AT: I would have never thought to put Muhammad Ali (aka Cassius Clay) and Donald Trump in the same sentence, no less the same argument. Nonetheless, the other day, ABC did it for me. When Ali died, Donald Trump had some very gracious remarks about the boxer’s passing. Michael Falcone at ABC used the occasion to trot out some written remarks attributed to Ali that Falcone interpreted to be a defense of Islam against Trump. Trump, of course, is never mentioned in the Ali communiqué on Islam. Indeed, the suggestion that Muhammad Ali was writing about anything on his deathbed is an unlikely fantasy.
Ali was probably being used then as he has been used for most of his career; first by fight hucksters, then by anti-war activists, then by a Nation of Islam cult, and finally by any special pleader that could get him to sit and sell his persona or signature for a $100 dollars a pop.
Still the big networks never seem to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Alas, exploiting a palooka’s death to bash a political candidate already under fire is what you might expect from press partisans in an election year.
You read that correctly. I said “palooka,” archaic sports jargon used to describe a chump who has one too many fights and taken one too many shots to the head.
In another time and place, such a prizefighter would have had an industry diagnosis such as “punch drunk,” not Parkinson’s. This is not to blame Ali; he like many athletes probably wasn’t smart enough to anticipate the consequences of not knowing when to quit.