CNN’s Trump coverage narrows space for political conversation

Donald Trump, whose campaign for the presidency has been alarmingly successful thus far, has been a field day for CNN. They’ve run on average more than two articles a day since his campaign announcement on June 16. They’ve given him three hours of airtime a week and have dedicated half of their daily news coverage to him — a business plan that even the Fox News network hasn’t applied to their “enemies.” CNN has ushered a poll and a handful of editorials every week. While CNN is formally “exposing” Trump — their articles of choice have been op-eds on Donald Trump’s political spars with other GOP candidates — it has also given a reliable platform for his vitriol.

The truth is that CNN’s plan to take down Trump so that the public can focus on “legitimate candidates whose motives are to help America” is backfiring. CNN is covering so much Trump that it has heralded as the informative platform for his supporters and foes alike. When such an influential media force devotes so much of its resources to superficial coverage of one candidate, the very serious national conversation about who the next president should be is diluted at best and totally derailed at worst.

CNN’s pseudo exposé efforts aren’t even a fraction of the damage done by Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo’s “Hardball-style” interviews. The two frequently ask Trump about other candidates, China, ISIS, FEMA and the Federal Reserve. They look through the vault to try to stump Trump. Cuomo even closes these interviews in a semi-distraught tone with a “hit me up on social media with the hashtag Trump to let me know what you think.” But like the articles, they’re giving Trump airtime.

In its sub-par attempt to do justice, CNN has fallen into the dismal political game that Trump has created. There is a certain truth to the phrase “no PR is bad PR.” Many on the left blame the questions and topics that CNN chooses to use against Trump, claiming that they lack “point” or “agency.” This isn’t a question of content, however, or of the ways in which coverage of Trump should be framed. Based on the way the campaign’s media circus has gone so far, any framing of Trump will end up working to his advantage. If you want to beat him, CNN, stop talking about him.