2016 Election, Donald Trump, Elections, NewsEdge

Trump run creating problems for media


Real estate billionaire and reality TV star Donald Trump has been called a lot of things: a fake, a cancer and even “the clown prince of slime.”

imagesYet his supporters, 24 percent of Republican voters in one poll, have a different term for Trump – refreshing.

Trump’s reputation as a “straight talker” in a field of more experienced politicians reflects how fed up Americans are with the image-based, curated status quo of American politics.

It may also be the reason Trump’s standing in the polls remained unchanged even after a punishing debate hosted on Fox News, which, until the debate, had given Trump the lion’s share of political coverage (about five hours since May 1, Media Matters reported, compared to other GOP front-runners like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker, who each got just shy of two hours).

But ironically, Fox News’ hard-nosed line of questioning marked perhaps the first time a media outlet has truly taken Trump seriously as a candidate.

Other news outlets like The New York Times, Politico and the Poynter Institute applauded Fox’s grilling of Trump, and the debate earned Fox an unprecedented 24 million viewers – more viewers than Jon Stewart’s final “Daily Show” episode (3.5 million), or last year’s MLB World Series or this year’s NBA Finals games.

More than a political anomaly, Trump seems to be a media anomaly as well – his adept use of social media to communicate his message has given him an edge in the polls and forced the media that intended to treat him as a joke to pay strict attention.

Poynter Institute professor and media ethicist Robert Steele says the media spotlight on Trump distracts from issues that matter to voters and discussion of where candidates stand on hot-button issues like abortion, same-sex marriage or health care.

“We see the soft underbelly of the democratic process when we have a candidate like Donald Trump. More media outlets should be holding him accountable for what he says,” Steele said. “The unfortunate thing is that his wandering circus act is drawing attention away from other candidates and discussion about substantive issues.”

Steele says the gap between the public’s approval of an unconventional candidate and some of the media’s efforts to marginalize him are dangerous for both the future of the American government and the media that cover it. It’s not about whether or not Trump could win the White House – the issue lies with the media not telling the American public why he perhaps shouldn’t.

The media have traditionally played a significant role in vetting and cross-examining candidates about issues that matter to families, but Trump has managed to hijack that process. Trump has used social media and the fact that the media haven’t, until now, taken him seriously to escape the kind of scrutiny that would likely end the campaigns of more typical candidates.

A perfect example of that happened recently at a press conference where Univision journalist Jorge Ramos directly questioned Trump on his stance on immigration and was quickly kicked out.

“What’s interesting is that if you ask him to flesh anything out, he has very little to offer,” Media Matters vice president Angelo Carusone said. “Instead of questioning that, the media ignore it almost entirely. They’d never let other candidates get away with that.”

Losing control

Some experts think that Fox’s hostility toward Trump on debate night grew partly out of anger over how little control the media have in how they cover his campaign. Because of his celebrity and media acumen, Trump has wrested control of his image away from the media in a way that traditional political candidates could only dream of, Carusone said.

“Because of the brand he’s built over decades, (the media) know that if they pass on Trump, their competitors will pick him up, and they want viewers,” Carusone said. “If you’re a typical politician, you don’t get to control your brand in the same way. You can manage it, but you can’t control it.”

Carusone says control of coverage is a game Trump has mastered, and it shows in the coverage he now gets.

“If you watch the coverage, he doesn’t give many live interviews. They’re either always on the phone or they’re often at Trump headquarters – you can see the escalators in the background,” Carusone said. “They wouldn’t tolerate that from other candidates and it just reinforces how he’s manufacturing his presence according to his needs, not theirs.”

That’s worrisome for news outlets, Rolling Stone’s Jeb Lund wrote, because the media have rarely encountered a candidate so unbeholden to either the political system or traditional media coverage as Trump – basically, because he can afford to speak and act as he pleases.

“There is no one to yank the chain and threaten to starve him of funds if he lashes out at other candidates receiving those same billionaires’ checks,” Lund wrote. “There’s no one to bring him to heel when he threatens to run an independent campaign and siphon away Republican votes and let the Democratic nominee take the election in a walk.”

Trump is essentially a preview of the future of politics, New York Iona College political scientist Jeanne Zaino says, and the media don’t like it. Gone are the days when political candidates needed the attention of the news media alone to gain notoriety – Trump initially got his message out via Twitter and entertainment media. But when early polls reported Trump led the pack of 17 GOP candidates, the press was forced to pay closer attention, says Zaino.

