How Donald Trump won the Republican presidential nominee is up for debate, but a determining factor was the greed of cable outlets who gave him an unprecedented amount of airtime. It is not that the networks believed Trump was an actual candidate, they merely knew he had drawing power, and cable television is a business meant to generate profit rather than to adequately inform the public. Now that it appears Trump may actually be able to win the presidency and throw the entire world into chaos, some network executives are expressing regret in their role of the rise of the orange failed businessman’s political career.
The president of CNN, Jeff Zucker, spoke out about what he now recognizes as a poor decision to give Trump wall to wall coverage. He said:
If we made any mistake last year, it’s that we probably did put too many of his campaign rallies in those early months and let them run. Listen, because you never knew what he would say, there was an attraction to put those on the air. Trump delivered on PR, he delivered on big ratings.
However, Zucker is not willing to take all of the blame merely for the sake of ratings. He pointed out that numerous other Republican presidential candidates were unwilling to appear on the news network for interviews early in their campaigns:
Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush went two months without agreeing to do an interview. That’s not Trump’s fault. That’s not CNN’s fault.
There is plenty of blame to go around. The television networks for giving Trump a platform to air his absurd views. The public for believing those views. Perhaps most importantly, the Republican party is to blame for spending 30 years alienating average Americans so that they would see Trump as a viable option.