With November 7 months away, will the press play up Trump to keep readers clicking?

Posted May 9

There's still seven months to go until the November presidential elections, yet the race has already been whittled down to two main candidates, GOP hopeful Donald Trump and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

It's likely a little premature to turn the focus of news coverage to the general election, the Poynter Institute argued, and major networks who continue to oversimplify the campaign do their readers a disservice.

"It's on to the General Election campaign now that it's decreed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the party nominees," Poynter's James Warren wrote. "But, rather than offering us county-by-county breakdowns, replete with disclosure of all information, CNN's John King was giving an early state-by-state rundown for the fall."

The next seven months create quite a waiting game for both the American public and the media outlets who hope to keep them informed, a game media critics wonder if the press with try and work to their advantage. Will the press, which often reduces political coverage to a horse race, give the lion's share of its pre-election coverage to Trump in an effort to keep readers coming back for more?

Yes, says Vox reporter David Roberts.

"The campaign press requires, for its ongoing health and advertising revenue, a real race. It needs controversies. 'Donald Trump is not fit to be president' may be the accurate answer to pretty much every relevant question about the race, but it's not an interesting answer," Roberts wrote. "It's too final, too settled. No one wants to click on it."

Then again, as Poynter pointed out in its roundup of morning headlines, many outlets are focused on ways Clinton stands to eclipse Trump in a general election.

The Washington Post posited that Clinton would give Trump the battle of his political life with a "costly and vicious" race to the White House; The National Review called Trump an "underdog" against Clinton. Perhaps the U.S. News and World Report's headline hit the nail most squarely on the head with months to go until November: "We Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet."


Twitter: ChandraMJohnson


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