From the March 21 edition of Bloomberg News' With All Due Respect:
MARK HALPERIN: How much of Trump's great, luminous coverage is his doing, and how much is it just the press acting on its own, do you think?
JIM RUTENBERG: You know, it's -- my favorite quote that actually my colleague Maureen Dowd got, was Trump said to her late last week “You know, I do these tweets, and they could be totally insignificant, and they break right into the news,” so it's not all his doing. It's a symbiosis.
HALPERIN: If Trump continues to get coverage like this, in this volume, and he is the nominee and Hillary Clinton is the nominee, do you think that will be a huge advantage for him in a general election? Just the huge volume of coverage, as compared to her?
RUTENBERG: You know, I do, because a lot of people make the argument, and maybe -- you know, I'm sure we would all agree, right, I think we do, that not all the coverage is positive. But, I don't know, do you remember in 2004, when the war was being discussed a lot, and reporters would say to the Bush strategist “Hey, they're talking about the war, it's not going well,” and they always said “As long as we're talking about the war, we are winning.” As long as we are talking about Trump, he is winning.
AL HUNT: Jim, it's Al Hunt. First of all, great debut today, but you know, in reading your column, you pointed out that FOX, and Chuck Todd of NBC said “No more of this special treatment where you get to phone in on Sunday interviews,” which is a much easier interview. And then I watched George Stephanopoulos, who let him phone in, and he just slam dunked the ABC moderator. If he -- if one does it, aren't the others going to cave in?
RUTENBERG: I don't know, because now I'm thinking “Well, maybe George decides, and they didn't want to talk about it very much,” but maybe George decides “Hey, you know what? Those guys aren't going to take him on the phone, I will. I'll get a spike in the ratings.”
HUNT: Well, but as you know, a phone interview for a subject is a lot easier than an in-person interview, and Trump almost always does well at those situations.
RUTENBERG: I mean, my impression when I see that is that he steamrolls the interviewer.
It's like they can't break in, and my bigger problem with it is those big -- these Sunday broadcast shows, the traditional public affairs shows, those shows were based on “Here is the candidate” at the advent of television, we see them, it's not radio. So, I don't know why they would want to abdicate that responsibility, and you know, something you know they built proudly over decades.