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JLeslie's avatar

Did the media help elect Trump in the primaries, and will they hurt him now?

Asked by JLeslie (59781points) August 5th, 2016 from iPhone

It seemed to me the media constantly talking about Trump gave him free exposure and helped his numbers. I agree a lot of the people in media lean to the left, so they often were talking about Trump negatively, but it still might have helped Trump. The media barely mentioned Kasich, and they were horrible to Jeb Bush in my opinion. Those two were two of the more rational candidates I think in the Republican party. Although, Bush had family legacy hanging over him.

Now, I feel like the left leaning talking heads might be happy Trump won the primary, because Trump might really do himself in at this stage of the game.

I feel like something changed, and now the “any publicity is good publicity” is not working as well for Trump anymore.

Do you feel a shift? Or, is it all in my head?

I think the debates will be the test.

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31 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

First of all, the media is not “left leaning”. The media is corporate driven, and is only interested in making money, and what makes money is whatever gets people to watch.

People watch whatever its e most outrageous. So when Trump says something outrageous, he knows it will push any other candidate’s statement, or appearance, or visit to a country fair, right off the broadcast or front page.

And, despite all his outrageous statements, there has been almost zero talk of Hillary f or the last week. The media has been all Trump, Trump fight, Trump gaffe, Trump horrible, Trump this Trump that. Even Fluther has been relatively silent about Hillary.

And, Trump is scared to debate, he has already said it is rigged, so he will probably skip them.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I am left leaning, and I think there is left leaning bias where it shouldn’t be in the media. I watch Meet The Press that should be unbiased and the moderator seems obviously left leaning to me. Very few truly neutral journalists out there, which is sad to say. Then there is a whole set of the media that don’t need to be neutral, they aren’t journalists, but rather hosts of shows that can be called news shows. Of course, there are right leaning shows and channels also, but I agree with republicans way more bias to the left in a more subtle way.

If Trump doesn’t debate he’s screwed. I can’t imagine the republicans who don’t like him, but at this point plan to vote for him, will be able to vote for him if he doesn’t debate.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I think the shift is the growing number of Republicans speaking out against Trump. He’s all they have to talk about now.

Pachy's avatar

Nothing and no one does a better job of hurting Trump than Trump. All he has to do is open his mouth.

The media and an ever-growing number of Republicans finally get what a danger he is. Too bad his surrogates and supporters don’t.

ucme's avatar

You yanks are in denial just like the arsekicked remain voters over here looking for piss poor excuses instead of cold hard facts.
No, people voted in their millions for something you strongly object to, using the media is lame & stems from bitterness & an unwillingness to accept the truth

elbanditoroso's avatar

I would phrase it differently.

They gave Trump a free pass when the primaries were going on, because he was free entertainment. And there were 16 bimbos and bimbettes.

Now that he is the candidate, they are doing the sort of analysis and reporting that they SHOULD HAVE BEEN doing all along.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I wouldn’t get your hopes up for debates! There’s no way Trump is going to put himself in that position. He’s already started to make whiny complaining noises about them.

Jaxk's avatar

I don’t believe the media tried to help Trump during the primaries and they definitely are trying to hurt him now. During the primaries the coverage was all negative coverage. In any normal year that would hurt a candidate and make it very difficult to win the primary. This is not a normal year and the attacks from the media didn’t hurt him. Now that Trump has won the primary, the media has stepped up it’s game and is throwing everything at him and completely ignoring Hillary. Not that Trump isn’t helping them to do so but the bias is obvious.

For instance, Hillary was investigated by the FBI for mishandling classified material. The findings were that she was extremely reckless. The media is pushing a narrative that Trump should not get his security briefings because he may disclose classified material. That’s Hillary’s problem not Trump’s. Hillary hasn’t had a press conference this year and even in her interview with Wallace, her crazy take on what the FBI found was hardly covered.

The debates are likely to be the only chance Trump has. He is rightfully concerned that the media will spin those to put him at a major disadvantage. And even if he does very well, they’ve stacked the debates up against the NFL schedule to insure a smaller audience.

