This election season, the news-industry ideal of giving comparable attention to the major presidential candidates has utterly collapsed, and Donald Trump has been the undisputed beneficiary. Twin forces are at play. The Manhattan billionaire has a clear knack for putting himself in the news through a provocative statement or tweet. But a second factor appears to be at least as important: News organizations, in an era of wrenching financial upheaval, are often following paths of least resistance in their quest for profits. In focusing attention on one candidate, the numbers are stunning: Last week, an analysis in The New York Times found that Trump had amassed nearly $1.9 billion worth of free media coverage over the course of the campaign, even as his campaign spends less by far than most every other candidate.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.