Trump’s Gift to Cable

How his uncommon candidacy boosts the bottom line

Donald Trump is revitalizing the GOP — or he is killing it.

Trump is the only one cutting through the noise to speak to the issues conservatives truly care about — or he is confusing everyone about just about everything.

As the opinions and reactions to his uncommon presidential candidacy continue to circulate, one thing is certain. His candidacy is making the folks at cable news stations mighty happy.

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Ad Age reports that CNN is seeking 40 times its standard commercial time rate for a spot broadcast during the Sept. 16 GOP primetime debate. Ratings for Fox News’ debate on Aug. 6 were downright startling — there were 24 million viewers. That gave Fox News the highest-rated telecast in its history.

No matter where Trump sits in the polls next week or next year, for that matter, his candidacy has been a revelation for outlets that otherwise might be suffering through a dull end-of-summer spell.

Nothing’s dull about Donald Trump. He’s the perfect fodder for 24/7 news channels.

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Nothing’s dull about Donald Trump. He’s the perfect fodder for 24/7 news channels. He tweets with alacrity, stirs any pot that might need stirring, and often speaks before thinking through his positions. He crosses from politics to business to reality television without a hiccup. He’s a bona fide business success story who happens to own a TV franchise in NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

He also refuses to say he’s sorry for anything, which upends the Apology Tour Circuit. Reporters put their microphones in his face, all but pleading for a mea culpa for one transgression or another. He won’t bite.

Reporters eat it all up even when Trump is throwing verbal haymakers at them. No candidate in recent memory has been as tough on scribes as he has been. The campaign is but a few months old, but he’s already challenged Fox News superstar Megyn Kelly, Univision’s Jorge Ramos and CNN in general.

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“CNN is terrible … you people do not cover us accurately at all,” Trump declared, commenting on what he saw as unequal media treatment connected to public protests.

Trump knows how to find an open mic. It’s instinctual for him, and it’s served him well so far during his foray into politics.

The irony is that the current political climate might not be a snooze without Trump. Consider Hillary Clinton’s fall because of her email woes, and the ramifications of her foundation’s choice of donors. Joe Biden might still get into the race, and look at the ascendant performance of Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, in the polls. Within the GOP, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is moving up in the polls, while Carly Fiorina is transitioning from a longshot candidate to a potential force with her fierce, and focused, media interviews.

Yet none of these scenarios trump Trump. Cable executives are keeping fingers crossed that his run extends well into 2016 for their bottom lines.

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