If you can’t answer the title question without reading the answer, which follows, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Since he first entered the presidential race, Donald Trump has been receiving more TV and print press time than any other candidate.
This trend was evident as early as July 2015, when the Washington Post ran an article titled “Why is Trump surging? Blame the media.” The article included this graph, which quantified the extent to which Trump’s media presence outpaced that of any other GOP candidate:
The article’s author, John Sides, who teaches political science at George Washington University, noted that the disproportionate coverage of Trump was an outgrowth of his controversial comments on such topics as John McCain’s heroism and his unorthodox campaign style.
Sides wondered aloud whether Trump would “feel the full scrutiny of the press” and quoted a fellow member of academe, Matthew Dickinson, who opined:
[J]ournalists should take his candidacy seriously by pressing him on the details of his policy pronouncements, and helping the public understand the differences between the public and private sector. The sooner the media begins [sic] evaluating The Donald on the details of his policies and his governing expertise, rather than on his deliberately provocative comments designed to mobilize a disaffected public, the sooner The Donald’s political bubble is likely to burst.
This wishful implicit in that statement has, of course, gone unfulfilled. Which is not to say that the media have not pressed Trump for details, but, rather, that his standing among the electorate has not diminished.
So has Trump-mania had the same impact online? An infographic by an outfit called Venngage has the answer:
Donald Trump’s Dominance on Online Attention | Infographic Maker
Venngage’s Eugene Woo writes:
Articles about Donald Trump were shared over 214 million times, almost 60 million times more than the next candidate, Bernie Sanders, who had just over 153 million shares. Trump has twice the number of shares compared to Hillary Clinton, and more than three times the number of shares compared to Ted Cruz. [Emphasis in original]
It should be noted that the majority of Donald Trump’s media coverage is not paid for or bought by his campaign or followers. They are what the media industry call “earned” media – from free coverage and people sharing and amplifying his message. In fact, the NYTimes reported that he has earned almost $2 billion worth of free media since the start of his campaign.