People will be parsing this election for years to come. Here’s one thing I know: Journalism failed us badly. Since we are going to need good journalism more than ever in the days ahead, I offer some thoughts about what went wrong:
- The bottomless well of Trump coverage early on. This is mostly attributable to cable, but it was true of television more broadly, and it influenced print and online media as well.
I included this chart from the New York Times in my March 28 blogpost: A tough test for Journalism and the Midterm Grades Aren’t Good.
As the Times story said, “Over the course of the campaign, he has earned close to $2 billion worth of media attention, about twice the all-in price of the most expensive presidential campaigns in history. It is also twice the estimated $746 million that Hillary Clinton, the next best at earning media, took in.”
Of this development, CBS Chairman Les Moonves famously said: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” Here’s what else he said: “Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? The money’s rolling in and this is fun. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”
He did. So did they.