“Even 12 years ago, candidates were dependent on major networks to get their name out there,” Zaino said. “With the growth of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we’re seeing a wholesale change in how word gets out, and the networks are playing catch-up on how to do this when the candidates can dictate what their coverage will be.”

While Trump rails against journalists like Fox’s Megyn Kelly and the media rushes to cover the latest Twitter tantrum, little attention is paid to his stance on issues that typically define candidates.

Take abortion, for example. One of the only times to date Trump was asked his position while in Iowa, he said he’s pro-life because the concept of abortion “really, really bothers me.”

In his ejecting of Univision’s Ramos, again, Trump also sidestepped an issue of significance for many Americans.

“By initially refusing to respond to Ramos, Trump was avoiding answers to pressing questions keeping millions of people up at night,” CNN’s Rudy Ruiz wrote.

The Poynter Institute’s James Warren contends that journalists have nothing to gain in not taking Trump seriously. Warren argued in a recent column that the fact that Trump resonates with so many Americans is precisely why his campaign warrants, at the very least, fair coverage to be balanced with his fellow candidates.

“Something of (this) sort happened long ago with some guys who were actually professional actors and were similarly disparaged. They, too, could have been journalistically segregated long ago as not meeting some arbitrary test of seriousness and legitimacy,” Warren warned. “You do remember Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, don’t you?”

Correcting the path

Steele says the media need to correct their course quickly in their approach to Trump if they hope to help America choose its next best leader. The problem with much of the media coverage to date is that too much attention is paid simply to what Trump says – not whether or not it’s true, Steele says.

“There has not been enough coverage that holds (Trump) accountable for what he says, his factual accuracy as well as the disparaging remarks he makes about others,” Steele said.

It may be difficult for reporters to trace the accuracy of some of Trump’s bombastic opinions, such as when he called Sen. John McCain a “loser” and said McCain “was no war hero” despite surviving a Vietnamese POW camp. But for other issues, like Trump’s controversial take on immigration, Carusone says accuracy matters a great deal, especially for voters who are maybe on the fence about Trump’s legitimacy. Trump has broadly characterized undocumented Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists, as well as accusing them of bringing unspecified “tremendous infectious disease” across the border into the U.S.

“Fast-forward to a year from now when immigration is back on the table and someone brings up the infectious disease myth – now we have to tackle this problem with that idea in our head,” Carusone said. “Once misinformation is injected into regular conversation, it just makes cutting to the main issue that much harder.”

USC Annenberg political communication professor Thomas Hollihan also worries Trump’s outlandish comments and style may alienate more voters than he stands to bring in.

“Trump is a product of a couple of decades of campaigning that appeals to these negative feelings about the government,” Hollihan said. “It turns some people away from interest in politics or it leads people to vote with the candidate offering the most emphatic ‘No’ in lieu of a firm strategy (to fix that nation’s problems).”

In the wake of the Fox News debate, some news outlets have taken a more balanced approach in dealing with Trump. When Trump released a 1,900-word policy paper outlining his approach to immigration reform recently, CNN posted a lengthy breakdown of the document alongside a story that quoted Trump as telling someone, “I am Batman” on the campaign trail.

Trump’s redefining of his immigration policy could be an indication that he recognizes that the press has not, before now, largely taken him seriously. Trump all but admitted he released the paper in response to media pressure in a speech made to reporters in Iowa.

“I think the press is more eager to see (the policy paper) than the voters, to be honest,” Trump said. “I don’t think the people care. I think they trust me. I think they know I’m going to make good deals for them.”

As Trump’s campaign and the coverage of it races toward the GOP nomination, the American people will have to see which version of Trump emerges: The billionaire oaf comparing himself to a superhero, or the Republican outsider whose brand of straight talk is the antidote many Americans seek to the political status quo.

“The media need to find their footing and not just report what Trump and all the candidates say, but analyze what’s said as well,” Zaino said. “Our democracy depends on it.”

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: ChandraMJohnson

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  • don allen

    whats new, american people are about fed up with the normal run of day politics………..

  • richoldsky

    Trump is smarter than the author of this article or his co-horts. He seems his mind and the Mdp not like it.

