Media Buzz

From Olympics to 'Game of Thrones,' most news withers in the Trumpian spotlight

Howard Kurtz

This would seem to be huge news: Los Angeles has won the Olympics.

Instead, it’s been kind of a blip.

True, this will happen in 2028, but it will be the first time in nearly three decades that America will host the global games.

The Dow broke 22,000 yesterday. The surge from 21,000 took just five months, putting more money in the pockets of millions of Americans. It’s sort of gotten oh-isn’t-that-nice coverage.

HBO has been hit by a major cyberattack. At first the hackers just leaked the script for this week’s “Game of Thrones” and episodes of two other shows, but now it appears to be far more sweeping and the FBI is investigating. The reaction: Eh, we’ve already been through this with the Sony hack, and which character dies next on "GOT"?

These and other stories have one thing in common: they’re not about Donald Trump. And that means they have a harder time breaking through the increasingly Trump-dominated news cycle. (The president noted the milestone and suggested that his policies have helped boost the stock market, but it’s still basically a business story.)

You know what’s big? Sports Illustrated reporting in the 24th paragraph of a piece about Trump and golf that he told some members that he frequently visits his New Jersey club because “that White House is a real dump.” Never mind that a White House spokesperson denied this, as the story noted.

What’s happening here is that Trump has so reshaped the news business that virtually every aspect of it—including sports magazines—are fixated on the daily White House soap opera. And there is a financial incentive for these outlets: All Trumpian news is good for circulation, clicks and ratings. This is especially true for the organizations that mainly cover the president negatively, as well as those that cover him more positively or try to remain in the middle.

Not all Trump news is big news. The president didn’t exactly invite the cameras in yesterday when he signed a bill tightening sanctions on Russia—which he had opposed, but which passed both houses by veto-proof margins—and issued a signing statement. So it drew little coverage.

The president did go before the cameras to propose overhauling the legal immigration system to favor skilled, English-speaking applicants who can support themselves. That generated some dutiful coverage, but a tiny fraction of that devoted to, say, the bleeping controversy surrounding Anthony Scaramucci.

The same thing goes for Christopher Wray being confirmed as FBI director: No controversy, practically a non-story.

But what’s really striking is how much oxygen Donald Trump sucks out of the media atmosphere, with news outlets—you know, the ones he brands fake news—as willing accomplices.

I guess L.A. will finally get to bask in the Olympic spotlight—11 years from now.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.