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Republicans fuming over Trump’s media command

Republicans fuming over Trump’s media command

By Jonathan Easley and Ben Kamisar for The Hill

Donald Trump is again dominating the media’s coverage of the presidential race, frustrating his Republican rivals who can’t gain traction for their own campaigns.

Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States provoked wall-to-wall coverage, even though it has little chance of becoming U.S. law and has been repudiated by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, it was like 9/11 coverage,” said one operative from a rival campaign who spoke freely on condition of anonymity. “I talked to two reporters yesterday about potential story ideas, and they said, ‘Sorry, I don’t have time. My f---ing editor is making me cover Donald Trump.’”

The constant media attention has been the main ingredient in Trump’s lasting popularity. It has contributed to keeping him well ahead of his rivals in national presidential polls and surveys of states with early primary contests such as New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Even negative coverage can be a boon to Trump, helping to firm up his base of supporters and communicate his wildly popular brand of straight-talking, anti-establishment conservatism that he punctuates with unapologetically outrageous statements.

Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from the U.S. came at a point when his media coverage had faded. Prior to those comments, the number of times he was being mentioned on television compared to other candidates was at its lowest point in months, according to data compiled by The GDelt Project, which monitors news coverage.

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