The Good, the Bad, and the WTF Headlines Covering Trump's Announcement
Yes, he's running again. No, I don't think the press has quite figured out how to cover him. Yes, I'm already tired.
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After failing in his attempt to illegitimately cling to power, Donald Trump is again running for president.
I’m here to give you a breakdown of the “good,” “bad,” and “WTF” mainstream media headlines that came out of this announcement.
First, let’s talk about what I believe “good” in this context means. Admittedly, this is pretty subjective, and you may disagree with me on how these are categorized (I’m open to feedback! Consider leaving a comment). To me, though, a “good” headline is one that makes clear what the stakes are: Donald Trump lost the 2020 election and then tried to find questionably legal (and often just outright illegal) loopholes he could use to retain power.
That’s it. That’s the most important thing these headlines (and the articles, themselves) can have in them. This is a man who spent his presidency repeatedly “joking” about serving more than the two terms presidents are limited to under the U.S. Constitution, who refused to say whether he would accept the election results in both 2016 and 2020, who spent the campaign season spreading lies about mail-in voting, who falsely claimed that there was cheating in the 2018 midterms; and then, after losing his reelection bid in 2020, did everything he could to cling to power. This needs to be a central theme in reporting on Trump and his Republican enablers (keep in mind that 147 Republicans voted to overturn the election) throughout the 2024 campaign.
That said, let’s get started.
There was a surprising amount of good, too! The Washington Post put the words “who as president fomented an insurrection” in both the headline and mobile push notification. Additionally, the article itself opens by highlighting Trump’s anti-democratic actions as president, calling him a “twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, officially declared on Tuesday night that he is running to retake the White House in 2024.
The announcement at his Florida Mar-a-Lago Club came in a moment of political vulnerability for Trump as voters resoundingly rejected his endorsed candidates in last week’s midterm elections. Since then, elected Republicans have been unusually forthright in blaming Trump for the party’s underperformance and potential rivals are already openly plotting challenging Trump for the nomination.
Similarly, National Public Radio put the words “who tried to overturn Biden’s legitimate election” in the headline and opened its piece by repeating that fact. Excellent.
Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep himself in power, announced he is running again for president in 2024.
"I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump, 76, said flanked by massive American flags, at his Mar-a-Lago club and home in Palm Beach, Fla.
The announcement — and official filing — comes just a week after the 2022 midterm elections, which saw a lackluster performance from Trump-backed Republican candidates in key Senate races and competitive House elections. As a result, Democrats were able to retain control of the Senate.
NBC News also earns a “good” from me (though not quite as good as the WaPo and NPR articles, which I’ll get to in a moment) for including the words “whose lies about the 2020 election inspired an insurrection,” in the headline. While I believe this is a “good” headline, I think it puts a bit too much emphasis on the January 6 riot over the “paperwork coup” aspect of things. Yes, Trump’s supporters descending on the U.S. Capitol building was bad, but on its own, that wouldn’t have overturned the results. As I’ve written before, even without the actions on January 6, what Trump was trying to do was an autocoup.
The threat of another Trump run for president has much less to do with the possibility that he’ll inspire an angry mob to fight their way through Congress (though, as January 6 showed us, he’s certainly capable of that), and more that, if handed the keys to power once again, he will surround himself with enablers who will keep him in office for an indeterminate amount of time. Still, I give this headline a rating of “good.”
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump, the only president impeached twice, launched a campaign to reclaim the Oval Office on Tuesday, two years after voters ousted him and a week after they rejected his hand-picked candidates in several pivotal Senate races.
“America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump said from the ballroom of his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he was joined by members of his family and prominent supporters such as political operative Roger Stone, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and former Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
Oh, The New York Times… *sigh* What are we going to do with you? Times reporters Michael C. Bender and Maggie Haberman covered Trump’s announcement. In their headline, the Times went with the words “ignoring the midterms’ verdict on him.” And once you got into the story itself, it didn’t get much better. “Historically divisive presidency” that “shook the pillars of the country’s democratic institutions” sounds tough, but what does any of that mean? Why dance around it?
The second paragraph of the Times story does use the words “investigations into his attempts to cling to power after his 2020 defeat, which led to the deadly mob attack by his supporters on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” which is important to note. For that, I give NYT a “bad” rating (but not a “WTF” rating).
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald J. Trump, whose historically divisive presidency shook the pillars of the country’s democratic institutions, on Tuesday night declared his intention to seek the White House again in 2024, ignoring the appeals of Republicans who warn that his continued influence on the party is largely to blame for its weaker-than-expected showing in the midterm elections.
His unusually early announcement was motivated in part by a calculation that a formal candidacy may help shield him from multiple investigations into his attempts to cling to power after his 2020 defeat, which led to the deadly mob attack by his supporters on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The push notification was a bit lacking, as well.
The Associated Press fumbled its coverage by going with a real view-from-nowhere type headline, simply stating, “Trump seeks White House again amid GOP losses, legal probes.”
