It’s bad enough that we have to deal with one Donald Trump here in the U.S. of A. What’s worse, Mehdi Hasan explains on the latest episode of The New Abnormal, is that Trump has become a template for a whole planet full of bad-faith actors and wannabe strongmen.
Before he became the host of his own TV show in America, The Mehdi Hasan Show on Peacock, Hasan interviewed all sorts of international politicians.
“What I noticed over the last few years is that they all now start talking like Trump. They all use the same verbal tics, the same ‘fake news,’ the same completely brazen lies,” Hasan tells Molly Jong-Fast.
“This is not a coincidence. People around the world have said, ‘Well, it worked for Donald Trump. Why can't it work for me?’” Of course, all politicians are bullshit artists. But what’s different today, Hasan adds, “is the way in which Trump and co. have turned lying into not just an art form, but an instrument of power. They don't lie just to get their way. They lie because they want to destroy our shared reality. They want to demonstrate their power. They want people to back them and say, yes, ‘I don't believe my lying eyes.’”
Speaking of belief, you’ll be gobsmacked by the lengths Alex Gibney had to go to in order to make “Totally Under Control,” his documentary about the government’s response to COVID.
For some interview subjects, he’d drop off a high-tech camera rig so they could basically film themselves.
For others, “the camera person would go in alone to an Airbnb, kind of scrub it down, and then set up this shield—a series of shower curtains and tarps—between the subject and the camera person. And then there would be a lens sticking through,” he tells Molly. “That was a way… to do a proper lighting setup, but also be safe.”
Then! Rick Wilson asks the questions on everyone’s mind, like: How much cash would it take to turn Texas blue? Why does Mike Lee hate democracy? Is mail order herpes a thing? And will Ted Cruz even remember Trump’s name on Nov. 4?