Kevin Drum at Mother Jones highlighted an exchange about Trump overcoverage on Twitter between MSNBC host Chris Hayes and Washington Post economics correspondent Jim Tankersley. Liberals and journalists were disappointed that a network like MSNBC would highlight Trump’s quickly assembled event to compete with the presidential debate. Throughout his 8pm (Eastern) hour, Hayes constantly ran a split-screen even as Trump had yet to arrive on stage in Des Moines.
Hayes waved a white flag about the need to fill the public appetite for “spectacle.”
this is not very complicated.
there are 3 cable networks competing for viewers. 1 had a debate that will draw millions and millions of viewers. Other 2 have to figure out how to best compete with that. Usually there's nothing to do but be crushed. And then: boom! A competing event to cover
obviously this hits home to me, but people outside of this industry *vastly* underestimate a) the competitive pressure and b) the appetite for spectacle, theatrics, etc...
This wud be more convincing if CNN/MSNBC didn't show so much Trump at all other times.
On Wed, CNN gave Trump 70 percent of all its candidate coverage. That includes both Ds & Rs.
It wasn't even a record for the network. In December, CNN gave Trump 80% of all candidate coverage one day.
Over the last month Trump has gotten more mentions on MSNBC than Clinton (#2), Sanders (3) & Jeb (5) combined.
Hayes later lamented: "Hayes' First Law of Media: The more competitive the market for attention, the more tabloid news in that market will become."