The election is between 2 very unpopular candidates. If it is a referendum on Trump, Hillary wins. If it is a referendum on Hillary, Trump wins. The media is pushing hard to make it a referendum on Trump. Hillary has the money and the media on her side. Over the next few months we will be hearing very little about how good either candidate is but rather how bad the other one is. With the media on her side, that’s a lot of negative coverage. Let the ‘cat calls’ begin.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the media was totally ignorant initially. They laughed Trump off, but also like the ratings (money). The majority of the people in media are left leaning and just didn’t get the appeal of Trump at all, and I think that goes along with what @ucme said. The liberals still are confounded, but more scared at this point. The right wing is stupefied too for that matter.

I think it has to do with the other side, no matter which side you are on, ignores or discounts the negative attributes of the candidates who portray the positive they want. For instance, if people like Trump will be tougher on immigration and address unfair trade laws, they don’t pay attention to his racist sounding comments. See, people who hate Trump think the people who like Trump like him because he is racist, I’m saying they mostly don’t believe him to be racist.

Same with people who like Hillary, because they liked Bill in office, and like her stance on women’s issues, and maybe agree with her on CEO-political issues, then they don’t even want to hear about her staying with a cheating husband or Benghazi.

Along with that the other side only focuses on the negatives. It’s very black and white thinking, and that’s what a huge portion of the country does.

I have defended Trump and Trump supporters here on Fluther and in real life, but now I feel like maybe the tide is truly turning more and more against him.

Although, I still think the media overdwells on stupid thing regarding Trump that his supporters won’t give a shit about. It just riles up democrats (more ratings). Now, the media is saying Trump is confused and maybe has something really mentally wrong with him. They are going after Milania, that she worked in the US illegally. I have to say, I would be interested in that info, because hypocrisy bothers me.

If Palin can hold her own in a debate I’m sure Trump can. I dint see how he can not do a debate. He’s done very well in the debates. He didn’t mind doing them and his supporters loved him.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Sure, why should he mind doing the Republican debates? They all want the same things in different degrees. They all use the same shorthand, they all get their information from the same place. They all talk in vague terms about what they intend to make happen.

Debating the Democratic candidate would be a very different matter, much more challenging. He will have to actually explain how he can possibly deliver on his promises. He will have to show that he is knowledgeable about the history and politics of America and other countries. He will have to show that he can lead and govern sanely and rationally. He will have to be presidential. These things are beyond his capabilities, and he knows it.

As to “I don’t see how he can not do a debate”, these debates are only a recent addition to the electoral process, and they have been skipped in the past. Trump can’t be compelled to attend a debate.

JLeslie's avatar

^^He won’t have to show much of anything. He can answer how he always does to some extent. Right now he needs to keep the republicans voting for him and sway the independents. His best hope with independents is to not sound unstable. We’ll see. All politicians pivot when they don’t like a question and fill time with bullshit when they see fit.

Liberals complain that Trump doesn’t answer questions with details, sometimes I agree on certain topics, but sometimes I myself don’t agree with that statement. He does answer a lot of questions, the liberals just don’t like the answer.

dappled_leaves's avatar

“His best hope with independents is to not sound unstable.”

Precisely. As the saying goes, better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. No one is suggesting he will lose the support of the Republicans who have already pledged loyalty to him.

I don’t know how I continue to be amazed by your ability to take Trump seriously as a candidate after all this time, and yet I do. There is a difference between “not liking the answer”, which implies at best an ideological disagreement (and at worst prejudicial partisanship) and recognizing this soup of bullshit and insanity for what it is.

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie I completely agree with @zenvelo that the media is corporate driven. Why does Boeing spend millions of dollars advertising on CNN? Are they really trying to sell people airplanes? No, they want influence in how the media covers things. When we go to war, Boeing gets paid.

At any given time, there are tons of Trump headlines all over the media. This only helps him. His followers aren’t interested in facts, and the way the media has been going full-court-press against him will only allow him to claim persecution which will only help his position. He’s going to continue to manufacture one stupid controversy after another and the press will continue to provide him with billions in free coverage.

