I don’t know how many people still rely on the evening news programs for information about the presidential contest, but Monday night’s “NBC Nightly News” without Brian Williams had stories about a uterus transplant, the British Royals on a ski vacation, and football star Peyton Manning’s retirement. This is what passes for “news.”
As a faithful viewer of at least two evening news programs every night, I notice that the commercials by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation that are frequently appearing during these broadcasts have proven time and again to have more information about a critical public policy issue than the news broadcasts themselves. The ads point out that the $18 trillion national debt is dragging the economy down.
But what will the candidates do about it?
The presidential campaign coverage on the Republican side frequently resembles a reality television show starring Donald J. Trump, who used to have his own reality show. CBS executive chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves says about Trump, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” He adds, “The money’s rolling in and this is fun.”
He’s talking about revenue from selling commercial time for political ads. Meanwhile, the United States is going broke.
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich says that the Fox News Channel is responsible for the success of the Trump campaign. “You can say that Trump is the candidate that ‘Fox & Friends’ invented,” Gingrich said on “Fox & Friends.” He noted that the billionaire sends out a Tweet, and then gets booked on the show for seven minutes. It costs Trump nothing. Other candidates are busy raising money from donors to sponsor a commercial.
Like CBS, Fox News is rolling in money. The Media Daily News noted that one Fox News Republican presidential primary debate with Trump “pulled a Nielsen 16.9 million average viewers,” versus 10 million viewers for a repeat episode of “Big Bang Theory” and 8.7 million for “American Idol.”
Trump is the most unpopular candidate of either party, according to Gallup, but he is still a ratings winner.
Even worse, in terms of ratings,
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