When contestants on a reality TV show get dumped, they’re still under contract to the show, the producers, the network.  Those contestants may not be in the game any longer, but they’ll behave themselves – they make the talk show rounds, say nice things about other contestants or the host, and generally play ball with the scripted narrative.

They do this because – aside from having signed away most of their rights when they decided to appear on the show – they see their role in the drama as a viable career option.  They parlay their brush with fame into appearances, commercials, or keynote speeches. It’s a potential money train that they know they’d be foolish to get off, no matter how badly they were (apparently) treated under the TV lights.

In the real world, those rules don’t apply.  When government officials are fired or resign, they’re no longer bound by anything resembling a network contract.  They’re free to tell the truth about what went on behind the scenes, or share personal insights that were prohibited when they held their position.

This is the tactical error that our current president is making. Firing career government employees because they don’t support his narrative demonstrates his inability to discern between reality television and reality.

When you fire a contestant on your reality show, they still talk nice about you.  When you fire someone in the real world, they’re under no obligation to do so, and quite often will do exactly the opposite.