The body of the piece isn’t terrible, though it does seem to weigh the idea that Republicans are turning on Trump (I’m skeptical, as I have been whenever these stories have popped up over the past 7 years) over Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results. Still, this sentence, “…just one week after a disappointing midterm showing for Republicans, forcing the party to again decide whether to embrace a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 sparked an insurrection and pushed American democracy to the brink,” was better than nothing.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched his third campaign for the White House just one week after a disappointing midterm showing for Republicans, forcing the party to again decide whether to embrace a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 sparked an insurrection and pushed American democracy to the brink.
“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said before an audience of several hundred supporters in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood flanked by American flags and banners bearing his “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Like the AP, Politico put the focus on Republicans’ poor midterm performance rather than on the fact that this is a man who tried and failed to retain power after a sizable, undeniable defeat. At least the piece itself opened with a sentence touching on the “cloud of impeachment for his role in the Jan. 6 riots,” though as I wrote earlier, focusing on the riots and not the actual legal framework his team was trying to use to illegitimately retain power is a mistake, in my opinion.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 election and left the White House under the cloud of impeachment for his role in the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill, is running for president again.
The 45th president announced his bid for a second term during a primetime event at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. He filed a statement of candidacy as well.
CNN’s initial write-up (and push notification) for Trump’s announcement was a simple “Former President Donald Trump announces a White House bid for 2024.” Bizarrely, the story opened with a bit of trivia: if he’s elected, he’d become “only the second commander-in-chief ever elected to two nonconsecutive terms.” (Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th president, is the other one, FYI). That’s great and all, but it omits some important context about what a Trump win would actually mean for the country.
Additionally, while the story does at least mention Trump’s “own role in inciting an attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021,” the piece danced around the topic. Upon the completion of Discovery’s takeover of CNN, Trump donor John Malone became the outlet’s largest shareholder. Malone donates exclusively (or near-exclusively) to Republicans, and contributed to Trump’s “Save America” PAC, which funded the January 6 rally. While CNN has never exactly been great, Malone and Chris Licht have pushed the channel noticeably rightward in 2022.
(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump, aiming to become only the second commander-in-chief ever elected to two nonconsecutive terms, announced Tuesday night that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump told a crowd gathered at Mar-a-Lago, his waterfront estate in Florida, where his campaign will be headquartered.
Surrounded by allies, advisers, and conservative influencers, Trump delivered a relatively subdued speech, rife with spurious and exaggerated claims about his four years in office. Despite a historically divisive presidency and his own role in inciting an attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Trump aimed to evoke nostalgia for his time in office, frequently contrasting his first-term accomplishments with the Biden administration’s policies and the current economic climate. Many of those perceived accomplishments – from strict immigration actions to corporate tax cuts and religious freedom initiatives – remain deeply polarizing to this day.
ABC News kept it simple, running with the ho-hum headline, “Trump announces 3rd bid for White House.” (If you count his short-lived flirtation with running for president in 2000 — he formed an exploratory committee, which, yes, I know, doesn’t make it an official run for president — this would be his 4th run, but that’s really neither here nor there.) The ABC story buries mentions of Trump’s attempts to stay in power 7 paragraphs in and treats him as just an average, everyday politician. In this climate? That’s just plain irresponsible.
Former President Donald Trump has officially announced he is running for president in 2024, marking his third bid for the White House.
Saying "We are a nation in decline" and "America's comeback starts right now," Trump made the announcement Tuesday night in an address from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
The announcement, which Trump had been hinting at for months, comes as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil investigations and as his party is grappling with a worse-than-expected showing in the midterm elections, raising questions about the former president's power over the GOP.
And finally, CBS News published a story by Kathryn Watson, a former employee of the Tucker Carlson-founded white nationalist outlet The Daily Caller. The headline read, “Trump announces he’s running for president again in 2024,” and it’s not until the 13th paragraph that January 6 gets mentioned at all (it’s framed as an event that “led to a rift between” Trump and Mike Pence), and then not again until the second to last paragraph.
CBS has been inching to the right for several years, hiring people like Watson from the Daily Caller, as well as Catherine Herridge and Major Garrett from Fox News. Earlier this year, The Washington Post obtained a recording of CBS News co-president Neeraj Khemlani admitting that the network was hiring even more Republicans (in addition to Watson, Herridge, Garrett, etc.), including Trump’s White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (Mulvaney infamously admitted that Trump tried to extort Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden before telling the press to “get over it,” claimed that the February 2020 press coverage of the not-yet-a-pandemic COVID-19 outbreak was the media’s “hoax of the day,” and followed the 2020 election by writing the laughably wrong, “If He Loses, Trump Will Concede Gracefully” op-ed for The Wall Street Journal).
Khemlani was caught on tape telling CBS employees (in March, mind you) that “if you look at some of the people that we’ve been hiring on a contributor basis, being able to make sure that we are getting access to both sides of the aisle is a priority because we know the Republicans are going to take over, most likely, in the midterms. A lot of the people that we’re bringing in are helping us in terms of access to that side of the equation.” CBS’ abysmal coverage of Trump’s announcement shouldn’t really surprise anybody.
Former President Donald Trump announced Tuesday night from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida that he's running for president a third time. Trump announced his 2024 bid moments after filing a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.
"In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump said, to cheers from his supporters.
That’s it for today. Thanks again for reading. If you enjoy my work, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.