The news media is being accused by certain Republican presidential candidates of manipulating former President Trump’s legal affairs, rather than his campaign supporters.
The conflict arises after Trump made headlines by being arraigned last week for federal charges in Washington, D.C. regarding his endeavors to remain in power after the 2020 election.
Over the weekend, two GOP candidates, namely former Vice President Mike Pence and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, expressed dissatisfaction with the gap between continuous media coverage of Trump’s indictments and the level of interest among campaign voters on the campaign trail regarding his legal issues.
During his appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Burgum declined to answer questions about Trump and the indictments, preferring to leave it to pundits who comment on the former president.
The governor of North Dakota stated that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are not asking about the indictments, but can simply switch to a cable news network and watch it for seven by 24 hours.
Pence stated on Sunday that the recent accusations against Trump have refocused attention on Trump’s actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, which also saw PENCE being rushed to safety from Trump supporters.
During Pence’s “State of the Union” on Monday, he acknowledged that people were always thanking him for emphasizing the issues at stake rather than just acknowledging media coverage.
On “Face the Nation” broadcasted by CBS News, Nikki Haley, Trump’s former United Nations Ambassador, was asked if it would help Republicans get their message out of the running a few days after Trump dropped out.
Haley responded, “I’m not sure if it’s the third indictment we’re talking about right now, let’ll just say that it distracts us from this conversation.”
She stated that the American public does not engage in town hall discussions about indictments, despite the media’s constant coverage.
The average voter’s concerns, as per Republican strategists, are centered on inflation, job instability, and the cost of food and fuel.
According to Brian Darling, a Republican strategist, the American people are not as much affected by the media’s coverage of the Trump indictments as they would be by any other source.
The strategists stated that if Trump’s party wins the nomination, then accusations of political motivation directed by his probable opponent in the general election will be met with opposition from other GOP voters.
The indictment of the day, according to Ohio GOP strategist Mark Weaver, is perceived by most Republican primary voters as a result of Democrats’ government trying to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president once again.
Weaver stated that voters’ attention is not solely on Donald Trump’s indictment, but also on other issues such as inflation, illegal immigration, crime, and government weaponization.
National polls indicate that the picture is also becoming more pronounced on the ground, particularly in terms of how voters will choose their primary ballots.
A June NBC News poll revealed that 63 percent of GOP primary voters did not consider the Republican front-runner to be real, despite only two indictments being made against him.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in June, Republicans were less convinced of the seriousness of federal criminal charges facing Trump in the classified documents case, with only 18 percent believing them to be true, while Democrats had overwhelmingly backed back with 75%.
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey, almost half of the Republicans polled would not vote for Trump if he were found guilty of felony charges, but 35 percent stated that they would still support the former president.
The current level of coverage of Trump could potentially increase the former president’s popularity in light of a potential rematch between him and Biden, according to Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright.
Seawright emphasized that the indictments are not being exaggerated, as the country is living in an uncharted territory with the 24-hour news cycle.
The stories are not enduring well with the Republican audience, as stated by Weaver, the GOP strategist.
According to Weaver, the majority of news coverage on the Trump indictments is eagerly consumed by Trump supporters and rebellious supporters, while the rest of the nation switches from one page to another.
Burgum’s campaign dubbed the coverage area “the Acela corridor media,” which refers to the East Coast region of Washington, D.C. that is Democratic and has an active agenda on the indictment news.
The Hill reported that Burgum’s campaign spokesman, Lance Trover, stated that town halls in Iowa and New Hampshire are filled with questions about the economy, inflation, China, the border, and uniting our country. Indictments are not frequently addressed at these events.
Trump has been using his multiple legal challenges to portray a politically motivated government and attract support from other GOP candidates in the race, even raising funds from the indictments against him. Polls indicate that Trump’s popularity increased after his indiction in June.
Democratic strategist David Thomas argued that the lack of momentum behind candidates’ recent criticisms of the media has made it difficult for Republican candidates to break out under this environment.
In an episode of the “Yes Labels” podcast, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien stated that GOP candidates must start breaking through urgently.
Stepien stated that the field is paralyzed by indictments and Trump news, which compel it to move forward.