ABC’s 'exclusive interview' with Trump was anything but
© YouTube

So what qualifies as an exclusive these days?

Exclusive. Noun: “A piece of news, or the reporting of a piece of news, obtained by a newspaper or other news organization, along with the privilege of using it first,” according to Dictionary.com.

In watching Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE do his first national interviews yesterday with outlets like CNN, ABC and Bloomberg in what feels like forever, ABC dubbed its George Stephanopoulos sit-down in a suite with Trump at his new Washington, D.C., hotel as an exclusive. Viewers were informed they were watching something they could only see on ABC first via a large graphic in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

ADVERTISEMENT
Good get for ABC and Stephanopoulos, right? Trump had been doing interviews almost exclusively with Fox News and Fox Business for months, last appearing on ABC more than seven weeks ago, on Sept. 6.

Across the board, the GOP presidential nominee has avoided CBS since July 17, NBC since Sept. 15 (Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show”), CNBC since Sept. 12, MSNBC since May 20 and CNN since Aug. 25.

Speaking of CNN, political reporter Dana Bash also got an interview with Trump that aired before the Stephanopoulos sit-down. And Mark Halperin of Bloomberg got some time with Trump as well for his program “With All Due Respect.” 

The narrative around Trump yesterday was primarily focused on the real estate mogul having the audacity to open his new Washington, D.C., luxury hotel in the homestretch of a campaign. Trump still kept pace with his opponent, Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE, in terms of campaign stops for the day, heading to North Carolina for a rally in the town of Kinston that afternoon. The prior two days, Trump did 12 campaign stops throughout Florida.

An argument can be made that the optics around the hotel opening was a good one for Trump, who has otherwise been seen hosting rallies over the past 15 months on an almost daily and nightly basis, with many cable news outlets taking portions or even the whole event live (see: ratings, easy). After almost 500 day of campaigning, it’s almost like Trump rallies have been playing on a loop. A change in that dynamic ain’t the worst thing.

For Trump to be shown in a business environment showcasing a new property that will create jobs, with his family by his side, may not officially have been dubbed a political event, but it was an effective one in reminding people what got Trump here in the first place in the eyes of his supporters: not being a typical politician who gets things done.

During each of Trump’s three interviews with ABC, CNN and Bloomberg, the theme the candidate drove home was the same: It’s only a pit stop to showcase a new business. I still outwork my opponent on a daily basis. I’m still campaigning today after this. She doesn’t get the same questions I do when taking time off from the campaign (in Clinton’s case, attending an Adele concert).

And the most repeated narrative Trump tried to drive home: This hotel is under budget and ahead of schedule, and I can run government the same way in a time when spending and efficiency is out of control.

Trump to ABC’s Stephanopoulos: “I’m taking one hour off. I’m going to North Carolina right after this, then I’m going back down to Florida. I’m going up to New Hampshire. I’m all over the place.”

More Trump to ABC’s Stephanopoulos, on being at the hotel opening: “I built this hotel under budget and ahead of schedule — sends a real message.”

Trump to Bash: “I left for an hour and a half, I’m going to North Carolina right now, then I’m going to Florida and going up to New Hampshire.”

More Trump to Bash, on being at the hotel opening: “Under budget, ahead of schedule ... that’s what this is.”

The same lines almost verbatim were echoed by Trump to Bloomberg’s Halperin when answering questions along the same lines.

Trump does three interviews with three different outlets in one day. ABC calls theirs an exclusive despite basically the same comments and perspective being shared with two other national outlets in CNN and Bloomberg.

Exclusives used to mean something in this business. Not much anymore.

It’s just one more example of a media in 2016 throwing aside any attempt at following the basic rules of journalism in the quest for more clicks, more retweets, more ratings.