Might as well face it, CNN is addicted to Donald Trump.
That’s the clear-cut finding from a recent report out by the Media Research Center which found that CNN’s primetime talk shows devoted 78 percent of their coverage of the GOP to Trump, who continues to lead in most polls.
Out of a total of 747 minutes of primetime coverage between Aug. 24 and Sept. 4, 580 minutes were devoted to Trump, the conservative Media Research Center found. The next closest in terms of TV time was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who received just 88 minutes of the cable network’s coverage — or 12 percent.
Another way to say it is that Trump garnered three times the CNN air time of the other 16 GOP candidates combined.
Most of the candidates received scant attention from the shows covered in the study — Erin Burnett’s “OutFront,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” and “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum received mere seconds worth of coverage. Former New York Gov. George Pataki received no coverage at all.
And as the Media Research Center notes, much of the coverage given to the non-Trump GOP field was spent comparing them to the real estate billionaire.
Third in terms of coverage was retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who received 41 minutes — or 5.5 percent — of air time. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was given 10 minutes of coverage over the ten-day primetime period.
A bulk of Trump’s coverage was attributed to CNN’s airing of several of his campaign events and press conferences. No other candidates received that level of attention. The network even pre-empted a 10th anniversary special on Hurricane Katrina to air a Trump event.
Trump also occupied an outsized portion of CNN’s overall content. Trump’s 580 minutes of coverage made up around 25 percent of the network’s total content in the 10-day sample period.
CNN’s Trump obsession was noted in another analysis conducted by The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper found that between June 16, the day Trump announced his candidacy, and Sept. 14, the network had devoted 2,159 reports to Trump. Bush was mentioned in only 1,067 stories, according to The Journal.
But CNN is not alone with its Trump focus. The Media Research Center found that ABC, NBC and CBS devoted 75 percent of its GOP campaign coverage to Trump.
The heavy Trump focus can be chalked up to one thing: ratings.
As the Wall Street Journal noted in its report, CNN has seen its primetime ratings increase eight percent during the so-called “Summer of Trump.” Fox News and MSNBC, which has also skewed heavily towards Trump, have seen their viewership grow by nine percent and 10 percent, respectively.
“Trump is the media’s addiction,” CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter noted on Aug. 23. “When he speaks, he is given something no other candidate gets. That’s wall-to-wall coverage here on cable news. He sucks up all the oxygen.”