Meanwhile, Hillary is busy NOT inspiring anyone with opaque and vapid policies. She’s betting that voters are going to turn out in droves just to vote AGAINST Trump. It’s a horrible miscalculation. People don’t stand in line for hours before work to vote against a candidate they hate, they will do that to vote for someone they like though—all of this coverage is only helping Trump build that support, and keep his supporters engaged. Her only chance to win is to rig the general the way she rigged the primary.

funkdaddy's avatar

When a candidate decides that facts are a burden, any industry built on facts will seem to be biased against them.

zenvelo's avatar

The difference between the primary debates and the general election debates is that the primary debates are about who can best carry out an agreed up on policy.

Remember, the 16 Republicans all agreed on the basic policy questions (immigration, taxes, terrorism, gun rights), the little disagreement was on how extreme to carry out a response and who could do it best.

The General Election debates are the first time the different philosophies on policies go head to head. And while I will not state which group of policies I prefer, Clinton can speak circles around Trump on a whole panoply of issues. That is why he won’t debate.

Soubresaut's avatar

“Any publicity is good publicity” has never been true—any publicity is attention, and some people seek attention at any cost for various reasons—even when that cost is their reputation, respect, followers, etc… but to think that you can stand to lose those sorts of factors when you’re trying to become the elected leader of a major country on the world stage is… well, it’s frighteningly short-sighted. Trump seems to continue to insist that his business experience gives him the know-how of running a country. But he doesn’t get to jump into the presidency like he has jumped into various business deals, figuring it out along the way, jumping ship if it doesn’t work (leaving whoever is on the ship to sink), and looking for something new. He also seems fundamentally incapable of understanding how power is about more than mere force, and sometimes mere force destroys power because it destroys the relationships that hold the power in place.

I’ve been more frustrated with the media than usual because of how they are covering this election. Each individual journalist has their own bias, and the biases vary, and for too many it is not difficult to see how that bias colors what and how they report… and if this were any other year, those sorts of things are what frustrate me… But the coverage of this election in particular has seemed like a bad joke. Who cares what his hair looks like? That has nothing to do with the election. The media made it clear that Trump had done little to nothing to garner their respect, (and in truth he hasn’t, because he doesn’t do that sort of thing,) but their job is not to then spend their time in the primaries laughing and making fun of him. Their job is to report the news to the public because they respect us enough to do so, because they respect us enough to not waste our time with their schoolyard taunts.

I am glad that they are seeming to move away from that sort of behavior. I’m still frustrated by how much Trump dominates the media attention, but at this point I have been seeing more coverage of what he is actually saying—reports that have basically been introductory paragraphs giving context, and then quotations from Trump. And frankly, I think the media owes us that much—to show us what he’s actually doing and saying. I wish they did that more, and more often; and I wish they stuck to fact-checking more than their own interpretations of information.

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s behavior is terrifying to consider as the behavior of a commander in chief…. but that isn’t biased reporting, that’s just telling us what he has done; it’s not their job to make him look good any more than it is to make him look bad.

I miss Republican candidates like John McCain. Obama and McCain were worthy opponents, and although I may have disagreed more with McCain’s policies than Obama’s, I knew if he were elected we would still be in capable hands. (The VP pick did concern me, though…)

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Soubresaut I think McCain’s integrity is highly overrated. People seem to ignore it whenever he takes an indefensible stance, and just remember him as a war hero. Why is he whole-heartedly supporting Trump right now if he is so “capable” and “worthy”? Is that the act of a good leader?

flutherother's avatar

Saying the media is ‘left leaning’ is just expressing an opinion. Others might say it is right leaning. The point is the media has to report the news so the public can make up its own mind. That’s what happens in a democracy. Trump’s views should be subject to the same degree of critical analysis as any other candidate’s. If Trump’s views don’t stand up to scrutiny that is not the fault of the media and if some think that doesn’t matter, well I would disagree.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves You are amazed at how I take Trump seriously as a candidate? I would say I have proven to be the one who “gets it” more than most people on this site. He won the primary! I didn’t vote for him. I wouldn’t vote for him. I just think I understand the people voting for him better than you maybe. It isn’t just one type of voter voting for him, but a lot of people seem to be painting them that way.

funkdaddy's avatar

Worthwhile when looking at relative likelihood of the next president and how it’s changed over time.

