the self-described “star” was slated to promote his reality show, “The Apprentice.”

While sitting around on a bus, Bush giggled and guffawed as Trump told him: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful (women).” In the realm of confessions, this is about as shocking as saying, “When I’m thirsty, I like to drink water.” There’s ample confirmation in the social-science literature that heterosexual men are instantly attracted to beautiful women. The only pertinent question is how men act on the attraction. According to Trump — and a growing number of women — he just starts kissing and groping, because he can get away with it.

But we’ve heard plenty about that already. What I find bizarre is that Bush has been suspended from his job at “Today” for … what? I don’t really know. Was he supposed to slap Trump? Rip off his mic and say, “How dare you, sir?” Report him to the police?

Maybe he should have. I certainly would think better of Bush if he had. But I have to assume that when you’re in the business of sucking up to celebrities in a cutthroat competition for prized “gets,” one must listen to — and see — all manner of things that would offend decent, middle-class sensibilities.

It’s worth pausing to ponder that celebrities serve as a kind of secular aristocracy in our culture, getting away with behaviors we would not tolerate from anyone else. Barbra Streisand reportedly demands that her staff not look her in the eye. Sylvester Stallone once stopped an interview until his hotel room was painted a more desirable color.

Sometimes the self-indulgence spills out of the category of mere arrogant eccentricity. Money alone doesn’t account for what Bill Cosby is alleged to have done. British BBC “personality” Jimmy Savile sexually preyed on children for decades —and got away with it because he was just too “important” to be exposed.

Whether you believe some, none or all of the allegations against Donald Trump, the remarkable thing is that the only reason he’s being held to account for them is that he dared descend from the constellation of stars into the terra firma of politics, where the rules are slightly different — but only slightly.

Billy Bush’s career is merely collateral damage caused by Trump’s wrenching migration. One can only imagine what repugnancies will remain unknown, so long as rock stars and rappers, actors, jocks, idols, divas and Hollywood doyennes stay in their royal chambers for us to worship from afar.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

PERSPECTIVE: Some quick lessons from Criminology 101

We may feel from TV shows and the news that we know a lot about crime — and yet, crime and criminology can be a highly complex topic that requires years of study for a full understanding. It’s such an important topic that it’s worth a quick look at the types of crime, a few things you can do to prevent them, along with some good news...
Opinion: ‘Scalia Speaks’ a collection that teaches about civility

I knew the late Justice Antonin Scalia a little, and like millions of others, I was an avid fan of his jurisprudence, the great bulk of which he produced after I was no longer a law student, so much the worse for me. Reading opinions as a law student was often like trying to swallow great bowls of sawdust — without milk. Very few judges can write...
Opinion: GOP is finally, sorta, willing to admit the obvious

Yes, he’s childish and incompetent. Is that really news by now? But of course, it wasn’t that assessment of Failed President Trump that made jaws drop over the weekend so much as it was the person making it. Meaning Sen. Bob Corker, who unleashed an extraordinary barrage of contempt on Twitter and in a New York Times interview. The Tennessee...
Opinion: Auto industry has glamorous past but opaque future

DETROIT — Bending metal, slapping on chrome and marketing an empowering product and status marker that mesmerized 20th-century America, the automobile industry typified the Old Economy, of which General Motors was emblematic. As was its bankruptcy. Today, GM’s CEO Mary Barra is wagering that the industry soon will be manufacturing New Economy...
COMMENTARY: Heading back to the days the Birchers

“Some people say I’m extreme,” an Indiana tea party leader told The New York Times at the height of the movement’s rebellion in 2010, “but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.” Uh-huh. The society, which still exists, enjoyed its heyday in the early 1960s and saw Communists everywhere. Robert Welch...
More Stories