Donald Trump gets a harsh lesson on self-censorship

Aug 10, 2016, 6:02 AM | Updated: 10:27 am

Sure enough, as CBS’s Major Garrett pretty much predicted, Donald Trump was able to last one day before making what many have said to be a threat against Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” Donald Trump said. “If she gets to pick her judges — nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is — I don’t know.”

Related: Fact-checking could save this country

After the speech, Trump was quick to explain he was talking about political pressure when he said that, nothing more. But it supports a theory I have about Trump.

What is Donald Trump thinking when he goes careening off the guard rail? He seems to do it quite a bit, even when the stakes for him are sky high, as they are now.

My theory is that he’s like a lot of us who like to debate controversial issues, throwing out wild ideas among friends just to see how they play. But those ideas should be only among friends — only among people who know well enough to understand that you’re still a good guy regardless of what you just said.

I think Donald Trump is like that. Except during his 14 years of reality TV he learned two things: The more outrageous you are the better ratings you get, and, number two, that if you make a mistake and go too far an editor will catch the mistake in post-production and cut that part before it goes on the air.

A guy like Donald Trump needs editors because in broadcasting there can be a fine line between what gets you ratings and what gets you kicked off the air.

So now here’s Donald Trump, doing his reality TV shtick without an editor. And doing it in an environment where the rules of TV are flipped upside down. Because now, instead of being the stuff that gets cut, the mistakes are all that anyone’s interested in.

Which is cool if you’re just into ratings. His mistakes have been golden for the news business. But he’s also learning that unlike show biz, in politics there is such a thing as bad publicity.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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Donald Trump gets a harsh lesson on self-censorship