Donald Trump promised a major statement about his embrace of conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birthplace.
Instead, he fooled the three major cable news networks into airing a 20-minute infomercial about his hotel and his candidacy. With the “breaking news” chyron on, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN played footage of veterans praising Trump and Trump praising his own hotel.
And then Trump showed up on stage for less than two minutes to say that Obama was born in the United States.
This is what people mean when they complain about how “the media” has covered the Trump campaign.
You do almost wonder whether this runs afoul of equal time laws. Right?— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 16, 2016
>@jaketapper just called Trump’s event a “political rickroll.”— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 16, 2016
The fact that some Medal of Honor winners like Trump is not breaking news. News networks have no obligation to broadcast every minute of a candidate’s event just because he promised that eventually he’d say something they were interested in hearing.
If the Trump campaign were paying to air that praise for their candidate, the cost would have been exorbitant.
If Hillary Clinton is late to an event, cable networks don’t uncritically air 30 minutes of her supporters talking about how great she is; they cut away, and they return to airing the event when there’s something happening that’s actually of national interest. CNN eventually cut away, but not until after airing more than 20 minutes of Trump supporters praising their candidate. MSNBC cut away after nearly 25 minutes.
CNN first to cut away, anchor explains CNN got duped into covering event's open. Don't think I've seen that before.— Patrick Reis (@Patrick_C_Reis) September 16, 2016
At this point, the bait and switch can’t possibly be a surprise. During the primaries, Donald Trump turned a victory speech at Mar-a-Lago into an infomercial for Trump brands. The networks didn’t cut away then, and they haven’t learned their lesson now.