If you thought the mainstream media’s worst nightmare was a Donald Trump presidency, you’d be wrong. During the 2016 election, the media absolutely loved Donald Trump. His “tell it like it is” personality was must see TV, causing the media to cover him nonstop. The more they covered, the more their ratings went up. Candidate Trump was a media cash cow.Of course, Trump ended up defying expectations. Despite what the pundits thought, he ended up winning the Republican nomination. No big deal, that just gave them three more months of huge ratings. After all, there was no way he was actually going to beat Hillary Clinton. Ultimately, he proved them wrong again in November.
Despite this, his general election victory was good for business. In the aftermath, networks like CNN and MSNBC have seen a ratings boom over their coverage of Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign. Papers like the New York Times and Washington Post have had a ton of success, usually by publishing damaging stories from anonymous sources.Through it all, the mainstream media has enriched itself by portraying Trump as the ultimate boogeyman. However, as time goes on and their made-up scandals fail to materialize, the media is starting to realize that its true worst nightmare may come true. There’s a chance that despite all of the negative coverage, Trump might become a successful president.
From the Guardian:
Meanwhile Trump finally caught a break on the worst crisis facing his presidency, the multiple investigations into his election campaign’s links to Russia. First, David Brooks, a Trump critic and New York Times columnist, suggested that the scandal may be overblown.“There may be a giant revelation still to come,” Brooks wrote. “But as the Trump-Russia story has evolved, it is striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred – that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians. Everything seems to be leaking out of this administration, but so far the leaks about actual collusion are meagre.”
Then, the Washington Post published a major investigation that raised questions over whether Obama could have done more to stop Moscow’s interference in last year’s poll, quoting one former administration official as saying: “I feel like we sort of choked.”
Not to be outdone, CNN was also forced to admit their misleading coverage:He was handed another gift when CNN was forced to retract a report, citing a single anonymous source, that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials”. It changed nothing about the Russia-related cloud over Trump but it did feed into his narrative that untrustworthy media organisations are conspiring against him.
With the fake scandals exposed for what they were, British historian Niall Ferguson revealed what the real nightmare for the media would be:
“I said last summer to a bunch of liberal friends, ‘Your worst nightmare is not a Trump presidency; it’s a successful Trump presidency.’ The successful Trump presidency scenario is one in which, despite it all, the economy does better thanks to deregulation and tax cuts, foreign policy delivers some big wins on North Korea, the Middle East.Unlike Trump’s impeachment, his successes are starting to come to fruition. With the economy steadily improving, ISIS in retreat, and North Korea on notice, Trump has started to rack up some major achievements.
Without the overblown scandals to fall back on, the media faces the prospect of having to admit the error of their ways. However, doing so would likely be the final straw for a public that already has little trust in their ability to be fair. It’s a nightmare scenario for the media, one that looks to be coming true.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]