Donald Trump is trying to stop reporters from covering his campaign, so managers from CNN, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News are teaming up to present his campaign with a list of demands for proper access. If the Trump campaign does not come to an agreement with the media, the networks could stop assigning reporters to Trump.
According to people at multiple networks, senior managers from the five leading TV news networks — ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox and NBC News — will discuss their response in an effort to push back against what they deem harsh and restrictive behavior by Trump’s managers, including his top aide, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
For many years, candidates and elected officials have restricted reporters to a press zone during public events. The nominal reasons are safety and security, and to avoid disruptions that may occur during a speech if a camera crew were to jostle its way through a crowd.
But Trump’s campaign has enforced even tighter restrictions than is typical, such as ordering media people to stay in the pen before events. Some reporters covering Trump suspect the campaign is clamping down on their movements to block them from recording protests by activists and others during his appearances.
The Trump campaign denies press credentials to media organizations that it deems unfriendly, and has consistently threatened reporters with being blacklisted or having their credentials pulled.
The networks are combining to confront the campaign to demand the freedom that they need to do their jobs. If the Trump campaign doesn’t give the networks the freedom that they need, they could stop assigning reporters to cover Donald Trump.
Behind all of their tough talk and bullying, no campaign needs the news networks more than Donald Trump. The Republican frontrunner has spent very little money on ads, has no in-house polling, and is completely dependent on the free media coverage generated by the networks to get his message out.
If the networks stop covering Trump, he is screwed.
There is a constant tug of war between candidates and the media over access, but Trump’s treatment of the networks reveals that he does not care about the First Amendment. An informed electorate hurts Donald Trump. No candidate in modern presidential campaign history has relied more on ignorance and misinformation than Trump.
Reporters who wish to go to Trump events and report the facts are a threat to his success. The Trump campaign doesn’t want the media talking to his supporters because they to keep the racists and bigots who have been turning up at his rallies out of public view.
Trump needs the television networks more than they need him, and if the networks bail on him, his campaign will be finished.