Most of the Republican presidential candidates may not have much love for Donald Trump, but there is no doubt that cable news does as evidenced by the outsized coverage the billionaire businessman turned GOP frontunner has received since he announced his candidacy in June.
CNN has led the way with at least 2,159 stories on Trump, versus 1,087 stories for former Florida governor Jeb Bush, between June 16 and September 14 according to Zignal Labs, a social, online and traditional media monitoring firm based in San Francisco.
Fox News Channel was a little more even-handed with 1,540 Trump stories compared to 1,102 on Bush, and MSNBC was right behind them with 1,426 stories on Trump versus 1,257 on Bush.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was a distant third on CNN with 416 stories, and no other candidate topped 400. It was much the same at Fox News and MSNBC, with the other candidates receiving scant coverage, thanks to Trump.
All of this attention on Trump has helped boost the ratings of the big three cable news networks, with MSNBC’s audience up 10 percent, Fox News 9 percent and CNN 8 percent from a year ago.
Fox’s increase is more impressive given the fact that they are doing so from a much larger audience base than MSNBC and CNN.
After watching Trump help Fox News achieve a record 24 million viewers for the first GOP primary debate in August, CNN has been in overdrive hyping Trump for the second debate, which takes place tonight and is hosted by the network.
CNN isn’t expecting Fox-like numbers, but they are clearly counting on a large audience since reports have them charging as much as 40 times their regular rate for advertising, during the debate.
With Trump’s poll numbers continuing to rise, he won’t be going anywhere soon and that’s just fine with the cable news networks, which will ride that wave all the way to the bank.