“How the fuck did we get here?” That’s the question The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah set out to answer Monday night in regards to the unending rise of “vinyl sofa stuffed with racist refrigerator poetry” Donald Trump.
“Tonight we’re going to look at whether part of the responsibility for Donald Trump’s rise lies with the news media. Now it’s a complicated issue, with a lot of—I’m just playing, the answer’s yes. Yes, the media is responsible.”
For one example, Noah pointed to CBS chief Les Moonves, who recently said, “This is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry, it is a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald.” Meanwhile, during debates, CNN gets 40 times its usual rate for ad placements. Sometimes, the network just trains its cameras on empty podiums and blank curtains waiting for Trump to enter a room.
“Are you shitting me? You keep the camera on the curtain in case they miss Donald Trump’s entrance?” Noah asked in disbelief. “Trust me, no one has ever missed a Donald Trump entrance, ever.”
“Maybe these were, you know, slow news days,” the host posited. “It’s not like the media turns its back on other perhaps more important news like the autopsy report of a young black woman who died in police custody.” From there, he showed footage of CNN cutting away from a Sandra Bland news conference to air yet another Trump speech.
“Look, people, Sandra Bland will be dead forever, but Donald Trump only speaks into a microphone 23 times a day so we’re going to go to that now,” Noah said.
But the fact he found most staggering came from a recent New York Times report that found Trump has received nearly $2 billion of free media coverage. “That’s the equivalent of every commercial in the Super Bowl for the last five years,” Noah said. “Yeah and frankly, America would be better off with President PuppyMonkeyBaby.”
“So the next time you see Donald Trump on your television,” he added, “you will know it’s not necessarily because he has earned that air time and the people who are giving it to him are well aware of the consequences.” In the end, Noah returned to Moonves, who said of Trump, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”
“The news media are supposed to keep the system healthy,” Noah concluded, “but this year they are like a doctor who says, ‘I hate to see all these patients coming in with cancer, but I have to admit, it’s been really good for my practice. Oh and breaking news, here’s another cigarette.’”