The Big Business of Bashing Trump

The Big Business of Bashing Trump

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Members of the media, political figures, and activists have portrayed Donald Trump as one of the greatest threats that our republic has ever faced.  While being part of the resistance to Trump makes you look like a hero, it also has many lucrative – and rarely mentioned – side benefits.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves once famously said that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential run “may not be good for America, but its damn good for CBS.”  America’s major media corporations have profited massively off Trump coverage.  The New York Times, which aired a subscription ad campaign saying “The Truth Matters More than Ever” after Trump was elected, reported a record number 4 million subscribers in 2018.  The Washington Post, which changed its masthead to “Democracy Dies in Darkness” after Trump was elected, also reported record advertising in 2020, and a stunning 50% increase in subscriptions in just a year.  CNN, ever the Trump adversary, also experienced its most-watched month ever in November 2020.

The threat of Donald Trump has been a great fundraising tool for Democratic politicians.  Joe Biden and the DNC raised a record-breaking $383 million in September 2020.  Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison broke Senate fundraising records by raising $57 million over a single quarter.  In the 15 U.S. Senate races considered competitive, Democratic candidates raised over $370 million, compared to about $150 million for Republican candidates.

For those interested in silencing their political enemies, Trump has also been extremely useful.  Large social media companies like Facebook and Twitter were once free speech protectors, with Twitter head Jack Dorsey calling himself the “free speech wing of the free speech party.”  Pre-Trump, social media censorship was almost non-existent.  Yet the election of Trump gave opponents of speech their greatest opportunity.  Demanding an end to “disinformation” and “fake news,” politicians called on tech companies to silence certain voices.  These tech companies obliged, going from first banning fringe figures like Alex Jones to inserting themselves directly into debates on political news (actions the RNC called “in-kind contributions” to Joe Biden’s campaign) and even public health information.  

Finally, bashing Trump is great for rehabilitating careers.  Former heads of the CIA and FBI such as James Clapper, John Brennan, Michael Hayden and James Comey, have gone from leading institutions traditionally hated by the left for their surveillance practices and interference in foreign elections, to becoming analysts at left-leaning media like MSNBC, and holding widely publicized book tours.  Clapper, in particular, went from lying about his CIA snooping on Americans’ private conversations to being a CNN national security analyst and a freedom fighter railing against Donald Trump.

References

  • Harvard Kennedy School: News Coverage of Donald Trump’s First 100 Days
  • Washington Post: Ted Koppel: Post, NYT have ‘decided...Trump is bad for the United States'
  • Sharyl Attkisson: Media Mistakes in the Trump Era: The Definitive List

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