The Media was the Message
Canadian communication professor, Marshall McLuhan, 40 years after his death, has been shown to be a fortuneteller more than a communications theorist.
The unlikely rapid rise of businessman Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, and what may be the even more dramatic decline, shows that the medium truly is the message.
The Canadian died in 1980, before the Internet became the world’s lingua franca.
But his determination that electronic transmission of news itself was more important than the news delivered became a widely accepted article of faith in the 2016 presidential race.
No matter how racist, stupid, insulting or outrageous Trump became he got more coverage and high poll numbers.
He had actually had his own “reality TV” show spawned by his billions in the real estate industry.
He also got more viewers for the networks that telecast them when he became a candidate.
“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” said CBS CEO Les Moonves in February. “They’re not discussing issues, they’re throwing bombs at each other.”
The inmates were in charge of asylum.
Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy studied the beginnings of the race and found there was an “invisible primary,” before the voting, that made it possible for Trump to gain popularity.
The report found claims the media favored Trump over the other candidates, and in fact created him.
It has been reported that Trump got $2 billion in free coverage on American television.
Hillary Clinton, who led in early polling, got the least and most negative coverage. Bernie Sanders got less coverage than Trump but it was much more favorable.
Trump bragged at one point that he could shoot someone and his ratings would rise.
It has been said that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans.
But put another way, perhaps his precipitous fall, which has Republican leaders talking of replacing him as their candidate, may make sense.
Perhaps people became bored with Trump?
If that is the problem then his show will simply be cancelled.
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Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.
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