Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has repeatedly accused journalists of failing to show the size of the crowds that come to his rallies, hinting that unethical journalists try to minimize Trump’s appeal by keeping cameras tight on the candidate himself.
“Turn it. Turn it,” Trump said at a recent rally in Biloxi, Miss., urging photographers to pan around and show the packed arena. But one camera stayed fixed on Trump, and that seemed to set the candidate off. “Look at the guy in the middle. Why aren’t you turning that camera? Why aren’t you turning the camera?”
Trump said the man’s failure to turn the camera was “disgusting… they don’t want to show the crowd. They’re really dishonest people… it’s so damn unfair, the press.” Trump demanded to know “Who do you shoot for?”
Well, as Fox News Channel White House producer Wes Barrett pointed out on Facebook, the photographer was shooting, essentially, for everybody. He was the pool camera–and his job was to stay on the candidate and leave the cutaways to others. “By agreements reached years ago, the pool head on camera that is serving ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC is required to stay on a well-composed, tight shot of the person speaking,” Barrett wrote on Facebook. “It’s protective, mainly in case something happens to the most high-profile person in the building.
Trump, who is often credited with understanding the media better than any candidate, used the locked-down shot as a foil to rally his audience against the media. “Having a network head-on camera at your event signifies stature and Trump and his staffers should understand this by now,” Barrett writes. “He created an ugly scene for absolutely no reason.”