  • Wm Layer

    What a hoot. Discuss “substantive issues”? The last coherent candidate with a vision was Ronald Reagan, it’s been pious bilge ever since. The Dems can’t discuss abortion cogently, nor that Roe v. Wade was a distortion of the 14th Amendment, legal magic that like the homosexual marriage nonsense eliminated the 10th Amendment and thereby the right of the people to govern themselves. Trump has touched a nerve by opposing the 3d world invasion of the US, an invasion created by the Democratic Party in cahoots with Chamber of Commerce stooge Republicans.

  • George Cahonna

    OH CRAP!! …Now, will the Big Slime News Media start telling it the way it really is? Nope, my bet bet they try to get rid of Trump anyway they can…..Then business as usual…

  • Ernie Di Francesco

    Now the RINO’s have media matters working for them? I’m with George Cahonna, they’ll try anything to get rid of Trump. Can’t deal with him head to head. All POS’s.

    • dan9el

      Let’s start this way;….we all know that DNC and RNC/GOP are virtually the same thing….they constitute what we can call,…. ‘The Washingtonians Corruptocrats’

      Actually, not only Media Matters is a pro-RINO there are others plaes that they chant themselves as real conservative pro-american public,…but they are not,..they are infected with….Protectors / helpers / surrogates / worshipers of the so called ‘president’ (Mr Barack Obama) they are are disguised as ‘moderators’ working in blog-sites preventing, erasing, removing, blocking any comment serious enough to promote investigation and research among readers,…and as result the American public will learn the insidious reality of the current administration.

      You see, the government does not want the public get information for they know that the less informed masses are the easier to manipulate those masses will be.

      This is what is happening at GRETAWIRE as well as at FOXNATION,….yes from FOX News Agency….anyone out there surprised?….also, POLITICO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER. the PAC, including NEWSMAX, ….sites supposedly to be ‘free speech’ at least and / or conservatives and pro-American public,….they are infected with current administration ‘special agents’

      And do not let me start ( I will not ) with the obvious, the tv tabloids (MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN 1&2, ABC, CBS, NBA….and the rest)….in addition to The New York Times, Washington Post and some others.

      ‘THE GUARDIAN’ – this one from England -….is also – obviously- guarding the back of Barack Obama and his associates…..it would by not difficult to think that they are getting very well paid for that ‘service’

      Bottom line is a web of manure all over the place , every day, at any time given.

      Input anyone?

  • dan9el

    Trump , a troublemaker for the mainstream media…the media that hide things from the public about Obama so the American public does not get informed and so they vote like mindless zombies?…..that media?…well, yes Trump is driving them nuts alright.

    Let’s be simple on this.

    For Donald Trump a lot of euphoria there is…just like the euphoria for Mr Obama back in 2007 and 2008;….the difference is that Trump is a patriot working an fighting hard to recover the strength of our country,…. and Obama is a foreign implant from Mombasa-Kenya unconstitutionally, and so illegally occupying the presidential platform here ( a fraud) facilitating in the agenda of destruction (from within) of our country…..so Trump is not a mirror image of Obama,….not in billion or gazillion years.

    This is out there ; –
    Trump tops GOP rankings

    First ; – The american public is getting aware by the hour that Donald Trump is not a republican from the GOP RINO-camp….he is out there as a man from teh american people, not fear to say the reality as it is,…..liberals(libertines)-democrats and their sold-out RINO republicans associated do not like it a bit….and now and for the rest of time in the planet, they will blow out of proportion any minuscule detail in the attempt to make the man looks bad….but the american public is not going to buy this one…they (we) need a solid serious and fearless true-core american for presidential platform and so far the only one out there doing this is Donald Trump….the rest are faking it.

    In others words, Mr Trump is not really a republican,…not like those RINOS out there – (from the GOP) -…he is a true-core American representative…he a man from the people,…this man is a real-core American patriot….just like Sarah Palin – which is hate by the rancid GOP just as well….these two true-solid americans are very similar,….no compromises, no fine print, no pretenses,…shouting, and shooting the truth , flat out….and democrats and sold-out RINO-type republicans do not like it.

