By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Jack Shafer: Don’t blame the media for Donald Trump

Jack Shafer of Politico puts into words what I’ve been inchoately thinking: Though the media surely have not covered themselves in glory by showering so much attention upon the candidacy of racist demagogue Donald Trump, it’s really not their fault that he’s leading the Republican field. Taking note of the epic negative coverage Trump has received, Shafer concludes:

If you were a conventional media observer, you might say that the Trump candidacy demonstrates not the power of the press, but—overwhelmingly, and to our chagrin—its relative powerlessness. But maybe that’s just what we want you to think.

Trump is a creation of the media, of course—but not of the news media. As Shafer observes, he’s been a fixture in the entertainment media for years on the strength of The Apprentice and his bestselling books.

I’d dial Shafer’s take back a bit. I do think the media are to blame for giving Trump way too many column inches (look it up, kids) and too much air time at the expense of the other candidates, and I don’t think the coverage has been as tough as it should have been until recently. But neither do I think the media had it within their power to derail the Trump Express.

Leave a comment about this post on Facebook.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Will Trump face an independent challenge from the right?


A few quick thoughts on Mitt Romney’s Trump speech


  1. As an inchoate thinker myself, I found Shafer’s piece so scattershot as to have provided no conclusions whatsoever.
    In any case, surely it’s not the media’s job to “derail the Trump Express” even if complicit in having enrailed it in the first place.
    Really looking forward to BTP tonight….assume you’ll be in yr usual chair.

  2. Larz Neilson

    Trump is certainly a good student of media operations and is a champion at exploiting television coverage. He knows that news directors always go for the outrageous & bombastic, and that’s what he delivers.

  3. I’d say there’s been plenty of opportunity for the media to have starved Trump of oxygen. Given how Boston media are harassing Charlie Baker for his opinion on Trump even after he said he wouldn’t vote for him, however, it seems they simply can’t help themselves.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén