The Murdoch Media Complex: Donald Trump & Main-Stream Media

Posted on September 13, 2016 by


Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg

News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch listens during a forum on The Economics and Politics of Immigration where Murdoch and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke to a business organization In Boston, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

The shock and awe of the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee was widespread among the general voting population (republican and democrats alike) as well as pundits at almost every news outlet. If one was to listen to the political pundits Mr. Trump never had a foreseeable chance at the nomination, however we saw a fanatical fascination with the billionaire, the question is why, and how was this infatuation propelled into political momentum? Was it the voting public that had this infatuation with Trump or the news media (MSNBC, FOX, CNN ETC.) to drive up ratings?

During the nomination process it was amazing to watch the coverage on the 24 hour news outlets, most shockingly MSNBC who covered Trump. MSNBC would cover every campaign event, speech, and move that Trump made virtually giving him a platform for free, to entice controversy, spread his narrative, and remain the driving topic in nearly every 24 hour news cycle. In comparison to other candidates in both parties Trump got nearly double earned (earned coverage being that rewarded by networks on shows) coverage at 1.898 Billion, Hillary Clinton who got the second most coverage only received 746 Million in earned coverage, fringe candidates such as Jindal and Graham got 7 million & 15 Million respectively. Take John Kasich who remained in the race nearly that same amount of time as Trump, he only received 38 Million in coverage, and Ted Cruz only received 313 Million in earned coverage. Never before in the history of American Politics have we seen such a disparity in coverage or attention. It is my belief that this disparity is the causal link as to why Trump won the nomination, the hype in coverage fueled the political narrative of the whole nomination process giving a fundamental advantage to the Trump organization. Not only that other candidates were unable to create their own narrative rather they needed to respond to media coverage of Trump and shift their message to combat his or align to remain competitive.


This meant for the others attempting to spread their narrative or combat the rhetoric of Donald Trump had to raise more money and spend that money on ad space rather than a grass-roots ground operation. A prime example of this is Jeb Bush who dropped out quickly due to his campaigns financial problems, he also spent the most money on ads to combat Trump at 82 Million. Not only did Trump get the edge by remaining in the News cycle and number one topic of most news outlets, he also fundamentally had to raise less money, and not rely on a the ground game or grass-root organization that has been a proven path to the nomination in the past. All Trump needed to do was say something outlandish or tweet an abrasive comment to achieve recognition coupled with validity (provided by news outlets) to see gains in polls. All in all this news media complex nominated Donald Trump not populism, populism allowed Trump a gateway and narrative to capture disenfranchised voters who in turn rely on mainstream media for news. The fundamental problem with relying on mainstream media for news is the shift we have seen accelerate in the last 20 years away from empirical fact based meaningful coverage to ideological, propagandist commentary based not in fact but opinion. This shift in the way news is presented to the general voting population I call the Murdoch Media Complex

Starting with the conception of Fox News (Fair and Balanced Reporting) in February of 1996, is when we see the acceleration of this neo-reporting culture. Rupert Murdoch was infatuated with Ronald Reagan and began to direct his media empire to express that political ideology rather than unbiased empirical fact. Rather than citing facts the line used in Fox (as well as other outlets) is “Some-People say that” to provide evidence to a claim. When facts are presented as opinion based in belief systems that can’t be proven wrong, they are cited to invoked emotion rather than logical reasoning. This shift in reporting also fuels the emotional response of the audience creating dogma’s, beliefs, and perceptions that are false. This then is capitalized on by candidates like Trump via fear mongering and other tactics to increase political engagement, based in belief systems not national interest or empirical fact. This is truly the first election we will see the full brunt of the Murdoch Media Complex, and it will forever change the political landscape, how the voting population is informed (or manipulated), and further blur the line between empirical fact or reality, and beliefs, values, and ideologies.

Michael C. Seidel

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