Greg Sargent, a writer for the Washington Post recently published an article analyzing how mainstream media networks are planning on covering Donald Trump as the 2024 election looms closer. Trump is rumored to run for president again, and as of the date of writing it appears as if he is the favorite. Opposition to Trump running for a second term is high at 58%, but 64% believe Biden shouldn’t run again, which is extremely concerning for the Democratic party. Not to mention, Kamala Harris’ approval rating is worse than Biden’s 38% at an abysmal 28%.
As a heavy critic of mainstream media, it is admittedly somewhat refreshing to see at-least a portion of the on-air personalities self-critique themselves as to not repeat their mistakes in covering Trump in 2016 which gave him billions of dollars in free advertising and arguably helped him win. Jon Karl of NBC News said this about how the media should cover a Trump 2024 run:
“It’s an immense challenge because you’re covering — you’re covering essentially an anti-democratic candidate, you’re covering somebody running in a system that is trying to undermine that very system and somebody who is going to be perpetually lying.”
I agree with Karl in this sentiment, but I also think it is important not to overthink their strategy. If the goal is not to boost Trump up, the media needs to stop openly dogging on him constantly, because that emboldens his supporters and makes them feel like they are supporting an outsider candidate, which is an attractive idea. Instead, I think the solution lays in treating him like just another candidate. Prioritize airing stories that actually effect the American people: the infrastructure bill, the current state of COVID, etc., and only mention Trump when is it contextually relevant to do so.