On Thursday, President Trump held an impromptu interview with the “failing” New York Times. In it, he laid for his theory of why he will win in 2020: the media won’t allow him to lose. He’s too good for business. He explained:
Another reason that we’re going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be, not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times… They basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, 'Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.' O.K.
Trump’s not wrong here. The media is in love with Trump – he’s making their business great again. The attention on Trump has driven traffic to record rates for publications like The New York Times. Here’s the Google search data for 2017 through September – and just look how Trump drives the news cycle.
Trump operates at a different speed than other presidents; he generates news every single day. Other presidents require major initiatives to make news; Trump tweets stuff. The media are out of their minds over his election, so every new controversy is treated as an apocalyptic event – but that interest isn’t restricted to media members. The American people are fascinated by the greatest reality television show in history. They were last year, too, which is one reason the media gave Trump $2 billion in free media coverage during the Republican primaries. It’s also why they broadcast his full speeches during the campaign. Trump knows ratings, and Trump isratings.