By Taylor Kass
For those who have been following the 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump’s rise in the polls has been… unprecedented for someone with no experience of holding public office, especially one who refuses to takes donations from massive corporations. Trump even describes his opponents as “puppets” of their donors.
Now there comes a big question: if Trump is so against business interfering with politics, then why are mass media holdings, with many intertwined business links to Corporate America, constantly making him the face of their programming?
Trump even answered this question himself: “They love me!” The they is the media, and politically-orientated news stations such as Fox News and CNN have just posted some of their best quarters in years. CNN’s primetime ratings are up 47%. Why is this so? Trump. Heck, over half of the individuals currently reading this article probably would never have watched the two Republican Party debates if Trump hadn’t been present. Trump has made politics fun to watch. Personally, I used to watch Saturday Night Live when I’d get home from school, but now Trump speeches tend to take up a vast majority of my free time.
If you notice the framework of television programming on political talk shows, Trump’s actions are not brought up at the end of the program, rather at the beginning, sometimes as Breaking News. This is a strategy media companies use to suck viewers into the program, rather than change the channel, and with a candidate as controversial as Trump and the past statements he’s made, it’s no wonder viewers stay tuned in.
In debates, and in interviews, Trump always accuses moderators of asking him “unfair” questions. The fact of the matter is that these questions being asked of him are more challenging to answer given the policies he has listed he will pursue if elected President of the United States. However, from the media’s perspective, these questions are gold. When the first Republican debate aired on Fox News, the opening question was, of course, aimed at Donald Trump and asked if any Republican candidate would consider running as a third-party candidate if not nominated by the Party. Guess who raised their hand? Donald J. Trump. Reflecting upon this one question and how it impacted viewership, that evening, Fox News posted a record viewership of 24 million people. Don’t tell me the man with the hair didn’t have a role to play in influencing that number.
Overall, I personally believe the links between media companies and Corporate America will be too much for mass media to continue portraying Trump in the spotlight as the date for the 2016 Elections nears. For the moment, business and share prices are looking great and will likely continue to climb as more candidates drop out and the ones left standing become stronger, leading to more vibrant debates and even higher ratings.