Donald Trump’s rise as a presidential candidate has prompted many political observers to blame TV outlets for giving him historic amounts of free air time. While it’s true the media have overwhelmingly focused on Trump in their coverage during the current election cycle, there is another media phenomenon at play. NBC has spent more than a decade building his brand as a successful businessman of almost mythic proportion.
The network’s coverage of Trump was overwhelmingly and consistently positive. MRC Business found only 15 stories (out of 335) on Trump’s business failures, and 320 stories promoting him as a businessman, his businesses and his shows. The vast majority of stories were about the network’s show The Apprentice, which featured Trump.