Huff Post- Posted: 2/7/12 | Updated: 2/7/12
Last week, Jon Ralston, a veteran Las Vegas Sun columnist, dared reporters to ignore Donald Trump’s unveiling of his presidential endorsement — with low expectations about how that might play out.
“I suggest media boycott of @RealDonaldTrump event in Vegas,” Ralston tweeted. “Anyone with me? That’s what I thought.”
Ralston knew, of course, that the nation’s political reporters — the same tribe who breathlessly covered Trump’s half-hearted flirtation last year with a presidential run, his “birther” sideshow and his thwarted plans to host and moderate a GOP debate — wouldn’t ignore the real estate huckster’s “major announcement.”
And, indeed, they didn’t, thereby sparking the latest mini-drama in the reality show otherwise known as the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.
While any campaign reporter you meet will say it’s ridiculous to give any more oxygen to Trump in this election cycle (and some of them will even go so far as to mock the primaries’ circus-like atmosphere on Twitter) many of them still raced to cover the Trump endorsement.
In their haste, several major news organizations — including the Associated Press, The New York Times, Politico and CBS News — erroneously reported that Trump planned to endorse former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Countless others, including The Huffington Post, repeated those reports. All had to backtrack when it became clear former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would get the Trumpster’s nod. Come showtime, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all had Romney live, standing at a podium featuring a Trump plaque, in a Trump hotel, accepting a Trump endorsement.
Reporters swarmed the Trump event for the same reason they have pursued and then coughed up almost every other bit of minutiae, no matter how irrelevant or meaningless, around the primaries. In a media landscape replete with Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs and myriad other digital, broadcast and print sources, nothing is too inconsequential to be made consequential.
Political junkies, political operatives and political reporters consume most of this dross, and in this accelerated, 24/7 news cycle, a day feels like a week, with the afternoon’s agreed-upon media narrative getting turned on its head by the evening’s debate. Candidates rise, fall, and rise again, all choreographed to the rat-a-tat background noise of endless minutia.