During the 2016 election season, Donald Trump received an estimated $2 billion of free media time--heads and tails over any other candidate--courtesy of cable news stations covering wall-to-wall his campaign rallies (often showing a countdown and empty podium for an hour beforehand). CBS head Les Moonves unabashedly admitted that while Trump was probably going to be bad for the country, he was great for their ratings.
And even though the 2020 election is three years away, and not one candidate has stepped forward at this point to challenge his incumbency, Donald Trump is holding campaign rallies again (this one was ostensibly for state Rep. Rick Saccone--but only about five minutes of the 75 minute rally focused on the tight race between Saccone and Democratic challenger Conor Lamb) because of his overweening narcissistic need to praise himself to applause.
So here we go again, with wall-to-wall coverage of a man clearly unconcerned with being president much less appearing presidential.
But the question is, WHY????
Inarguably, Trump, by virtue of being president, is newsworthy. But do you remember constant coverage of any other candidate or sitting president? Or did newsrooms simply show clips of speeches and then discuss it? Of course not.
So why are these channels feeding into Trump's narcissism and giving him license to go off script and launch into personal attacks and fact-free stream of consciousness word salad?
Kurt Bardella, former Breitbart editor, wonders too. "Why do we have a different standard now? You can't be upset about things the president says and on the other hand, give him all of this air play. He got something like a billion dollars worth of free media coverage [Ed. note: TWO BILLION, see above] in the presidential election. We're only helping him advance these messages of divisiveness. We cannot keep doing this and expect that he's going to change his behavior or change his tone. We're rewarding bad behavior. He's like a child. If you keep giving him what he wants, he's going to keep pushing the boundaries and becoming more unravelled. All he wants is the story to be about him. If that keeps being the case, he's going to keep doing it."
So it's incumbent upon you to let the media know to stop this lazy and incredibly dangerous tactic. If you're on social media, blast the channels for showing the full rally. Tell them you click off the channel as soon as you see them doing it. Every single one of the channels has a comment line available through their website. Let them know. If ratings is the only way to get through to them, make sure they know their ratings are suffering from this editorial choice.