The Trump administration's combative view of the traditional news media as the ''opposition party'' and ''fake news'' has turned out to be good news for the media. Roselle Chen reports.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration's view of traditional news media as the "opposition party" and "fake news" is turning out to be the best hope in 2017 for news outlets struggling to attract more viewers and digital readers. There's reason for optimism among newspaper executives. The New York Times, which Trump has referred to as "failing" in his Twitter messages, said readership is up now more than ever. And the shift in the newsroom's energy? SOUNDBITE: Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, saying (English): "It's been dramatic. It feels like...You know, news organizations went through this period of like several years where we've had to debate what the future looks like, what's our role in the digital age, and all of a sudden, after this election, it's just clear, it's clearer than it's ever been, possibly in my whole, you know, 40 years as a journalist." Trump's close adviser, Steve Bannon, told the Times in an interview in January: "The media's the opposition party" and not the Democratic Party. SOUNDBITE: Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, saying (English): "I think unfortunately sometimes the Trump administration sees everybody who asks them hard questions as the opposition party. I don't want to be the leader of the opposition party to Donald Trump, I want to be a journalist doing my job covering Donald Trump." Trump has said he had a "running war" with the "dishonest media" over what he sees as unfair attacks on him and his administration, but those statements have produced a bump in readership and viewership in news outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN. SOUNDBITE: Paul Levinson, Fordham University professor of communications and media studies, saying (English): "In Trump world, if the news or the question is unwelcome, it's fake. And what that in turn does is it makes people want to look at those reports even more carefully. So CNN's ratings actually increased after that as well." Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of The Times-Gazette, one of only six newspapers across the country to endorse Trump when he was running for president, said anything Trump does or says is good for the media's ratings. SOUNDBITE: Gary Abernathy, The Times-Gazette publisher and editor, saying (English): "President Trump often says to the media when he does a press conference, 'Hey I'm great for your ratings, you know your ratings are up.' I'm not sure I would be just saying that but he is stating the obvious. He is good for their ratings, he's good for every media, he's good for us. You can just cover Donald Trump very fairly and very accurately, and you're still going to have a bump in readership just because people are interested in all things Trump, whether they love him or hate him." But it remains to be seen whether the Trump bump will last. The New York Times reported an increase in digital advertising by 6 percent in 2016, but print advertising revenue dropped 16 percent and revenues overall fell about 2 percent.