Donald Trump has been great for the American media. He brings in the eyeballs, with everyone waiting to see what crazy/offensive/racist/sexist/ignorant thing he will say next.
It’s estimated that if Trump had to pay for all the free coverage the media has given him, he would have been out $2 billion.
All of this free advertising enabled him to dominate his opponents in coverage, and in today’s world more coverage means more views, more views means more power, and more power means more votes.
So what’s this all about? If you guessed money, you would be correct. Much of the media is struggling financially, and Trump’s power to bring in viewers – and thus raise ad revenue – is a huge lifeline for them. The problem is that in the pursuit of more profit, the media has now played a role in elevating Trump to a position where he is one of two people who can become the most powerful leader in the world.
The quote that adorns the title of this article is from Leslie Moonves, CBS Executive Chairman and CEO. Moonves admitted quite openly that, while he knows Trump is bad for America, he’s more interested in all the money Trump brings in.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Moonves had this to say about Trump while speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco: “Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”
It may have been fun for a while, but now the money has been made. Now it’s real. If the American media keeps seeing Trump as a money making machine, they could make it easier for him to become President, with all the enormous damage and consequences that could entail.
It might be asking too much, but it’s time for the American media to – at least when it comes to Trump – put money aside and render a real service to the public by holding potential leaders to account. The prospect of Trump becoming President is disturbing, and the whole world is watching. It’s time for the media to take it seriously.
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Photo credit: Jamelle Bouie (Flickr) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/