An interactive, up to the minute, polls-based election analysis by folks who do this stuff all day long.

JLeslie's avatar

Dear God, I just saw “breaking news” that Trump is endorsing Ryan and McCain, and I got a pit in my stomach. Yuck. It just feels like everyone is making deals. Trump supposedly ran on not being able to be influenced by money or other politicians, and I’m guessing everyone in the latest group of endorsements is keeping a tally of who owes who favors.

ibstubro's avatar

Trump played the media for what they were. Sensationalists chasing the next headline. As long as he could make a better headline than the one before him, he was golden.
The media chased the story.
Then the media started to be the story.
Then the media started to examine the story.
I think that woke the media.

Trump was a media creation.
All bets are off.
And he’s a Presidential contender!

funkdaddy's avatar

With a lack of an actual opinion, people will vote for a name they know.

An election for a state judge on the highest criminal court had 2,000,000 people vote. A man who didn’t campaign, spent no money, did no interviews, and has no history won because his name is “Scott Walker”, which he changed his name to for the election. story here, place 5

So how did a candidate with no campaign draw 41 percent of the vote against three opponents who campaigned actively?

“I spent a lot of time praying about this election,” Walker said. “I believe God heard my prayers.”

Trump has name recognition, not sure if he’s praying or not, but I think the name probably had a greater effect.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie “You are amazed at how I take Trump seriously as a candidate? I would say I have proven to be the one who “gets it” more than most people on this site. He won the primary! ”

Oh, good grief. I recognize that there is a slim chance that the stupidity of the American people can actually result in this maniac getting into office. And of course he won the primary. That is not what I meant by “taking him seriously as a candidate”. I meant that you listen to words he says, and work to find sense in them. That you take what he says at face value without judging it in the context that this man is insane. That still shocks me.

Soubresaut's avatar

@dappled_leaves—oh, I guess I read it differently. He was a part of that group of Republicans that endorsed Trump shortly after the primaries, wasn’t he? I thought they were just trying to make the best of the situation, standing by the elected nominee, thinking they could still get a reasonable candidate out of Trump… and I realize that at this point in the election the Republicans are in a bit of a political bind, since I don’t see a political move that makes them look good.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves I think he is a narcissist who will overall be prepared to be our president, and it feels to me that the tide is finally turning and his chances of winning are less and less. I do think the debate will be a big test. If he gets in a really good zing he might raise his chances again. Otherwise, I think it’s Hillary with no problem. I’ve been waiting for Hillary for 8 years.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s a disappointing day when Trump hasn’t done or said something outrageous. I’ve been enjoying the daily entertainment. Ultimately, though, I think he’s a bore (as well as a boor) and the media will move on.

JLeslie's avatar

I just noticed a typo I made. I wrote prepared when it should say Trump will be unprepared.

@Jeruba When? When will they move on? I cannot believe how incessantly the media discusses Trump.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, cynically, I suppose when something else sells more advertising (formerly I would have said, sells more copies). Unfortunately I don’t think that’ll happen before November 8th, unless there’s another royal baby by then—or a true world disaster (which could totally skew our election).

For a pretty chilling take on this scene from an international point of view, see this article in Der Spiegel, a German newspaper. I read the top stories in the English edition at least once a week and often find them to be right on target.

British and Canadian newspapers are also great for some perspective.

Strauss's avatar

@Jeruba One thing I found interesting about your linked article was the link within the article to this other article, drawing a chilling parallel between the “Brexit” voters and the Trump supporters.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba My company writes for that publication. I don’t think the author of that article is one of our reporters, I’d have to check. I know our reporter Nikolia (I’d have to look up her last name) writes for them sometimes.

I’m meeting with my boss this weekend, it will be interesting to see what she says about the election. She lives in Germany, but is in the states for a few weeks. She’s American.

Our website if you or anyone is interested. It’s not perfectly up to date. We don’t have readership like the outlets we sell to, the site is not our source of revenue. I think I might have mentioned the website to you before, so my apologies if I’m being repetitive.

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