If it feels like television news has been broadcasting Trump morning, noon and night, since the race began… and that you hear about Hillary and Bernie Sanders the next most often, and that you see coverage of the other Republican candidates way less frequently than any of those three… well, your instincts are right:
The study from mediaQuant, a firm that tracks media coverage of each candidate and computes a dollar value based on advertising rates, dissected in the New York Times, concludes that the media has given Trump a media advantage the likes of which we’ve never seen before:
Mr. Trump earned $400 million worth of free media last month, about what John McCain spent on his entire 2008 presidential campaign. Paul Senatori, mediaQuant’s chief analytics officer, says that Mr. Trump “has no weakness in any of the media segments” — in other words, he is strong in every type of earned media, from television to Twitter.
Over the course of the campaign, he has earned close to $2 billion worth of media attention, about twice the all-in price of the most expensive presidential campaigns in history. It is also twice the estimated $746 million that Hillary Clinton, the next best at earning media, took in. Senator Bernie Sanders has earned more media than any of the Republicans except Mr. Trump.
A more skeptical Republican electorate would ask, “Why?” Why are television media institutions usually hostile to Republicans suddenly going ga-ga and obsessing over every word the GOP front-runner says? Why are they so eager to cover his rallies live? Why do they allow him to call in to the Sunday shows? Why do they have “town hall meetings” with softball questions? Why are his prime-time press conferences aired live and then dissected by a team of analysts?
Is it because these television producers, anchors and programming directors have suddenly come to appreciate his call for a border wall, deportation of all illegal immigrants and a ban on Muslim immigration? Or is it because they think he confirms every negative stereotype of the conservative movement and Republican Party, that he’ll get demolished in a general election, and he’ll take a lot of Congressional Republicans down with him?