There is a certain irony in the fact that president of the United States Donald Trump is throwing money at his greatest opponents.
And his opponents, as he himself stated, are the media, and although Trump is continuously quarreling with the press, calling them “enemy of the people”, “the opposition party”, the fact is that media outlets he attacks the most, “New York Times” and “CNN”, made a ton of money thanks to Trump.
Mr. Trump has been very good for news organisations— and there lies the reason why the media is “obsessed” with Trump.
As the reporter Nithin Coca, disappointed by being not able to sell his story about Indonesia elections to the U.S. media, described it, the American media are „Trump, Trump, Trump, all the time“.
This is best illustrated with the timeline below that shows the total percentage of airtime (as measured in 15-second intervals) of the combined CNN, MSNBC and Fox News daily coverage from June 2009 (the starting point of the data) that mentioned “Trump” or “Obama” (using data from the GDELT Project’s processing of the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive).
As one can see, Trump’s first major bump came in spring 2011 when he publicly toyed with the idea of running for president. The mere idea of Donald Trump in the Oval Office was enough to propel news interest in him to levels equal to those of then-President Obama. Bumps in December 2011 and May 2012 similarly reflected a media obsessed with Trump’s rising political clout.
Yet, his meteoric rise to the stratosphere came about almost overnight, when he announced his candidacy for president on June 16, 2015. In the weeks after his announcement, the three television channels paid more attention to him than they did Obama’s re-election race in all of 2012.
In the three years since, coverage of Trump fell substantively only once, in November 2015, before Trump reignited interest with his controversial “Muslim ban.” Within days he was a media sensation again.
In the lead-up to the November 2016 election, Trump’s media coverage was more than double that of Obama’s re-election campaign coverage.
But there is a problem with this amount of coverage, bizarre, strange and odd news stories are bound to pop up, and Trump is right when he sees himself as a ‘victim’ of media coverage that creates constant din of news bombshells breaking around his White House.
CNN has become a platform for nonstop coverage of the Trump White House, and the reason for this is very simple. Trumps is making them money. CNN is not obsessed with Trump, they are obsessed with ratings, and Trump gives them ratings.
Best proof for that is CNN’s behaviour in 2014. when their coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 led to widespread derision and critique of the network. Their nonstop coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was ridiculed by critics, media watchers and even President Barack Obama, but CNN got their ratings.
In 2014. data from three different analytics systems, combined with overnight TV ratings, told CNN to double down on the missing airliner. The intense coverage paid off.
“I think that if people want to be critical of CNN for over-covering a story, that’s totally fine with us,” CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker told Mashable in 2014.
“Clearly, the audience has spoken and said that what CNN did was correct.”
When Trump entered political arena, CNN used their proven recipe once again.
They over-covered Trump and 2016 represents the most-watched year ever for CNN. That was the year he won the Election.
The same year, New York Times that President Donald Trump regularly calls “failing”, had its most subscribers ever.
New York Times saw its biggest jump in digital subscriptions since it started seeing a “Trump bump” — a boost in interest in its publication after Trump’s election. The Times’ share price has more than doubled since Trump became president.
The recipe is simple, Trump brings in the readers.
He is probably the most “googled” person on earth, and the news organizations aim to ride ‘Trump Bump’ to reach larger audiences and advertisers.
In 2016. Trump earned the distinction of being the top-trending person in 88 countries in 2016, far more places than anyone else in the world, according to data Google provided to TIME, and the people ‘s interest in Trump is still high.
In 2018. Russia-related news were among top three topics that received the greatest spikes of interest from Google users, together with government shutdown, and The National Anthem saga.
There lies the reason why the media is obsessed with Trump, whether they like him or hate him, the fact is that Trump is making them money.
However, their excessive coverage has taken their toll. It is hard to stay relevant, and sometimes news organizations are turning to absurdities, conspiracy theories, and alternative facts.
And, if you throw the “negativity bias” in the mix, it will be clear why the coverage of Trump is mostly negative.
Media exaggerates negative news because people have collective hunger to hear, and remember bad news.
It is simple, bad news get more engagement. This has led to the point that journalists are denounced at political rallies, trolled on social media, and subjected to racist and misogynistic taunts.
While, thanks to Trump, many news outlets enjoyed the strongest ratings ever, the price some of them they had to pay for their constant negative coverage is that they have found themselves under fire by Donald Trump who calls them “enemy of the people, purveyors of fake news, a failing institution“.
This has led to the point that journalists are denounced at political rallies, trolled on social media, and subjected to racist and misogynistic taunts.
However, in a capitalist system, the product is dictating behavior, and journalists are merely selling their audience what they want.
It’s just money, nothing personal, Mr. Trump.