US TV boss is indifferent to Trump’s racism, because his ratings jumped

Donald trump pointing
Support us and go ad-free

For a second time, the chief executive of CBS has openly praised and encouraged Donald Trump’s potentially dangerous presidential campaign – because it earns money for the television network.

His brash and thoughtless statements lend weight to the racist charlatan‘s bid for leadership of the world’s biggest superpower. They also undermine the journalistic integrity of his network’s news channel. But CEO Les Moonves decided to celebrate Trump’s ascendancy to the top of the Republican polls because: “it’s good for [CBS] economically.”

And if you think that Moonves has somehow been duped into actually believing that Trump could be a good leader, who might aid the prosperity of millions of poverty-stricken Americans, you’d be wrong. In fact, Moonves confirmed that he’s very aware a Trump presidency might damage his country.

It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS, that’s all I got to say.

The audience laughed and applauded at his bold, honest, throwaway remarks.

This comes after a controversial incident in which Moonves explicitly supported Trump, casually calling the relationship between Trump’s increasing visibility and CBS’ ad revenue “fun“:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Go Donald! Keep getting out there! […] this is fun, watching this, let [the advertisers] spend money on us

Moonves also championed ‘super PAC‘ election funding in the 2012 election race for the same reason:

Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.

Super PACs have been a hotly debated topic in this election, with many demanding that election financing is reformed. This would ‘get Big Money out of American politics’ and create a more democratic system. Moonves predicted that CBS’ profit would rise by $180m in 2012 due to taking on more political ads.

Commercial US networks like CBS make huge profits from advertising companies. Among CBS’ channels is CBS News, who have hosted both Democratic and Republican debates during the 2016 campaign.

The way network news programmes are funded is not hugely different from any other televised entertainment programmes in the US, or from commercial channels in the UK. The higher the ratings for a news programme, the more the advertising companies who have slots either side of it will pay the network. Therefore, it is all too tempting for networks to encourage a candidate like Trump who, through peddling his offensive and sensational wares, attracts viewers – both shocked and awed.

In two ways, it makes complete economic ‘sense’. Firstly, Trump brings the company more money, allowing it to compete in a ruthless marketplace. Secondly, if their coverage and encouragement of him were to aid a resulting Trump presidency, it would likely be one favourable to businesses. Trump is, before anything else, a devout capitalist.

There is plenty to be said on the merits of publicly funded television as a whole, as we have seen in recent debates over the privatisation of the BBC. Here, it is clear that the treatment of news – especially news that is so crucial to determining the future of millions (arguably, billions) of lives – as primarily a profit-making venture is incredibly damaging.

In this way, the media are complicit in the erosion of democracy. Journalism is supposed to be a crucial pillar of democracy, and yet the commercial media is anything but. In their support of Trump, the CBS management are waving their contempt, and indifference, for the public good in our faces. And they are supported, of course, by the incredibly powerful tool they own to persuade us their nihilistic behaviour is legitimate.

Get involved!

Watch The Fourth Estate, an independent UK documentary about the political economy of the media. (Disclaimer: the author produced this film)

Support The Canary‘s independent journalism.

Image via Gage Skidmore/flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed