Confessions of the media overlords
Just a little reminder:
[CBS Chairman]Leslie Moonves can appreciate a Donald Trump candidacy.
"It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," he said of the presidential race.
Moonves called the campaign for president a "circus" full of "bomb throwing," and he hopes it continues.
"Most of the ads are not about issues. They're sort of like the debates," he said.
"Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ... The money's rolling in and this is fun," he said.
"I've never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going," said Moonves.
"Donald's place in this election is a good thing," he said Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.
MSNBC's Andrew Lack:
“As reasonable as that [discarded liberal] programming was for when it was created, we’re in a long game now … This is may be the most interesting election of my lifetime … The world has never been more dangerous in my lifetime.”
“I think it’s a helluva story — and I like big stories,” Lack said, rejecting the notion that his and other news outlets are simply providing the reality TV mogul-turned-politician a free forum to reach and attract supporters.
“Donald Trump is leading our news coverage, and everybody else’s, because Donald Trump has cut a path through the Republican party that is profound right now … The coverage we’re giving to Trump is arguably 24-7 because he’s got 40 percent in the polls.”
And then there's Jeff Zucker of CNN who pretty much created Donald Trump's TV persona when he was at NBC and then pumped him (and Clinton's email "scandal") relentlessly during the campaign:
Does CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker feel responsible for the rise of Donald Trump?
“I don’t, because he has been the front-runner of the Republican party since he announced last June,” said Zucker during an intimate lunch meeting with reporters today. Just as Hillary Clinton got the lion’s share of attention in the Democratic race early on, “the front-runner of the party is always going to get a disproportionate amount of attention,” he said.
Zucker also says Trump “has been much more available than many of the others who have been or are still in the race. Just because he says ‘yes’ and has subjected himself to those interviews, and [other candidates] don’t, I’m not going to penalize him for saying ‘yes.'”
He later stopped doing those phone in interviews but it didn't stop the many hours of Trump focused coverage including uninterrupted Nuremburg rallies. CNN did very well in the ratings. Very well.
In summation, Zucker argued, “I actually reject that premise that we’ve given too much attention to him.”
They are, by the way, social friends as well as business associates
The Washington Posts' Margaret Sullivan wrote about this phenomenon a while back:
Can you blame a TV executive such as Zucker for doing his job — striving for the highest possible ratings and profits?
Maybe not at NBC, where as the head of the entertainment division, Zucker bore no responsibility to the public interest when he made Trump a reality-show star.
But when it comes to CNN’s news coverage — its journalism — that’s a different matter. Decisions about covering a presidential campaign should consider what’s best for citizens as well as what’s best for Time Warner’s shareholders.
Some would say that CNN merely held up the mirror to Trump, and voters freely chose him over his Republican competitors. And now, voters may freely choose him over Hillary Clinton, who has made the coverage problem worse by being the anti-Trump — failing to connect emotionally with voters and even at the basic political task of making news. Partly by being so guarded, she’s ceded the near-monopoly on news to her more charismatic rival.
But it is, after all, the responsibility of the press to hold candidates accountable, not to provide publicity.
Twice, Zucker made Trump a winner. And twice, Trump made Zucker a winner.
But what about the rest of us?