Cable TV Has a Disturbing Love Affair With Donald Trump

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Back in June, there was a legitimate question about whether Donald Trump deserved significant news coverage. Today there isn’t. He’s been leading the polls for the Republican presidential nomination for months, and that makes him news no matter what crazy stuff he says.

There is, however, still a legitimate question about whether TV news networks are actively aiding Trump by giving him more attention than he deserves. Jim Tankersley points us to the 2016 Campaign Television Tracker for data on this point, and their database tells us that Trump has gotten 47 percent of all TV mentions among Republican candidates since he announced in June. Marco Rubio has gotten 6 percent. It’s fair that Trump gets more than Rubio, but rather plainly he shouldn’t be getting that much more.

So who’s responsible for this? The chart on the right shows mentions over the past week. Fox News mentioned Trump 452 times, but the biggest guns by far were CNN and MSNBC, who apparently have serious Trump obsessions. CNN mentioned him 1,375 times and MSNBC mentioned him 1,484 times. Why? Mostly because they just cover politics more extensively. CNN’s mentions of all candidates over the past week were roughly 2x Fox’s, and MSNBC clocked in at nearly 4x.

As for Trumpmania, CNN is by far the biggest offender. Both Fox and MSNBC have given Trump about half of all Republican mentions over the past week. CNN has given him 70 percent. They’ve all but quit covering the other candidates entirely. Needless to say, this has gone beyond mere reporting and is now edging toward outright advocacy. This kind of coverage is obviously a huge benefit for Trump.

Does anyone do this kind of analysis for major print media? I’d be fascinated to know if Trump love is mostly a TV phenomenon, or if it’s a more general media phenomenon.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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