Donald? Donald Who?

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes about a Jeff Zucker gathering with reporters and one subject worth noting came up…

Does CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker feel responsible for the rise of Donald Trump?

“I don’t, because he has been the front-runner of the Republican party since he announced last June,” said Zucker during an intimate lunch meeting with reporters today. Just as Hillary Clinton got the lion’s share of attention in the Democratic race early on, “the front-runner of the party is always going to get a disproportionate amount of attention,” he said.


Well, there’s disproportionate and then there’s totally “whacked out of balance even a blind man can see it” disproportionate…

Exhibit A: This chart courtesy of The New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish from a few days ago

NYT Chart

Mr. Trump earned $400 million worth of free media last month, about what John McCain spent on his entire 2008 presidential campaign. Paul Senatori, mediaQuant’s chief analytics officer, says that Mr. Trump “has no weakness in any of the media segments” — in other words, he is strong in every type of earned media, from television to Twitter.

The chart isn’t broken out via method or media distribution so we don’t know how much of this is just cable news but it does underscore just how out of whack Trump’s free media accumulation is compared to everyone else.

But back to Zucker…

Zucker also says Trump “has been much more available than many of the others who have been or are still in the race. Just because he says ‘yes’ and has subjected himself to those interviews, and [other candidates] don’t, I’m not going to penalize him for saying ‘yes.’”

This is somewhat disingenuous because Zucker is making a carve out for the number of appearances he’s made on their air vs. the amount of CNN’s rundown has been spent talking about Trump and his…ahem…”policies”. It’s one thing to say that candidate A has made themselves more available than anyone else. That’s somewhat fair, though it does raise the question about journalistic self-modulation; in other words CNN’s ability to figure out whether there’s actually news value to be had by all those appearances or whether it’s more akin to just giving him a platform to do whatever. But it’s something else entirely to not discuss whether CNN has been covering Trump more than other candidates because he generates ratings…which is tantamount to abdicating its editorial responsibility to filter out the chaffe from the substance.

It would be unfair to just single out CNN for scrutiny. All the cable nets have gone off kilter on Trump well beyond merely treating him as the frontrunner. They all lack self-restraint and they all have lept headlong over the line that divides cable news between the honorable role of information provider to the purely gratuitous realm of entertainment provider.

And nobody brought up the subject of Countdown Clock overkill to Zucker? Shame…


4 Responses to “Donald? Donald Who?”

  1. Outsider Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t Fox get most of the blame? Wasn’t it F&F that made him a regular guest after Trump made his ‘Birther’ comments? And then Greta got into the habit of inviting him onto her show frequently? Isn’t Fox the channel with the most pro-Trump opinion hosts and contributors?
    TV news in America is practically non-existent. Like I’ve said before, a proper public broadcaster is needed or a regulator that will enforce licensing rules will be the only way TV news will exist anywhere these days. Sky News has a live stream of their channel on YouTube. And what a sharp contrast to cable news in America. Sky is there to make profits too but doesn’t degrade itself like US cable news because they are licensed to do news and to deviate from that would breach the terms of the contract. The UK govt outlined their country’s budget today and you actually have a clear idea of what’s happening based on Sky’s reporting and analysis. The first report/package ran over 4 minutes before their other reporters covered other budget items. A total of 12 minutes. Again, Sky is privately-owned. And Brits regard Sky as below the BBC so I can’t even imagine what the BBC is doing on their domestic division for that story.

  2. I don’t get this Fox made Trump idea…..nobody knows Trump from his F&F appearances.

    Trump’s NBC show had anywhere from 28 to 8 million viewers based on the year….F&F is watched by what 1 million or so……never mind the fact that he also appeared on Morning Joe every week to hype his NBC show.

    I’ve seen charts that show he gets less coverage on Fox News than he does on MSNBC and CNN…..he’s the frontrunner so of course the republican opinion host and contributors would back him more over say Carson.

    I look forward to all the people who will be upset when in the general MOST of the MSNBC opinion host and contributions back the Dem nom over the Republican Nom…..but I won’t hold my breath.

    Opinion host are going to have opinions…………anybody shocked by that shouldn’t watch……for the most part I avoid most of Fox News (and the rest) opinion shows….always have and always will…..just not my thing.

    On the Government owned TV network….I wouldn’t want to think about the Bush or Trump administration programing my TV News. If you want Tax dollars to pay for it…..each admin will have a say……..not just the ones we like.

  3. Let’s also remember Trump was allowed by not just cable stations but regular broadcast news to call in to do interviews. No other candidate was allowed to do that until Trump made it a normal way of doing business. That was why Trump was not on Fox News Sunday for quite a while because Chris Wallace said no to telephone interviews unlike Chuck Todd, Georgie Porgie, John Dickerson, Jake Tapper.

  4. Trump was getting more coverage than everyone else before he was the frontrunner. So that’s an excuse.

    The media has always loved Donald Trump and they want him to win. That simple.

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