March 31, 2016


How Trump Hacked The Media : Trump's dominance on cable news isn't the whole story. (NATE SILVER, 3/31/16, 538)

Sunday marked the 286th day of Trump's campaign, which began June 16. From the start, he's been a media phenomenon. According to The New York Times, Trump has received the equivalent of $1.9 billion in television coverage while having spent only $10 million on paid advertising. By contrast, Trump's Republican rivals combined have received slightly less than $1.2 billion worth of television coverage, meaning that Trump has been the subject of the clear majority (62 percent) of candidate-focused TV coverage of the Republican race.

There's a perception that Trump has dominated television coverage more than coverage in print or digital media outlets, but it's not clear that's true. A study we conducted in December found that 54 percent of newspaper stories about the Republican candidates were about Trump, not that far from his share of TV coverage. (For transparency's sake: Among stories FiveThirtyEight has published where a Republican candidate's name has appeared in the URL -- which most often mirrors the headline -- 43 percent have been about Trump.1)

For a further sense of how digital outlets are covering the race, we can borrow a technique I've used in the past, which is to record the top story as of noon each day from the news aggregator Memeorandum. The site uses an algorithm to determine which stories are leading political coverage on the Internet; the details of the calculation are somewhat opaque, but a lot of it is based on which stories are being linked to by other news organizations and what themes are commonly recurring among different news outlets. Simply put, Memeorandum is a good indicator of what stories journalists are talking about.

Through Sunday, Trump had been the lead story on Memeorandum on 104 days, or 36 percent of the time since he announced his candidacy. However, Trump is competing for coverage against not only other Republican candidates but also Democrats, along with other international and national news stories.2 Of the days when a story about the Republican campaign led Memeorandum, it was a Trump-related story 68 percent of the time.

Besides the country and the party, you have to feel sorry for his opponents who never could have planned against nor effectively reacted to such a phenomenon.

Posted by at March 31, 2016 1:36 PM