Former Producer of "The Apprentice" Regrets the Image of Trump the Show Crafted

President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he arrives to speak at an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

A former executive producer of Donald Trump’s reality TV program, “The Apprentice,” is feeling some pangs of remorse, over what he sees as his culpability in crafting a false image of Trump – savvy executive and successful businessman – to the intellectual wasteland of American consumers.

“Did we think this clown, this buffoon would the funny hair, would ever become a world leader?” Bill Pruitt asked in an email published by Vanity Fair on Wednesday. “Not once. Ever.”

Pruitt, who worked on the first two seasons of “The Apprentice,” said he regrets that the program may have inspired a favorable public perception of Trump.

“’The Apprentice’ was a scam put forth to the public in exchange for ratings,” he said. “We were ‘entertaining’ and the story about Donald Trump and his stature fell into some bizarre public record as ‘truth.’”

“We are masterful storytellers and we did our jobs well,” added Pruitt, who has worked in reality television for more than a decade. “What’s shocking to me is how quickly and decisively the world bought it.

Seriously. This isn’t a new concept.

When I was a kid, I thought pro wrestling was real.

For that matter, I remember many summers spent at the homes of friends, with their housewife mothers, who would give us treats to stay quiet while their favorite soap operas were on, and who treated the characters as if they were real.

Still, I wouldn’t vote for Ric Flair, based solely on his figure-4 leglock.

“There’s a larger issue at hand: non-fiction or ‘reality’ television has obviously become a huge force in shaping the minds of the populace. ‘The Apprentice’ contributed to that. People lapped up what the producers were putting out, and the danger became real as news directors, desperate to compete with rating, starting putting music under soft news stories.”

Pruitt, who has worked on other reality television hits such as “Deadliest Catch,” added he is troubled by how the media is imitating the genre.

“Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning,” he said. “People are buying our crap. Make it entertaining, yes. But make it real. Give them the truth or pay the consequences.”

Pruitt’s email snippets were made public by Vanity Fair, after he declined to be interviewed about his experiences with Trump. He basically took a “what’s done is done” stance, and he’s right.

Trump is smoke and mirrors. We get that, but he’s what we have. Let’s just consider his cabinet picks. They’ll be running everything, anyway.