Covering the Trump Presidential Candidacy Speech

From Reliable Sources with Oliver Darcy on

Donald Trump on Tuesday night made it official, declaring his candidacy for 2024 — forcing news organizations to grapple with how to cover the campaign of a twice-impeached president who incited an attack on the US Capitol after misleading his loyal supporters with disinformation about the American election system.

The big three broadcast networks, to no surprise, ignored Trump and didn’t interrupt normal programming to carry the speech.

But the situation was different on cable. While MSNBC decided not to take the speech live, Fox News and CNN both aired large portions of Trump’s fairly low-energy and misinformation-peppered announcement. Newsmax aired it in full.

CNN cut away from the Palm Beach spectacle after about 25 minutes, turning to a panel of analysts as well as network fact-checker Daniel Dale, who knocked down his “wildly incorrect” statements. Alyssa Farah Griffin, Trump’s former communications director-turned-CNN-analyst, pointed out that the speech included “outright lies” and that Trump was “dabbling into conspiracy” theories that she hasn’t “even seen on the dark corners of the internet.”

It was a very different scene on Fox News where Trump propagandist Sean Hannity cut away from the speech after roughly 40 minutes. Hannity, whose show hyped Trump’s announcement throughout the event in the chyron, turned to pro-Trump commentators Pete Hegseth and Mike Huckabee for analysis. “Nothing like the original,” Hegseth said, surprising no one with commentary that praised Trump.

Fox News ultimately returned to carry much of what was left of Trump’s speech, perhaps indicating that while some arms of Rupert Murdoch’s media machine might be battering Trump, his most powerful mouthpiece is still reluctant to forcefully do so.

It’s also worth noting how print and digital outlets covered the speech. Here are some ledes and highlights from around the web:

► The WaPo: “Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the Capitol, officially declared on Tuesday night that he is running to retake the White House in 2024.”

► The NYT: “Donald J. Trump, whose historically divisive presidency shook the pillars of the country’s democratic institutions, on Tuesday night declared his intention to seek the White House again in 2024, ignoring the appeals of Republicans who warn that his continued influence on the party is largely to blame for its weaker-than-expected showing in the midterm elections.”

► NewsMax: “Former President Donald Trump, eschewing establishment calls to hold off and endless Democrat efforts to stop him, officially declared his 2024 presidential campaign Tuesday night.”

► The National Review editorial board published a piece simply titled, “No.”

Of course, as the Drudge Report noted on its front page Tuesday night, there are still 721 days until the election. Which is to say, a lot can change. But the manner in which news organizations approached the speech is likely a good general barometer for what audiences can expect moving forward.

There is also the question of how Trump will treat the press. During his speech on Tuesday night, he struck a lighter tone, needling the media though refraining from doing it in the harsh terms that defined his relationship with news organizations at the end of his stay in the White House. Instead, Trump joked he would not “use the term ‘fake news media'” because he wanted to keep the event “elegant.”

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