The New Hampshire primary results are in and they tell us something far more significant than merely who won. There are some stark differences in the way the winners for each party managed to achieve their victories.
The Republican race has been a seventeen ring circus for most of the past seven months. And the reality TV tenor of the campaign is due almost entirely to one man: Donald Trump. From the day he announced his candidacy with a hate-filled speech that castigated Latinos as rapists and murderers, to his embrace of and by white supremacists, Trump’s antics have served to expose Republican voters as ready to follow his racist, misogynistic crusade to the very gates of Hell.
Compare that to the Democratic race where, while there have been some sharp elbows thrown from time to time, for the most part it has been a campaign focused on issues and the differences between the candidates. Not once has either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders called the other a “loser” or a “p*ssy” or told any of their constituents to go “f**k themselves” (yep, Trump really did that).
However, the truly startling thing that the New Hampshire results reveal is the very lopsided role the media played a in how the campaigns progressed. Specifically, the television news coverage of the campaigns was strikingly different. As Media Matters reported in December, the three broadcast networks lavished Trump with an astonishing 234 minutes of coverage. And during the same period of time from the same networks, Sanders received 10 minutes of coverage. No, that is not a typo. In fact, Trump received more network coverage than all of the Democratic candidates combined, including non-candidate Joe Biden.
Then, when you add Fox News to the mix, Trump got another 23 hours of coverage in 119 appearances. Of course, the number for Sanders on Fox was zero. Even among other Republican candidates, none received even ten hours of airtime. Media Matters calculated the value of the airtime Trump was given at roughly $30 million, if he had to pay for it in advertising. Even Trump thought this was ridiculous and said so at a rally:
“Every time I go on television it’s gotta be live. It’s live. I said ‘Oh, can I have a rest please?’ Tonight it is live on Fox. Who likes Fox? I like Fox. It’s live on CNN. Who likes CNN? And it’s live on MSNBC, right? How come it always has to be live? Why don’t they just cover me like anybody else where they go the next day and they show little clips? Every time I speak it has to be live. It’s ridiculous, but it’s OK. Right? We have to suffer with it.”
The media has been playing into Trump’s hands by treating him as if he were Kim Kardashian and every public move or utterance had some prurient interest to their viewers. Even though his events rarely produced anything that was remotely newsworthy, the networks rushed to put him on live in the hopes that he might burst an artery or slap an elderly widow.
Consequently, Trump now brags that he has spent very little on his campaign but still achieved an important victory. The truth, however, is that he got tens of millions of dollars in free advertising that his rivals had to actually pay. His success was handed to him as gift by the media that he bitches about in every speech.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, got his victory the old fashioned way – he earned it by raising funds from millions of supporters and communicating a positive message to appreciative voters. He had little to no help from the so-called “liberal” media. And this obvious disparity in coverage is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. That is, unless either Trump is caught in bed with a fourteen year old boy or Sanders agrees to appear on Dancing With The Stars.