Media companies are worried that if Joe Biden wins the presidential election they could lose the revenue that they have been earning with Donald Trump in the White House.
“The conventional wisdom is that the ‘Trump Bump’ juiced ratings for cable news outlets and traffic for online publishers,” Digiday reports in a piece on media companies trying to figure out what to do if the Democrat wins.
“There’s no antagonist. So what are we tuning in for?” former CNN president Jonathan Klein told the outlet. “Grandpa is a nice guy. Everybody might be relieved to not watch as much cable news anymore and go find a book to read, a garden to plant, or a socially-distanced walk to take.”
The sentiment validates concerns from many on the left that the mainstream media has consistently promoted Trump, with little concern for the outcome of his policies, because his prominence is beneficial to their bottom line.
The press has shifted from how it covered previous presidents, routinely airing Trump press conferences and speeches in a way that it did not under previous presidents. While cable networks like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News have force-fed Trump to their viewers, they often declined to air press conferences and speeches given by President Barack Obama.
CBS head Les Moonves cheered on Trump’s campaign back in 2016.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” Moonves said.
CNN, who has presented itself as a neutral news organization, repeatedly aired hours of footage “waiting for Trump” to make speeches in 2016. The network hired numerous pro-Trump figures for the express purpose of speaking up on Trump’s behalf.
The New York Times at the same time elevated coverage of Hillary Clinton’s emails to the front page, equating them to Trump’s long history of racism and xenophobia.
After Trump’s election, many of the reporters covering him also produced books about their coverage of Trump, generating more coverage and personal revenue for those journalists.
Biden’s election would likely spell an end to the profit-heavy system that has been set up, and the press would appear to have a considerable incentive to cheer on a second Trump term.