    Here is the thing;…

    ‘THE WASHINGTONIANS CORRUPTOCRATS’ are the political amalgamate of liberal-democrats and RINO-type republicans there in Washington right now;… only and only talking / expanded time/ doing nothing whatsoever, – in others words, ‘politics as always’-, while the american public suffers the result of lack of leadership and unconstitutional actions of the current administration.

    Of course nothing is happening in benefit of the people, ‘politics as always’ still at full throttle…they still wasting time and money , just pretending , trying to fool once again the american public.

    The 2010 vote did not serve the desired expectations -(a number of RINO’s were elected),…similar did happen on 2014.

    By now , the american public is well aware about what is going on with the current administration, – their roots, they agenda,tendencies and purposes.

    The Obama regime understands that their days are counting backwards at fast pace, and so, they will try to do as most injure possible with the time at hand.

    RNC/GOP is a weak organization not able to carry the needs of the American public,….just walk with me, if you will;…..

    We should not and cannot expect the GOP ( the rancid GOP establishment) be able to produce a candidate powerful enough to defeat Hillary Clinton for presidency.

    The internal battle they have for power makes all of them weak,…no matter how good the public (and themselves)think any of them are

    Quite frankly, if everyone out there look and analyzes closely and carefully , soon it will come to realization that the GOP is not prepared to issue a true-core authentic people’s candidate that represents any Joe and Jane in the American public.

    One thing is crystal clear, the GOP does not have anyone to win over Hillary Clinton (or any other representative from the liberal-democrat spectrum- whichever that one may be), for what the rancid sold-out establishment organization is offering to the american public is just nothing…..potential presidential republican contenders are just a bunch of RINOs….are they not?

    However, in the middle of all this manure going strong for the American public – not for the conventional RINO type establishment – there is Donald Trump….and so the GOP rancid establishment is not quite happy with him…the RINOs do not like him at all, not a bit….do they?

    So, bottom line,…. Donald Trump is not only on top-ranking in the GOP – [ against the rancid establishment GOP ] is also on top-ranking with the american people for the man is, just like Gov Sarah Palin, fighting for the country,….the man – Trump – is side by side, one from / of / for the american people;….and is so happens that the american public see an understand this very well.

    Input anyone?

    • Gary D Flatt


      • dan9el

        100 % and plus affirmative.

        The american public is getting aware by the hour that Donald Trump is not a republican from the GOP RINO-camp….he is out there as a man from the american people, not fear to say the reality as it is,…..liberals(libertines)-democrats and their sold-out RINO republicans associated do not like it a bit….and now and for the rest of time in the planet, they will blow out of proportion any minuscule detail in the attempt to make the man looks bad….but the american public is not going to buy this one…they (we) need a solid serious and fearless true-core american for presidential platform and so far the only one out there doing this is Donald Trump….the rest are faking it.

        This is out there – RE ; – [ Why Donald Trump Is Leading The Republican Field? ]

        Well, this is very simple to understand.

        First, the GOP is not quite solid bastion in favour of the american public, for the DNC and the GOP are virtually the same thing.
        Both sectors are an amalgamate of corrupted politicians embarked in their very own special selfish interests that once they get elected?…. promises made, are easily forgotten…..meaning?…’politics as always’

        Donald Trump just as Sarah Palin too, represents rejection of the chronic ‘staus quo’ of politics as always.,…where the american public , and our country needs, falls into second level of importance after every election.

        The GOP old rancid establishment wants Trump out….starting with (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus .

        And so there goes Cruz, Perry,….and everyone in between teaming along with the main stream ultra-obamanized media holding and blowing out of proportion what the man said about McCain.

        As result of Donald Trump run for presidency , not only Perry, Bush,Cruz,…but everyone else is terrified inside the GOP.

        Donald Trump is quite solid about everything;..he is under severe attack – ( and it will continue that way, quite beyond 2016 elections) – due to the fact the man is telling the truth flat out, without fear of any kind….liberal (libertines) – democrats and their associates sold-out RINOs republicans, resent to be confronted with reality;….evidently there is a sense of frustration, and infuriated they get when facing even a fraction of the truth so eagerly they try to evade,…. and so, they deny it….pretending, that if they do not see it…or run from it , it just simply does not exist.

        And here is a thing that seems to be eluding everyone out there;….

