Photo courtesy of Jake Pemberton
There is an unwritten rule in which media are to be fair by providing equal coverage among diverse parties. Although, Donald Trump has clearly been the focus of the media since the presidential race began, sparking criticisms from students and professors of the University of Denver.
Since the race began, Trump has been mentioned in media twice as often as Hillary Clinton, and that amount is even higher compared to the mentions of Bernie Sanders, according to the TV News Archive. Whether or not one supports or opposes the Republican’s views, there is a nationwide consensus that Trump has been receiving significantly more media coverage than the other presidential runners.
The Internet Archive TV News Archive released data portraying that in 2016, Trump has been mentioned 50% of the time among Republicans, while the candidate with the second-most mentions is Jeb Bush at 11%. Such statistics have generated criticisms as to why Trump is receiving such an excess amount of media coverage, and if this coverage is fueling his presidential race success.
Among the criticisms include students and experts of media at the University of Denver, Colorado. Graham Smith, sophomore at DU and avid media consumer, explained why media is covering Trump to such an extent.
“Trump says controversial things that people want to see, hear, and comment on,” Smith conveys, “I also have a feeling that certain media conglomerates have ties and loyalties to Trump and his companies.”
Ideas have accumulated that Trump is being covered so much due to his stirring comments and actions, rather than the candidate’s dialogue of what policies he stands for.
Among the public, some view the Republican party as Trump’s party, and that Trump might as well center all of his focus on running against the Democratic side of Clinton and Sanders. When asked about who comes to mind when thinking of the presidential race, Alecia Espinoza, Junior at DU, replied,
“Trump no doubt,” and when asked to explain some of Trump’s views, she described, “I know he wants a wall to keep immigrants out and that he’s all about making America great again.”
Although, when asked to describe her knowledge on Republican candidate John Kasich, Espinoza stated,
“I have none. And is that how you say Kasich?”
Not only are the criticisms focusing on the amount of media coverage Trump obtains, but there is also speculation of how much of the media is free advertising. SMG Delta, an organization that tracks television advertisement, analyzed that Trump has spent $10 million on advertisements, while Clinton and Sanders have individually spent $28 million on television ads. The same firm also depicted the data of that in February of 2016, Trump received over $400 million worth of free media, as much as Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton earned combined.
Rachael Liberman, media culture expert and professor at DU, explains why Trump receives the free media and how such coverage is providing the candidate an advantage in the running.
“The media has to cover him, and any coverage is good coverage,” Liberman emphasized, “it is their job to entertain the public, and he is entertaining. So all of this free media, along with his wealth from his past business ventures, allows him to say those controversial things and get away with it because he has the money to do so.”
The media professor continued to explain that Trump’s success is due to how his supporters are “so disenfranchised with how things are running currently and are not steered away from his controversial comments and views.”
Liberman is only part of the group of critics who protest that such free media coverage of Trump is boosting his success and position among the other candidates in the debate. Alek Peterlin, freshman at DU, also weighs in on how media coverage correlates to Trump’s prosperity in the race.
“People are more likely to vote for the candidate that they know most about. Media has allowed him (Trump) to get this far.”
Question: Have you been following the election?
Place and time of interview: Daniel’s College of Business, University of Denver. Saturday, Apr., 23, 2016.
Graham Smith, Sophomore, Finance Major
“I did when it began but it has turned into more of a popularity contest rather than a debate on policies.”
Question: Why does media cover Trump to such an extent?
Place and time of interview: Towers dorm, University of Denver. Sunday, Apr., 24, 2016.
Alecia Espinoza, Junior, Real Estate & Construction Major
“He’s (Trump) putting on a show because he knows that media has to cover him. The public just wants to be entertained and the election has turned into a reality show.”
Question: Why would Trump ever win the election?
Place and time of interview: Mass Communication building, University of Denver. Monday, Apr., 25, 2016.
Dr. Rachael Liberman, Media Culture Professor
“America is scared!”
Question: Recent interviewees have referred to the presidential race as a popularity contest. Would you agree? Why or why not?
Time and place of interview: Anderson Academic Commons, University of Denver. Sunday, Apr., 24, 2016.
Alek Peterlin, Freshman, Biology Major
“Yes, it certainly is. It seems like it’s about electing an a****** celebrity rather than a good president”