Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The John Miller “Scandal”

By Robert J. Ringer

Here I go again giving Donald Trump free advice.

This time it involves Trump’s being accused of acting as his own publicist under the pseudonym “John Miller.” Wow! Stop the presses — this is big. Not as big as Hillary the Horrible using her private slush fund (a.k.a. “the Clinton Foundation”) to sell State Department favors to foreign countries, but still big. Not!

Pretending to be a surrogate for yourself is both common and moral, provided you don’t use it to defraud anyone. In my early years in business, I employed this strategy a number of times in an effort to elevate my posture (or so I thought), and it usually worked out quite well for everyone involved.

The best example of this is when I used the pseudonym “Henry Rearden” (the hero figure in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) for the purpose of finding a paperback publisher for my first book. I thought it would be more impressive for someone other than Robert Ringer to be hyping his work.

Henry Rearden’s task was to make paperback publishers aware of how well the book was doing by calling their attention to things like the full-page Wall Street Journal ads I was running, copies stacked high in both front windows of Brentano’s flagship bookstore on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and the carloads of letters I had received from enthusiastic readers of the book.

After getting the attention of the owner of Fawcett books, “Henry Rearden” entered into talks with the late Leona Nevler, who at the time was editor-in-chief of the company. There was nothing at all improper about this, because the fact that I posed as a representative of Robert Ringer didn’t make the deal any better or any worse for Fawcett Books.

Being the smart woman she was, I can assure you that Leona agreed to buy my book based solely on what she thought it was worth, and it resulted in her company’s not only being the publisher of a New York Times #1 bestseller, it also led to its publishing two subsequent #1 bestsellers written by me. Thus, the bottom line was that I did Fawcett an unintended favor by making them aware of my book before other publishers discovered it.

Over the years, Leona and I often joked about my using a pseudonym when I first contacted her, and, to say the least, she was happy that I had made her aware of my book. In retrospect, of course, things might have worked out about the same if I had used my real name, but, in any event, no harm, no foul.

Which brings me back to the infamous John Miller. The bottom line is that if that really is Trump’s voice on the telephone posing as “John Miller,” my advice to him is that he should laugh it off and respond with something to the effect of, “Oh, yeh, I did a lot of stuff like that when I was a young man. No big deal.” Next subject. (Of course, an admission is a bit more problematic now that he has denied he posed as John Miller.)

Unless you have a witchlike cackle like Hillary, I find that waving things aside with a chuckle is the best way to handle non-issues like this. It’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

On a broader scale, my advice to DT is to learn to zip the lip. It’s much easier to talk yourself into trouble than out of it. As the Hate Trump crowd continues to perform media colonoscopies on DT, he would do well to learn to make light of their petty discoveries, keep it brief, and move on.

Isn’t it amazing that, by contrast, in more than eight years in office, the media has resisted digging into Barack Obama’s past — a past that is just a tad suspect, to put it mildly — but the Washington Post now finds it so important to find out about every detail of Donald Trump’s past that it has assigned twenty reporters to the task?

As Chris Plante so often says, it’s great to be a Democrat, isn’t it?

ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author who has appeared on numerous national radio and television shows, including The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, ABC Nightline, The Charlie Rose Show, as well as Fox News and Fox Business. His books include Million Dollar Habits: 10 Simple Steps to Getting Everything You Want in Life and To Be or Not to Be Intimidated?: That is the Question 

To sign up for a free subscription to his mind-expanding daily insights, visit www.robertringer.com.
Copyright © 2015 Robert Ringer


  1. That's my thought as well. Trump's tactic is not uncommon for marketing people. Although Trump is not accused of this, it's also common for companies to write their own coverage in trade magazines. Back in the '90s, I was asked to write up something on a software product we were producing as a reference to help someone from a trade organization who was "writing" an article on our product. Other than a couple of paragraphs being moved around, the published article was word-for-word what I had written.

    Marketers will also sell products -- without actually taking money -- just to gauge the interest if the product were created. That's a Tim Ferriss technique. Create a web site, take the customer all the way down to the final step, then issue an error. All this to see if your product idea would sell.

    There are lots of "gray-area" tactics marketers use. Not exactly outright immoral, but "white lie" territory.