“Cable news networks had reason to feel bittersweet about the end of 2016 as Donald Trump’s historic campaign for the White House drove their ratings to record levels”, reported the Los Angeles Times, which added that “in the days leading up to his inauguration as the 45th president of the United States, Trump’s continuing love-hate relationship with them is providing a compelling sequel.

“CNN, Fox News and MSNBC have seen a surprising surge in their audience levels this month as they report in real time on the unpredictable saga of Trump, who can dictate their programming day with his Twitter account.

“After Trump (is inaugurated president), they will be covering a president whose distrust and ridicule of the media is unlike anything they have seen from a commander in chief.

“While it’s apparent Trump’s combative nature is lifting viewer interest, the uncharted territory of his presidency is likely to test the journalistic spine of the organizations as well.

“He is the most ripe target for legitimate journalistic investigation that’s come along in decades because of how he so blatantly positions himself as a rule breaker and a game changer, a guy that challenges orthodoxy,” said Jonathan Klein, a veteran TV news executive who was president of CNN from 2004 to 2010. “The real journalists out there must be licking their chops about the opportunity to investigate all that.”Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief and director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, said the unprecedented nature of an outsized personality such as Trump entering the White House without any government experience or clear ideological road map makes it “a time of purpose” for cable news.

“The conversation has never been more important and the national mood more unsettled, certainly not in decades,” Sesno said.”

For the full LA Times story, click here.

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