CNN’s president downplayed criticism this week that his newsroom pays an inordinate amount of attention to GOP front-runner Donald Trump, but data shows his network is one of the chief contributors to the billionaire businessman’s nearly $2 billion in earned media this election cycle.
As the front-runner, Trump was always going to get “a disproportionate amount of attention,” Jeff Zucker told reporters this week.
The television executive continued, explaining that part of the reason why Trump gets so much play on CNN is because the candidate makes himself readily available.
Since announcing his presidential campaign in June 2015, Trump has enjoyed nine straight months of near-constant media coverage from newspapers, online news sites and cable and network television. He has easily outpaced all of his opponents, both Democratic and Republican, in terms of mentions and panel discussions. However, though all of media is obsessed with Trump, few newsrooms have ignored the other 2016 candidates in favor of Trump as much as CNN has, according to Internet Archive data rounded up by the GDELT Project.
CNN’s pursuit of news related to the GOP front-runner has been so intense that the cable news network even broadcasts images of empty podiums ahead of announced press conferences, once for an entire 30 minutes.
For perspective, Trump’s empty podium got more coverage in a single afternoon in March than six combined former GOP candidates — Carly Fiorina, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — got from the network’s primetime weekday shows during a two-week stretch in 2015, according to data compiled by the Media Research Center.
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