March 19, 2016

Media Matters' Angelo Carusone made an appearance on Al Jazeera to explain how Donald Trump manipulates media for his own gain. This comes on the heels of a Buzzfeed report about all the special accommodations Trump gets from the major networks in exchange for the "privilege" of covering Trump.

Some producers and people inside those networks are asking themselves the "chicken or egg" question: Did their coverage help him rise up to the top?

Damn, people. Of course it did. How is this even a question?

Angelo gives a great explanation here of how Trump manipulates media for his own ends. And they just nodded their heads and went right along with it.

ELIZABETH PURANAM (HOST): We heard from Trump in Florida earlier saying that, you know, nobody's received the kind of bad publicity, he actually used the words bad, and advertising that he has in this campaign and yet his numbers keep going up, this is what he said. I mean, does he get, is he getting bad publicity that he isn't asking for with the kind of things he is saying? And if his poll numbers do keep going up, is all publicity good publicity?

ANGELO CARUSONE: Well first, I would even challenge the premise which is that, in his claim that he is getting bad publicity. That doesn't certainly seem to be the case.

You know, if you measure it out, he's gotten about $2 billion, $2 billion, worth of free airtime. That's, you know, 10 times more than the next best Republican rival, you know, has gotten in free or sort of earned media. So on balance, he is sort of dominating the airwaves there.

But there's another element to it which is that if you look at the substance of those interviews, it's not that he is going into these interviews and he is being, you know, challenged with facts and aggressive, sort of like, you know, journalism and questions.

Reporters are afraid that Donald Trump will shut him out. And so on balance, when he goes in there, they're very soft interviews. There's a hesitation to actually force Donald Trump to confront facts. It's typically, you know the discussions and the subject matter is exactly what he wants it to be about.

Now on the surface it might seem like a controversy, but it's a controversy that he created. Which means he understands its benefit to him, his campaign, and where he needs to go with that controversy in order to maximize the benefits from it.

PURANAM: The media certainly can't seem to be getting enough of him, but is it as simple as that? Because, I mean, I know you think he is somewhat of a master manipulator of the media.

CARUSONE: Certainly, he certainly is. He sort of understands the sort of modern media environment that we're living in. And it applies in multiple ways.

On the one hand, he utilized the conservative media apparatus, there's a very strong and deep conservative media infrastructure in the United States.

And ever since President Obama was inaugurated, they have sort of, and they've been doing this for a while, but they really fomented an animosity, a rage. And it was fueled in part by an ideological elements and in part by racial antipathy.

And when Donald Trump, you know, first really kicked off his campaign, he sort of channeled and harnessed some of that racial antipathy right out of the gate when he said that Mexican immigrants were rapists and murderers. That is a smear that has been percolating in conservative media for a while. That's an example of his manipulation.

Another example of his manipulation is, we saw it tonight. He claims he's going to do a press conference, everybody treats it and pretends it's going to be a press conference, and then starting early this morning all of the cable networks were promoting the idea not just that it was the election returns tonight, but that Donald Trump was going to be taking questions live.

And as a result they had more reporters there, they sent some of their best people, and their most high profile people, they give it a lot of promoting and attention, everybody is tuning in, and, boop, he doesn't do any questions. And the same thing applies with his use of social media. He knows that he can get a lot of people talking by just sending out a smear or retweeting somebody else making a smear that no other presidential candidate would ever make either because its simply too extreme or not founded.

Can you help us out?

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