A slew of media critics and commentators shamed cable news networks for being “played” into providing free live coverage of a campaign event for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. After Trump teased a “major announcement,” cable news networks provided wall-to-wall coverage in anticipation that Trump would address criticism over his role in pushing conspiracy theories that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Trump’s mere seconds-long statement “came only after a lengthy campaign event featuring military officers and award winners who have endorsed him,” turning it into “a de facto commercial for the GOP candidate.”
Donald Trump Bills Event As A Major Address On His Role In Birther Conspiracy, Instead Uses It To Showcase Veteran Endorsements Of His Campaign
Chicago Tribune: Major Cable TV Networks Aired Trump Showcasing Veteran Endorsements At Event Promoted As An Address On His Birtherism. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, in a September 16 speech at his new hotel in Washington, D.C., “finally acknowledge[d] Obama was born in [the] U.S.” As the Chicago Tribune reported, Trump’s statement came after he spent "five years as the chief promoter of the false idea that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States.” The Tribune noted that Trump’s “statement of a few seconds came only after a lengthy campaign event featuring military officers and award winners who have endorsed him. Trump did not address the issue until the end of the event, turning it into a de facto commercial for the GOP candidate, as the major cable TV networks aired the full event live in anticipation of comments Trump had hyped hours before.” From the Chicago Tribune’s September 16 report:
After five years as the chief promoter of the false idea that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, Donald Trump admitted on Friday that the president was — and claimed credit for putting the issue to rest.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump said in brief televised remarks. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
But as Trump sought to put that false conspiracy theory to rest, he stoked another, claiming that the “birther movement” was started by rival Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence that is true.
Trump spoke against a backdrop of veterans in a sprawling ballroom at his new Washington hotel. His statement of a few seconds came only after a lengthy campaign event featuring military officers and award winners who have endorsed him. Trump did not address the issue until the end of the event, turning it into a de facto commercial for the GOP candidate, as the major cable TV networks aired the full event live in anticipation of comments Trump had hyped hours before. [Chicago Tribune, 9/16/16]
Reporters Shame Cable News For Being "Rick-Rolled Into A Trump Hotel Commercial”
CNN’s John King: “We Got Played -- Again -- Now By The Trump Campaign, Which Is What They Do.” Immediately after Trump’s remarks, CNN’s John King said the media “got played -- again -- now by the Trump campaign, which is what they do.” King explained that because Trump hyped the statement as an address about his birther claims, “He got a live event broadcast for ... 20-something minutes” on national cable news programs while he showcased veterans endorsing him. As King noted, after “four or five years of leading a fraudulent, reckless campaign against the legitimacy of the United States president, you got about, what, six or seven words from Donald Trump saying he’s decided it’s over.” From the September 16 edition of CNN’s At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan:
JOHN KING: So I really don't quite know what to make of that except for that we got played -- again -- now by the Trump campaign, which is what they do. He got a live event broadcast for, what, 20-something minutes. Kate, you were keeping the count. And Jake [Tapper] is absolutely right. We should all have great respect and reverence for those military heroes who are now making a political choice, just as the military heroes who made a different political choice and support Hillary Clinton. It’s no disrespect to any of those heroes who served our country and continue to serve our country in different ways. But we just got played. We just got played. And voters can decide what to make of that. You are right, Hillary Clinton's campaign never advanced it. Supporters of her did. And what those supporters did was reprehensible. But it was not the campaign itself. And there you got after, what, four or five years of leading a fraudulent, reckless campaign against the legitimacy of the United States president, you got about, what, six or seven words from Donald Trump saying he’s decided it’s over. I guess he gets to decide that. [CNN, At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan, 9/16/16]
Roland Martin: “The Headline Also Is Media Got Pimped And Played By Donald Trump Again.” On MSNBC Live, NewsOne Now host Roland Martin condemned the media for getting “pimped and played by Donald Trump again,” saying that Trump “hijacked the news cycle” by teasing a major announcement so the media gave him “free attention” for a “20-second statement”:
THOMAS ROBERTS (HOST): Roland, just earlier today, there was a tweet put out by one of Secretary Clinton’s advisers who said, “Trump used shameful claims about the president’s birth to generate news for himself. Now he’s trying to use it as a ploy to get votes. Deplorable.” What adjectives do you use to describe what you just witnessed here?
ROLAND MARTIN: Shameful, despicable, sickening, and absolutely pathetic. I think the headline also is media got pimped and played by Donald Trump again. For the last three to four hours he has hijacked the news cycle and what did he do? He gave a 20-second statement. Look at all the free attention he got, the free media he got. And so that's what you actually saw here. The fact of the matter is Donald Trump stood there and lied. His actions have been shameful. He could have easily disavowed this long ago. So literally the breaking news is that Donald Trump revealed what America has known for eight years. That's actually the breaking news. And so at some point we must be willing to call this what it is. And that is the actions of a sick individual who is willing to lie his way to the White House. [MSNBC, MSNBC Live, 9/16/16]
CNN’s Dylan Byers: “Donald Trump Games The Media.”
Donald Trump Games The Media:
1. Tease Major Announcement.
2. Get All Cameras on You.
3. Tout Your Hotel / Get Army Vets to Tout You.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) September 16, 2016
RealClearPolitics’ Caitlin Huey-Burns: “All Networks Taking The Trump Hotel Commercial Live.”
All networks taking the Trump hotel commercial live.
— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurnsRCP) September 16, 2016
Reuters’ James Oliphant: “Cable Nets Again Get Played Like A Fiddle By Trump Campaign.”
Cable nets again get played like a fiddle by Trump campaign.
— James Oliphant (@jamesoliphant) September 16, 2016
This is a Trump infomercial. CNN finally cuts away after 20 minutes.
— James Oliphant (@jamesoliphant) September 16, 2016
Mother Jones’ David Corn: “Has Trump Pulled A Bait And Switch On The Cable Nets?”
Has Trump pulled a bait and switch on the cable nets? Teased a big birther announcement. Then puts up vets who praise him.
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) September 16, 2016
The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser: “Mr. Trump, Before You Speak About The Birther Issue, Would You Like Us To Run A Few Of Your Campaign Ads?”
“Mr. Trump, before you speak about the birther issue, would you like us to run a few of your campaign ads?"
— Matt Viser (@mviser) September 16, 2016
Former NY Times Reporter Jim Roberts: “Once Again, The American News Media Gets Totally Played By Trump. Wall-To-Wall Coverage. We’re All Guilty.”
Once again, the American news media gets totally played by Trump. Wall-to-wall coverage. We’re all guilty.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) September 16, 2016
Politico’s Glenn Thrush: “18 Months Into This Cable Networks Are Still Letting Trump Hijack Them For Free Airtime -- Ad Time -- By Promising A ‘Major Announcement.’”
18 months into this cable networks are still letting Trump hijack them for free airtime -- ad time -- by promising a "major announcement'
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) September 16, 2016
Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall: “Maybe We Just Got Rick-Rolled Into A Trump Hotel Commercial.”
ok maybe we just got rick-rolled into a Trump Hotel commercial.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 16, 2016
Huff. Post’s Michael Calderone: “Networks Still Teasing With ‘Birther’ Chyron During Speeches As If That Justifies Taking Entire Event Live.”
Networks still teasing with “birther” chyron during speeches as if that justifies taking entire event live.
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) September 16, 2016