by John Ziegler | 10:00 pm, February 9th, 2016
As poorly executed and painful to watch as it was (especially for a former strong defender of her like me), there is no doubt that Palin’s high-profile endorsement of Trump was at least somewhat effective. If only as a defensive maneuver, when Trump’s conservative “street cred” was under attack, Palin’s endorsement (which should not have been a surprise to anyone who understands her self interest) shored up his support, changed the subject, and dominated the news cycle for days. I will be fascinated to see how their relationship evolves if Trump wins the nomination and no longer really needs her, but she has put herself back in the game she was completely left out of in 2012.
I have disdain for this conspiracy nut talk show host, but he belongs, unfortunately, on the winner’s list. Trump inexplicably gave him an interview (plugged by Jones fan Matt Drudge) which enhanced his perceived credibility and profile. The idea that someone as crazy/wrong as Jones is seen as close to the Republican frontrunner for president is about as damning an indictment of the sorry state of our politics as anything I have seen.
While not as insane as Jones, Savage is pretty out there, even for a radio talk show host. He too has interviewed Trump multiple times and been solidly on his bandwagon (more so than most major radio talk show hosts). Unlike the Limbaugh crowd, Savage will suffer no consequences once Trump implodes in the general election (should he be the nominee) because he will simply be able to blame the Republican “establishment” for not supporting Trump strongly enough. He also isn’t associated enough with the conservative movement to care about its destruction.
Ann cares almost exclusively about selling books, getting on television, and being talked about. Trump’s win helps her on all fronts. She has been backing Trump strongly from the beginning, which I am sure had nothing to do with the fact that she had just released a book on immigration, which Trump had publicly endorsed. She also benefits because her pal Matt Drudge will be seen as a key Trump king-maker. She might even get a speech at a Trump-led convention. I am sure that wouldn’t help the Democrats in November at all!
It may seem strange that Beck, who took part in the National Review stunt, is on the “winners” list (of course, Cruz went on to win Iowa right after his endorsement). However, Beck’s world is very different because his business model is unique among conservative commentators. This reality allowed Beck to be one of the only top conservative talkers to resist the temptation of taking advantage of the Trump ratings boost. Beck is also correct in predicting how dramatically the news media will turn on Trump to benefit Hillary should he become the nominee. Once that happens, Beck’s audience will see him as a soothsayer and the lone top conservative who tried to warn them of the coming doom.
Joe Scarborough & Tucker Carlson.
There is no real reason to group these two together except that they are both conservative (Tucker more reliably than Joe) TV commentators who understood very early on that the Trump phenomenon was real and needed to be dealt with seriously. They have both proven that, unlike the vast majority of TV commentators, they are not completely out of touch with the average Republican voter.
In a news media world where celebrity and ratings are ALL that really matter, Kelly may be, ironically, the biggest winner here other than Trump himself. Her profile and viewership have increased since Trump began and escalated their feud. Even the perception of her journalism (at least nationally) has been enhanced among the majority of viewers because Trump is so unpopular with so many and because Fox News stood by her so strongly. In exchange for enduring some nasty tweets, Kelly is now, unquestionably, the biggest and most powerful star in cable news.
While their founder Andrew Breitbart (with whom I was once very close) is rolling over in his grave over what he built has become, the website which bears his name appears to have picked the winning horse in this primary battle, at least for now.
Their coverage of Trump has been so sycophantic that it makes Salon’s coverage of President Obama seem balanced. They have had countless of pro-Trump articles linked to by the Drudge Report, which has provided them with enormous traffic. Should Trump get the nomination they will be perceived as having gained credibility and power. Once he inevitably loses, they will then get the consolation prize of the easy content and constant traffic which would come with a Hillary Clinton presidency.
No one individual has benefited more economically from Trumpsanity than Matt Drudge. From the moment Trump got in the race, Drudge immediately dropped his previous favorite candidate Scott Walker (the guy who could most easily beat Hillary) to engage in a romance with Trump the traffic magnet. Once it became clear that Drudge was on Team Trump, a huge (or YUGE) instant market for pro-Trump stories was created, which even mainstream outlets like the Washington Post quickly learned to take advantage of.
The ensuing avalanche of Trump new stories then took on a life of their own as every media outlet knew they could not go wrong in covering him at the expense of far more credible candidates. Once he was the clear frontrunner, the media had their excuse to do nothing but Trump coverage, which became a self-fulfilling maintainer of his good poll numbers.
Drudge not only has won the pre-primary, but he now likely gets the most traffic-friendly primary season and general election in history. He may even end up with a very inside connection to one of the final candidates. Trump going up against Hillary, with whom Drudge has a long and famous history, would be a dream matchup for him in every way. As is almost always the case with the genius that is Drudge, he wins no matter what.
It is only the country that will likely lose, but obviously no one in the news media really cares about that anymore