The media is allowing disinformation to appear as news.
Around this time four years ago, the media world was all abuzz over an analysis by mediaQuant, a company that tracks what is known as “earned media” coverage of political candidates. Earned media is free media.
The firm computed that Donald Trump had “earned” a whopping $2 billion of coverage, dwarfing the value earned by all other candidates, Republican and Democrat, even as he had only purchased about $10 million of paid advertising.
As The New York Times reported at the time, the company’s chief analytics officer, Paul Senatori, explained: “The mediaQuant model collects positive, neutral and negative media mentions alike. Mr. Senatori said negative media mentions are given somewhat less weight.”
This wasn’t the first analysis that found that something was askew.
In December 2015 CNN quoted the publisher of The Tyndall Report, which also tracks media coverage, saying Trump was “by far the most newsworthy story line of campaign 2016, accounting alone for more than a quarter of all coverage’ on NBC, CBS and ABC’s evening newscasts.”