Years ago, when I was stupidly pursuing a career in “journalism,” there was a sign hanging on the wall of the office of one of the small-town newspapers where I worked. It read something like this: “All political advertising is to be paid for in full in advance, no exceptions.”
The wise thinking behind that old newspaper policy has apparently been forgotten in today’s media environment. On March 15, 2016, The New York Times Upshot column reported that Donald Trump had received nearly $2 billion worth of free media coverage during his presidential campaign.
The value of free media coverage Trump received ($1.898 billion) was more than twice that of what was given to Hillary Clinton ($746 million). It was more than six times that given to Trump’s major Republican primary challenger, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who received $313 million worth of free coverage.
An organization called mediaQuant came up with these disturbing estimates by analyzing media coverage. To make matters worse, mediaQuant also estimated that Trump had received $400 million worth of free advertising in February 2016 alone. That is more than U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) spent on his entire campaign in 2008.
Cruz supporters should note that the same media mindlessly promoting the Donald ignored the fact that a Pennsylvania judge had dismissed Trump’s so-called birther lawsuit against Ted. Over at Law Newz, Dan Abrams noted that there is an opinion from Judge Dan Pellegrini that found Cruz has a right to appear on the Republican Presidential ballot in Pennsylvania. For those of you not paying attention, the birther lawsuit is the bigoted claim that Cruz is not eligible to run for president because he was born in Canada.
The only national media outlet that covered Pellegrini’s ruling is one that has been very critical of Trump, The Wall Street Journal. Not coincidently, The WSJ has been the only media outlet to point out the glaring fact that Trump is the weakest Republican potential presidential nominee since Gerald Ford in 1976, with the support of only one third of GOP primary voters. Even though Trump took issue with the charge, no other media outlet seemed to notice.
Where is the Outrage?
Where, I wonder, is the outrage about this travesty? Why aren’t protesters marching on The New York Times building and the headquarters of CBS (NYSE: CBS), Clear Channel Communications, The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) – ABC is a Disney subsidiary – Tribune Media (NYSE: TRCO), Tribune Publishing (TPUB), NBC News, CNN, and others? That would be a far more effective strategy than picketing the Trump Tower.
Why aren’t critics of Trump, such as Mitt Romney, calling out the CEOs of these companies and asking them what is going on? Why aren’t the stockholders in these organizations demand accountability from the executives who gave nearly $2 billion worth of advertising away to a billionaire? I imagine the same executives would be fired if they gave Coca-Cola $2 billion worth of free advertising.
One has to wonder how long the American people will tolerate this outrage. Around $2 billion worth of free advertising has been given to a racist who is also a billionaire. To make matters worse, he has disrupted a major political party, destroyed the reputation of the conservative movement in the United States, and has managed to become a serious candidate for the highest office in our land. This must stop and it must stop now.
I have a feeling that there is going to be hell to pay for this at some point. I have to wonder how many people are going to lose their jobs and have their careers destroyed for this advertising giveaway.
If you’re as outraged about this ripoff as I am, please sign the Change.org petition below: