Massachusetts Daily Collegian

How the media inadvertently helps Trump’s campaign

By Bridget Higgins

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(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The general adult population is essentially divided between two slogans: “Make America Great Again” and “Never Trump.” While anti-Trump campaigns are trying to make a difference through Mitt Romney speeches and negative media coverage, Donald Trump is still leading the GOP pack and hurtling toward the Republican nomination.

Campaign spending and ads seem like a sure-fire way to get ahead in a political campaign. As of December, Donald Trump had only spent $217,000 on a wave of radio ads, whereas competitors like Jeb Bush dropped close to $28.9 million in the same period, according to the Washington Post. Outside of the other candidates, even the anti-Trump campaign has spent far more money than the billionaire himself. USA Today reported that a few groups are now spending several million dollars on ads against the candidate.

Good political advertisements can have the power to set candidates apart from one another. From that standpoint, one has to wonder why Donald Trump is the frontrunner despite a negligible amount of ad spending. The answer is quite simple: free media. Newspapers, magazines and tabloids—all of which are generally a part of the “establishment,” and therefore the anti-Trump field—have featured Donald Trump on their front pages more times than most other candidates during this election season.   

A March 7 Washington Post headline read “The Hitler-ification of Donald Trump”. The Huffington Post also published a piece called “Donald Trump Threatens Trump University Fraud Victims in New Video.” Even The New York Times wrote, “Donald Trump’s Message Resonates with White Supremacists.” None of these headlines were kind or supportive of Trump. Instead, they contained a completely expected bias against him.

This speaks to the breadth of the anti-Trump movement across the established press and political parties. Democrats despise Donald, conservatives fear his influence on the Republican party and newspapers are largely controlled by those bipartisan interests (think Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers). Dozens of established newspapers—including the Houston Chronicle, the Boston Globe, The New York Times, and the Las Vegas Sun—published editorials begging to stop Mr. Trump before he becomes President Trump.

However, many of these media outlets did not consider that they might be contributing to the growing possibility that Trump could win the presidency. This is because of the age-old concept that any publicity is good publicity… including bad publicity. Trump is constantly in the headlines, whether for saying he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. or just making thinly veiled comments in a debate about his privates. Trump thrives off controversy because it gets people to talk about him nearly all the time. Voters hear the name “Trump” so often that his name festers in their brains and can even result in a vote on a ballot for him. Why pay for advertisements when you can start a scandal that lands you on the front page for free?

This is the main mistake the media has made in dealing with Trump. Instead of trying to ignore what Trump says or does, newspapers, broadcast news and radio shows attempt to capitalize on his “mistakes.” The negative articles were meant to deter the American public; however, the only notable result was that Trump’s name was once again repeated in a headline. Trump is a businessman, after all—he knows how to market, even if he is selling himself as a candidate. The media has fallen into his trap, furthering Trump’s cause instead of their own “Never Trump” initiative.

Bridget Higgins is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

5 Comments

5 Responses to “How the media inadvertently helps Trump’s campaign”

  1. David Hunt 1990 on March 10th, 2016 4:10 pm

    It’s really very simple.

    The MSM really functions as the propaganda arm of the Democrats. They, in collusion, have decided that Trump’s negatives are so high he is the “best chance” for Hillary to win.

    Therefore, by giving Trump all the air time, driving all the political oxygen out of the room for everyone else, they are helping to elect the person they really want to win – Hillary.

  2. Bernie on March 10th, 2016 6:26 pm

    3/10/16, 3:35:18 PM: MMW: Donald Trump answers the question: What is 2+2?
    “I have to say a lot of people have been asking this question. No, really. A lot of people come up to me and they ask me. They say, ‘What’s 2+2’? And I tell them look, we know what 2+2 is. We’ve had almost eight years of the worst kind of math you can imagine. I can’t believe it. Addition and subtraction of the 1s the 2s and the 3s. It’s terrible. It’s just terrible. Look, if you want to know what 2+2 is, do you want to know what 2+2 is? I’ll tell you. First of all the number 2, by the way, I love the number 2. It’s probably my favorite number, no it is my favorite number. You know what, it’s probably more like the number two but with a lot of zeros behind it. A lot. If I’m being honest, I mean, if I’m being honest. I like a lot of zeros. Except for Marco Rubio, now he’s a zero that I don’t like. Though, I probably shouldn’t say that. He’s a nice guy but he’s like, ‘10101000101,’ on and on, like that. He’s like a computer! You know what I mean? He’s like a computer. I don’t know. I mean, you know. So, we have all these numbers, and we can add them and subtract them and add them. TIMES them even. Did you know that? We can times them OR divide them, they don’t tell you that, and I’ll tell you, no one is better at the order of operations than me. You wouldn’t believe it. So, we’re gonna be the best on 2+2, believe me.”

  3. rachel on March 10th, 2016 10:47 pm

    I think Trump is an expert manipulator of the media, he spent over a decade engaged with hollywood and understands marketing and he probably understands that the media is the best platform for marketing in the world because it reaches the most people and its free.

    That said I think the media largely has itself to blame; the headlines you mentioned “The Hitler-ification of Donald Trump”.or the other allegations against Donald Trump and the very obvious bias against him and from the beginning of his candidacy before any allegation emerged which casts a doubt on every allegation that has arisen as well as the fact these articles are one-sided. If you watch the interviews, the debates, you watch the rallies which are fully recorded and they are pretty normal and calm. Its nothing like the concern and wildness and violence and racism and nazi like aspects which are conveyed in the media and what readers or viewers might be led to believe.

    I say this not as a a supporter of trump but someone who is interested accurate reporting; for example in the donald trump stories its rarely two sided and I think there is alot of manipulation and deceit not only in reporting Donald Trump but the u.s presidential election and in the media generally. I don’t really take the media seriously anymore and I don’t think many people do either because its biased, uninformative, inaccurate, sensational. I and think like many people actually want to know what is happening in the news, want to know the truth and in this election actually want an informed, unbiased view of the candidates and the issues.

  4. Judy on March 11th, 2016 10:38 am

    A lot of us want to know WHAT WE CAN DO to stop Trump. As a Hillary supporter, I couldn’t disagree more with the first commenter. We do NOT want Trump as her opponent: Trump is the most manipulative, scary “politician” I’ve seen in my 63 plus years. It is simply too risky and he is too good at manipulating the media to get his way. I could live with a President Cruz but not a President Trump. His inexperience, lack of diplomatic skills and volatility make him absolutely terrifying to me and many others.

  5. rachel on March 11th, 2016 3:58 pm

    Well maybe you people should learn courage and to stop being so scared and to stop being so dependent upon leaders and the government. I think that is a far bigger concern because although democrats would disagree we currently have a bad president, a president who has continually broken the law and violated the constitution, exposed the country to danger by enabling Iran to gain nuclear weapons, who has allowed a terrorist organization that is hostile to us grow and gain power and who had divided the country even if you think that “conservatives” and “republicans” are “bad” and “evil’ and “racist” ,they still make up half the country and because they are human beings and americans, they matter.

    The president before that, Bush wasn’t that great of a president and not all the leaders and congressmen and senators are that great either; there are bad and incompetent and inexperienced leaders not only in government but in all sectors of society and there will being forward as a fact of life. So maybe you should focus on having your own life and being secure and independent instead of facing prey to fear mongering about donald trump.

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