Ratings and the Rise of Trump: ‘We’ve Cheapened the Coverage Tremendously’

By Mark Joyella Comment

In a conversation on Bloomberg’s Masters in Politics podcast, Republican presidential consultant Mike Murphy blamed the “ratings-first culture” in television for fueling the rise of Donald Trump.

“Trump is a carnival, and carnivals get ratings,” Murphy said. “So that’s why we see more kind of reality show spectacle on television than we do middle-brow cultural stuff. So on one hand I get the business. If Trump started doing human sacrifices they’d probably think, ‘How many cameras to bring?'”

Murphy suggests there will be some hard truths to face after the election, assuming network bosses take time to look back:

And so we’ve cheapened the coverage tremendously and it is, I think, when we look back there will be some soul searching in the media about, “Wow, we’ve found a three-legged dancing mule and we’ve stuck it on TV to make money selling sugar to kids and did we give the country the presidential debate it deserves?” And that will be their question to ask themselves.