Why Does the Media Treat Kim Kardashian’s Meeting With Donald Trump About Prison Reform Like It’s a Joke?

The fact that it was a joke and the fact that so many jokes can be told about it (ie any day now Trump will be meeting The Teletubbies about restructuring federal labour laws, and pretty soon he’ll be consulting with Tommy Wiseau about national security) are themselves becoming kind of a cliche at this point.

Photo Credit: Kim Kardashian/ Twitter

But it both masks and highlights a much larger and systemic issue in American politics and culture that goes beyond Trump. It’s an issue that’s curious at best and might actually be dangerous (like it has the potential to be when you invite a reality star bimbo to talk about prison reform).

We love rich people. America has taught us to do that, and the very American ideal of being rich (that being rich automatically means you’re a good, successful, smart or talented person) has conquered the world through the influence of American culture. It was never a thing in the old worlds of Asia or Europe to this extent.

As such, we tend to give outsized platforms to people just because they have money. So if a rich person talks about something they know nothing about (ie Jeff Bezos about agriculture, Bill Gates about single working mothers, Kanye West whenever he opens his mouth), we give them far too many column inches/clicks and consider their views to have authority just because they have tons of money.

Trump embodies that ideal and has for most of his working life – if you’re rich, famous, or beautiful you have more worth than people who have actual expertise. Having Kardashian there is the perfect metaphor for the circus sideshow his appointment has turned the whole system into.

That’s even aside from whatever PR plan he and his advisors had for aligning his public image with someone who has so little political credibility (although we’re talking about Trump; the synergy actually couldn’t be more perfect).

BUT; attacking Trump for this kind of thing is too easy and not entirely true. Politicians (even Obama) have a long history of pretending they’re great buddies with rich and famous people because it makes great photo ops and they often hope the lustre of people the public loves will rub off on them.

That Kardashian – a citizen of the US with no political insight any more valuable than millions of other voters – got an audience with the US president just because she’s famous is merely an expression of that that.

NB. It’s also quite likely he just thought if he showed off the oval office she’d bang him.