The Mainstream media is thriving because of President Trump

Mainstream media has President Trump to thank for a spike in interest

As President Donald Trump battles the “mainstream media,” and attacks them for what he calls “fake news.” It might surprise many that things could not be better on the mainstream media front with CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times, all seeing an up-tick in business.

While, Fox News remains both President Trump’s favorite information outlet and tops the ratings there are plenty of mainstream news outlets that remain popular. CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post all are doing fine in large part because of their coverage of President Trump.

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Love him or hate him President Trump is a ratings success and he sells newspapers. The he battles the press, the best the ratings and the more people read about his new role as president.

CNN worldwide president Jeff Zucker is happy that his old partner is now the president of the United States. It was Zucker, who pushed NBC to launch Trump’s The Apprentice in 2004 when he was head of entertainment at the network. A relationship that benefited both men and their friendship was strong until last fall’s campaign.

Ironically, Zucker took flack from the GOP establishment including the former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, for airing so many Donald Trump rallies during the the Presidential Primary season. The other candidates complained that CNN was too pro-Trump.

Zucker denied that he helped secure coverage of Trump on CNN or that the network’s constant coverage helped him clinch the Republican nomination.

He insisted that Trump would agree to do interviews on various CNN shows, while some of the other Republican candidates would not.

“Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush went two months without agreeing to do an interview. That’s not Trump’s fault. That’s not CNN’s fault,” he said.

Then when it came to the general election, CNN became a target of candidate Trump along with the rest of the “mainstream media.”

While, no other news outlet has been the subject of more ire from President Trump it doesn’t to be hurting the CNN brand. They remain second behind Fox News but last month’s ratings showed them to be stronger than ever.

In January, New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota was back on top, beating MSNBC’s Morning Joe in the key demo 25-54 (154k vs. 144k).  New Day has now topped MSNBC for two of the last three months (November 2016 and January 2017).  CNN Tonight with Don Lemon was up the most vs. last year in weekday prime time cable news (8-11pm) among both total viewers (+78%) and adults 25-54 (+85%), with the network now beating MSNBC at 10pm for 30 of the past 31 months in the important key demo 25-54.

How about the newspaper part of the mainstream media and of course the failing New York Times?

The New York Times has added 41,000 paid subscriptions across its print and digital platforms in the week since the presidential election, representing the largest subscription increase since it introduced its pay-wall in 2011. They have spent a great deal of money in expanding their political coverage.

Despite being called a liberal publication The Times has two of the most respected conservative columnists in the business. Maureen Dowd, is one of the country’s best conservative columnists and in 1995 she won the Pulitzer Prize for her series of columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the Clinton administration.

The Times, also has three other top conservative columnists, David Brooks, Frank Bruni, and Rodger Cohn, who is considered one of the top voices on the right when it comes to international affairs.

As for President Trump’s new home town newspaper The Washington Post, owner Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO he has focused on building a strong digital platform. He has spent a great deal of money in investigative and political reporting that seems to be paying off big time.

They like the New York Times, have seen a big bump in traditional subscriptions. But The Washington Post, had an astounding digital-only subs growth in 2016 of 145 percent over 2015. Suddenly, becoming an international newspaper with the new digital subscriptions coming mostly from the U.S. outside of D.C. and including a “significant” portion from overseas, according to Beth Diaz, vp of audience development and analytics.

Also The Washington Post has shown its ability to make big traffic gains, aggressively embracing social platforms like Facebook and pumping out more viral video fare. In 2016 The Washington Post, surpassed The New York Times in traffic, with multiplatform uniques now at 63 million, up 32 percent year over year, according to comScore.

Bezos likes to keep The Post, an independent newspaper that has plenty of progressive columnists but also cover things from the right.

Conservative mainstays like George Will, and Charles Krauthammer both work for The Post, and the paper syndicates them to over 400 papers worldwide. But they also have conservative voices like former Orlando native, Kathleen Parker, who won the 2010, Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for “her perceptive, often witty columns on an array of political and moral issues, gracefully sharing the experiences and values that lead her to unpredictable conclusions.”  

There is no doubt that CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post are the mainstream media but they aren’t going away. So, while it has been a good year for conservative media the mainstream media has done very well thanks’ to President Trump.

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.