The Huffington Post’s editorial director, Danny Shea, took some heat on Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe for his decision to classify Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as entertainment and not politics.
Shea said the decision is based on their opinion that Trump isn’t a serious candidate, and that it’s his celebrity that is responsible for the non-stop wall-to-wall coverage he is receiving. He compared it to CNN’s coverage of the Malaysian airliner crash, while discounting Trump’s commanding lead in the polls.
Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski called out Shea on HuffPo’s hypocrisy, citing the Senate campaigns of comedian Al Franken and actress Ashley Judd, who both were covered in the politics section even though they were clearly entertainers with no previous political experience. Even though Trump has no political experience, he is a successful businessman. By that measure alone he is a more qualified candidate for office than Franken and Judd ever were.
Shea tried to defend his decision by bringing up an incident in 2007 when Brzezinski refused to talk about Paris Hilton, calling it comparable to what HuffPo is doing today:
You were the heroine of a media moment. You said enough already and we’re saying the exact same thing. We’re saying that we will not participate in this sort of legitimacy of a fringe candidate who doesn’t even believe that Obama was born in the United States. To give him the coverage, to legitimize him time and time again only perpetuates the legitimacy of a sideshow.
Trump’s commanding lead in the polls and the increasingly large audiences that he is attracting across the country make him a legitimate candidate and not someone to be ignored. It’s time for Shea and HuffPo to put away their anti-Trump bias and give him the coverage he deserves—in the politics section—as the GOP front-runner.