We have already covered at some length how the media – especially the network news – pays disproportionate attention to Donald Trump, relative to his position in the polls. One of the things that’s been most interesting is that they have covered Trump over five times more than Cruz, who is often not even the second most covered candidate, even though he has been #2 in national polls for some time.
You might have expected that Ted Cruz winning Iowa would get him some more network news coverage. After all, his win was a surprise, as almost all the polls showed him losing to Trump coming down the stretch. However, you would be wrong. The folks at the Media Research Center performed a study of the network news and found that after winning Iowa, the networks actually covered Cruz less:
Not only did conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz win the Iowa caucuses last Monday, but his victory was a surprise: most polls leading up to the event had shown billionaire businessman Donald Trump out in front. In the past, such surprise victories have been followed by a burst of positive news media attention — the famous “Iowa bump” that presidential candidates covet as a way to turbo-charge their campaigns. Think John Kerry in 2004, or Barack Obama in 2008.
But a Media Research Center study of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage finds that Ted Cruz has actually received what might be called a negative bump in the week since Iowa, garnering fewer minutes of total TV news airtime (16 minutes, vs. 21 minutes before the caucuses) and a significantly smaller share of GOP campaign coverage than he had in the week leading up to the caucuses (17.8%, vs. 24.8% earlier).
Not only did Cruz take a back seat to Iowa runners-up Marco Rubio and Donald Trump in overall coverage, much of the attention the Texas Senator did receive was negative. Roughly half (49%) of Cruz’s airtime was devoted to allegations his team perpetrated a “dirty trick” on competitor Ben Carson on caucus night by circulating news reports that Carson would not go directly to the next contest, New Hampshire, after the Iowa vote.
Yet another reason that Donald Trump lost his mind on twitter the day after Iowa – he simply cannot allow the media oxygen to be sucked out of his tent, because it is the only thing keeping his campaign alive. So he does whatever is necessary to keep the attention on him, then whines to his supporters that the media is treating him “unfairly,” which solidifies their support for him.
Not a bad gig if you can find it, and if there’s a media interested in electing Hillary who is willing to play along.