Cable News Networks Are Enabling Donald Trump's Racist Ideology

CNN and MSNBC are profiting from Trump's racism.
CNN and MSNBC are profiting from Trump's racism. Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons
It's best to start tuning out CNN and MSNBC until the cable news networks stop enabling President Donald Trump's gaslighting of America.

You can at least respect Fox News executives and their pundits for embracing Trump's bigotry and using it to increase ratings and profits. But the folks at CNN and MSNBC act like they are part of the Trump resistance movement when they are also reaping the rewards of covering every vile sentence tweeted or spoken by the racist-in-chief. Yet the two networks have no balls because they won't hire outspoken black commentators such as Roland Martin and Jemele Hill who keep it real.

For the past week, there's been no escaping the wall-to-wall coverage of the reactions to Trump's July 14 Twitter fit telling Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib — all of whom are minorities serving their first terms — to go back to their countries of origin. Three of them were born in the United States. Only one member of "The Squad," Omar, who emigrated from Somalia as a child, is a naturalized citizen.

Wednesday night, Trump threw some more chum at the news sharks when he singled out Omar at his Klan campaign rally in Greensville, North Carolina. His supporters began chanting, "Send her back!" Trump just soaked it all in for the cable news networks that breathlessly covered the event.

The only way to stop Trump's influence is a media blackout of this president. Once you find out the man in charge is mentally ill and won't stop spreading hate, why would you continue to relay his message? During the civil rights movement, news outlets had no problem tuning out Malcolm X. The media made sure his message of "by any means necessary" didn't spread across America in a similar manner to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of peaceful resistance that galvanized the civil rights movement.

Meanwhile, Trump is plastered on TV screens across the nation while he incites his base to commit violence and possibly get one of the four congresswomen killed. When Trump mentioned Omar, he at one point made a gesture with his hand to his head as if he were holding a gun. The media stopped giving Louis Farrakhan a platform because of comments he's made about race wars. But when Trump incites bigotry and hatred, he gets more airtime.

In fact, CNN and MSNBC are also guilty of allowing Trump's lies to go unchecked. Media Matters analyzed chyrons — the text graphic at the bottom portion of the screen that summarizes the news story being discussed on air — for the three cable networks during and immediately after Trump spoke to the media in May and discovered 91 instances when the text blocks parroted the president's false claims without challenging their lack of truthfulness.

Trump's presidency is the best thing that's happened to cable news. According to a June 25 fact sheet from the Pew Research Center, both evening and daytime cable news audiences increased for CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC in 2018. The average combined audience for the primetime slot between 8 and 11 p.m. grew by 8 percent, or about 1.25 million, last year. The daytime viewing audience increased by 5 percent.

That means the three cable news giants are raking in more money. Total revenue across the three channels increased by 4 percent in 2018 to a total of $5.3 billion, according to estimates from Kagan, a media research group in S&P Global Market Intelligence. In 2018, the combined annual profits for those big three were projected to grow 4 percent to $2.8 billion.

So there's no chance CNN or MSNBC will stop covering Trump's racist tirades and attacks on people of color. And if something bad happens to the four congresswomen, there will be a race riot like we have never seen before. People are fed up. Just look at what is taking place in Puerto Rico, where thousands of residents stormed the capitol in protest. If there is blood in the streets, blame cable news.
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