        Mr Trump is not really a republican,…not like those RINOS out there – (from the GOP) -…he is a true-core American representative…he a man from the people,…this man is a real-core American patriot….just like Sarah Palin – which is hate by the rancid GOP just as well….these two true-solid americans are very similar,….no compromises, no fine print, no pretenses,…shouting, and shooting the truth , flat out….and democrats and sold-out RINO-type republicans do not like it.

        This is also out there;



        And so, views out there are dime a dozen,,,,quite frankly nobody know what the future may bring….however;…..

        Someone out there did suggest ; – “Sarah Palin had Obama pegged from the start. She and Trump holds similar views.”

        The GOP and DNC are virtually the same thing.

        Donald Trump is a threat to the rancid GOP..so..just like Sarah Palin,…truth is told and so the rancid GOP establishment does not like it.

        We need leaders that are pro-people, like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump…they both tell the truth flat out, without an iota of fear….only Trump is the only on out there so far;….should Sarah Palin would join efforts with Trump?….,that is a quite solid presidential combination where all of us can count on , for it is a full pro-USA american people approach.

        If Donald Trump wants to have solid vice-president partner there is nobody better than Gov Sarah Palin…..perhaps, he may / will consider that powerful option.

        On that presidential proposal the american public can count on …..we, the patriots, can vote on that ticket and the restoration of our great country will start.

        Input anyone?

  • Mike O’Mara

    You seriously need a professional fact checker for this article. For example, ‘Trump has broadly characterized undocumented Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists, as well as accusing them of bringing unspecified “tremendous infectious disease” across the border into the U.S.’

    Both halves of this statement have been confirmed over and over again. The illegal aliens are sweetly being renamed undocumented immigrants for the purposes of this story. Some of the illegals are criminals by virture of their lifelong history and habits. Barely a week passes that someone is not murdered and or raped and or robbed and or beaten by these wonderful additions to our communities. They were drug dealers, rapists and criminals before they came here and remained so after arrival. At one point Cuba, Mexico and points south released prisoners, psych patients and other undesirables on our borders with clear discriptions of what would befall them if they tried to return. As for the much more acceptable undocumented immigrants, they became criminals by illegally crossing the border which includes the fact they are entering America from third world countries without the medical clearance that is required of documented immigrants. In 2014 the increase of illness and death brought by these people and compounded by Obama shipping them to every state in the contiguous United States so disturbed the CDC that they ignored a “white house order” telling them not to release the reports of disease and death broken down by state and referenced by the number of illegals obama had shipped to each location still without medical care. The rate of deaths and illnesses was markedly increased and included several diseases the had previously either been wiped out in America or had never existed here proior to the illegals arrival. The majority of these deaths and illnesses were American children. After about 2 weeks I was unable to bring up the report on line anymore but I did and still do have copies of it. The other issue is the total failure of the lame stream media to do any veting at all of Obama in 2008. They did that by choice and not only because they thought Obama was the greatest thing since sliced bread but in actual fact they had ceased vetting candidates prior to that because they were insulted by the publics failure to follow the media’s enlightened guidence on how to cast their vote. Carusone may say accuracy matters a great deal, for voters now but it wasn’t a very big issue for the media in the years just prior to Obama and continuing up to the present. People are so sick of politicians, media personalities and media outlets that if those groups are looking for a showdown to regain lost glory they will be crushed. I think Trump will dominate this election. There is only two ways he won’t win. The most probable threat is Obama not allowing the election to happen at all. He has made all preperations to do this and is setting the stage for it now. If he manages to impose any more gun control you can depend on that being your biggest story of 2016. The other way Trump doesn’t win is by getting tired of this childish game that we play, takes his ball and goes home. Obama has rubbed our faces in the reality that our voice and wishes are meaningless so long as some clown who won’t even identify himself has a pen and a cell phone. Congress! I don’t need no stinkin congress!

  • eagle keeper

    The establishment GOP is in the same boat as the DNC. They are both threatened by Trump. He is clearly not afraid to stand up and shake the boat. Which needs to be shaken. If we are to have any success as a republic we need to rid D.C. of all these old windbags that carve out a place in the house and senate and vegetate for years not caring for what is truly going on in the country. They are so out of the loop with main street they forgot long ago what they were elected to do in the first place. Instead of the same old gridlock when someone is elected and has to fight tooth and nail to get anything meaningful passed, why not start with a winning team for all of us? Trump just might be what we need at this point in our history.

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