Reprinted from The Nation
Nightly News Covers Donald Trump 23X More Than Bernie Sanders
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If we imagine American media as a hungry beast that thinks only about its next meal, then it is easy to see why Donald Trump's presidential campaign has gone from strength to strength. Trump feeds the beast. With calculated and constant outrageousness, he dominates news coverage not just of the race for the Republican nomination but of the entire 2016 presidential competition. As veteran political observer Larry Sabato says, "It's Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump and Trump."
In an atomized media environment, with old and new and social media providing constant flows of information, Trump will always figure out how to get the attention that he craves -- and that powers his campaign. For instance, even as Republican leaders offer up mild complaints about Trump's religious-test bigotries, they will welcome him to another debate stage December 15.
The key is not to neglect Trump, but rather to provide more and better coverage of the whole of the 2016 campaign.
All Trump all the time lets Trump define the discussion. People can agree with him or they can disagree with him. But they do not hear alternatives. As Credo Action's Josh Nelson argues, "The media's obsession with Donald Trump has real consequences for our Democracy. Desperate for ratings, the cable news networks have decided to broadcast nearly-continuous coverage of Donald Trump's campaign at the expense of giving real issues the coverage they deserve."