Reality Politics Recap: Vladimir Fails to Give Donald a Red Rose, Deploys 'Cold Finger'

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Credit: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images; rose: iStock; composite: Advertising Age

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Friday, July 7:

So it's come to this: Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is enjoying media coverage befitting the reality TV star that he was/still is. And frankly it's surreal to witness the meta-spectacle of micro-analyses of the in-person culmination/consummation of the long-distance Trump-Putin bromance. Was it good for Donald? Was Vladimir fullfilled? The way they touched -- what did it mean? And who came off as the most alpha alpha male? Anyway, let's get started ...

1. Per USA Today: "President Trump is meeting President Putin -- and the 'Net is going nuts." Yeah, I'll say. Actually, so is USA Today, which has a print-edition front page this morning dominated by a story headlined "6 things to watch as Trump meets Russia President Vladimir Putin."

2. So this happened:

What the hell, NBC News? You tweet "The handshake has happened" but you don't show it?


Thanks, CNN. (More on CNN in a moment.)

3. So ... go on ...

"Trump and Putin at G20: First pictures emerge of US and Russian presidents meeting for the first time" (subhead: "Smiles and handshakes as leaders greet each other at G20 summit"), per Britain's The Independent.

Perhaps that post is too non-judgmental for you? Then how about this? "COLD FINGER: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin's ultra-macho body language was all about dominance and the 'symbolic' drawing of weapons, expert reveals" (subhead: "Social behaviour expert Judi James claims the US President dominated the Russian leader at the G20 summit in Hamburg"), via The Sun (UK), which includes photo captions such as:

Putin points his finger at Trump which is the body language version of a weapon, claims Judi James

President Trump 'dominated' Putin with a double handed first pump

4. OK, now back to CNN. The Washington Post's Philip Bump asks a pointed question in a piece titled "Would the Trump administration block a merger just to punish CNN?" The bottom line, per Bump:

Using the government's antitrust powers against political opponents has been attempted by a president before, and it would be hard to prove that politics drove the final decision on whether Time Warner and AT&T should merge. But, that said, the administration is in a bind: If it does decide to contest the merger, its motivation for doing so will be suspect.

5. Speaking of The Washington Post, Bump also happens to have the No. 1 story on its website this morning: the well-timed "Here's the public evidence that supports the idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election."

6. In media personnel news: "Gregg 'Opie' Hughes Fired by SiriusXM," per The Hollywood Reporter. And "Fox suspends business news host Charles Payne amid sexual harassment allegations," per The Los Angeles Times.

7. And finally, let's agree to disagree about everything!

Thanks to Ann-Christine Diaz, Tam Nguyen and Laurel Wentz for their roundup suggestions.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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