The CEO of CBS, Les Moonves, has been famously touting (perhaps not famously enough...) just how great for business all of the rancor and dissension this election year actually is.
In a conference call... he [Moonves] was even more bullish, telling investors, “Looking ahead, the 2016 presidential election is right around the corner, and, thank God, the rancor has already begun.”
“So what can I say? The money’s rolling in, this is fun,” Moonves continued, observing that the debates had attracted record audiences.
The CBS media executive also riffed briefly about the type of campaign advertising spending produced by such a negative presidential campaign. “They’re not even talking about issues. They’re throwing bombs at each other and I think the advertising reflects that.” Moonves added, “I’ve never seen anything like this and this is going to be a very good year for us. …
But the CEO cited Donald Trump, in particular, as the linchpin of it all:
Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, celebrated Donald Trump’s candidacy for the second time on Monday, calling it “good for us economically.”
It’s a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald, go ahead, keep going.”
“...Go Donald! Keep getting out there!” Moonves said, commenting on the presidential race.
The only problem with this, is that without any significant campaign organization (or money) to speak of (There is No Trump Campaign) , Trump has managed to now come neck-and-and in the polls with the person at the head of what is perhaps the slickest, most well-oiled and well-funded political campaign in history.
How is this possible, you may well ask? We only have to go not too far back to find the truth, straight from the humble one’s ghostwriter’s (of “The Art of the Deal”) mouth: "One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better … If you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you."
One study found that in the course of a year, Trump made 68 appearances on Sunday talk shows, while Clinton did just 21.
From US News and World Report's "Master of Manipulation":
Thank you. It's great to be here at 'Saturday Night Live' but – I'll be completely honest – it's even better for 'Saturday Night Live' that I'm here. Nobody's bigger than me. Nobody's better than me. I'm a ratings machine!"
That's not the leaked script of Donald Trump's opening monologue for this weekend's edition of "Saturday Night Live." That's the transcript of the last time Donald Trump hosted SNL– in 2004.
In fact, Trump has dominated the campaign coverage on ABC, NBC and CBS evening news broadcasts, nearly double the number of minutes as Hillary Clinton and more than three times as much as Jeb Bush. In August alone, Trump got almost twice as much airtime on the network evening news broadcasts as all other GOP candidates combined.
When Trump insults war heroes, women, immigrants, his fellow candidates, Congress, members of the media – the list goes on and on – those are not one-off spontaneous outbursts where Trump is just popping off. Those are carefully planned "outrageous," "sensational" stories used as bait to get the press to write about him – by his own admission. And it's working.
This is no coincidence. Trump may be a fool regarding a lot of things, but certainly not when it comes to Public Relations:
Ed Rollins, the Republican campaign consultant and campaign director for the Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign, says it would have cost "$100 million, easily, to get the attention Trump" has gotten since entering this year's race. "I've been around the business for 50 years," Rollins told MSNBC. "I haven't ever seen a candidate get this kind of attention over this sustained period of time."
That $100 million is money that Donald Trump hasn't had to raise or spend. And he planned it exactly that way. Back to "The Art of the Deal:"
"From a pure business point of view, the benefits of being written about have far outweighed the drawbacks," writes Trump. "It's really quite simple. If I take a full-page ad in the New York Times to publicize a project, it might cost $40,000 … But if the New York Times writes even a moderately positive one-column story about one of my deals, it doesn't cost me anything, and it's worth a lot more than $40,000."
When he first entered the race in June, Trump told The New York Times, he thought he'd spend $15 million on campaign commercials this summer – but then didn't have to because of the "free nationwide publicity" that the cable news networks provided him.
"I've gotten so much free advertising, it's like nothing I'd have expected," he told the Times. "When you look at cable television, a lot of the programs are 100 percent Trump, so why would you need more Trump during the commercial breaks?"He told an audience in Waterloo, Iowa recently that running television ads at this point would make people "O.D. on Trump."
It would be truly and tragically ironic if the end of this nation comes at the hands of an amoral carnival barker, exploiting the unmediated (pun intended) greed of our “Fourth Estate”.
We have to demand that it stops, now. The Trump campaign has no money, no organization. But, astoundingly, Mr. Trump has figured out that as long as you’re on TV all day long, why waste any real time and effort in order to pay for it?
Pull the plug on Trump’s free Media Ride, and the Trump campaign disappears.
He loses, period. Big, big, big time.
Can we make the media decide which is more important, an Imbecile-in-Chief and the possible end of this country as we’ve known it... or their profit margin?
Les Moonves would have us know that the answer is far from obvious:
Moonves, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference at the Park Hotel in San Francisco, described the “circus” of a presidential campaign… and stated that it “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS, that’s all I got to say.”