Donald Trump’s Mysterious Control of the Media

Donald Trump (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Some mystical power forces the corporate media to cover Donald Trump.

In the New York Times today:

But White House officials concluded about a month ago that the falsehoods had moved from “the nether regions of the Internet” into the mainstream political arena, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mr. Trump, the real estate developer and reality television host who has used the issue as a media magnet.

Dan Balz of the Washington Post elaborated on the PBS NewsHour:

I mean, I think that the press probably does bear some responsibility for this but there’s no question that what Donald Trump had done over the last month, in bringing this issue back to the forefront, at a time when I think most people thought it had been pretty well settled politically, not that–not that there wasn’t still some controversy, but that, for the most part, this wasn’t a live issue.

But Donald Trump helped to make it a live issue. And all the press coverage attendant to that, some of it aimed at debunking what Donald Trump was saying, nonetheless contributed to this atmosphere.

“Issues” are not brought “to the forefront” and made a “live issue” by some series of accidents, or the physical properties of magnets. Media outlets make decisions about what to cover. In Balz’s world, Trump started talking and the press simply had to cover it. Trump didn’t make anything a “live issue”–people who have television stations and newspapers decided to treat him as if he is a serious person.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.