GOP Candidates Prepare to Abandon Legacy Media, Cite Dishonest Biased Coverage

A new report suggests that the legacy media could get boxed out of covering the 2024 election as Republicans continue to grow wary of mainstream journalism. According to Dispatch senior writer David Drucker, “a significant number of candidates could attempt to freeze out mainstream journalists” as media relations deteriorate. The report cited several high-profile GOP candidates and strategists who argue that the mainstream media’s diminished influence is no longer worth the trouble.

“I increasingly hear from my clients that they have no desire to speak to the New York Times, the Washington Post, or CNN,” GOP strategist Brad Todd told Drucker. “Their argument is: Our voters don’t care what they write, so why should we care what they write?”

Our voters don’t care what they write, so why should we care what they write? Click to Tweet

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Public trust in mainstream news has taken a nosedive in recent years, with a February Gallup poll showing that only 26 percent of Americans hold a favorable opinion of news media. According to the same poll, 50 percent of Americans believe the national press exists to push false narratives. Distrust in media is at its highest level in five years.

Many Republicans, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, regard the 2016 election as an ‘unmasking’ moment for the mainstream media. “Donald Trump broke the corporate media; they hate him so much that the distinction between news and editorial disappeared,” Cruz said in the Dispatch report. “They no longer aspire to be journalists. They are not just Democrat propagandists, they are the left wing of the Democrat Party.”

Others say candidates must now weigh the cost-benefit of interacting with mainstream media. “It used to be, you’d engage with the mainstream media because that’s what you’re supposed to do,” GOP consultant Todd Harris told Dispatch. “But now, there’s a risk-reward element. If you’re going to do it, there better be a payoff.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has gone as far as to make media dishonesty a core issue of his governorship. In February, he hosted a roundtable with several victims of news media defamation, including “Covington Kid” Nick Sandmann. DeSantis called upon the Florida legislature to make it easier for defamation victims to sue media organizations.

“We’ve seen over the last generation legacy media outlets increasingly divorce themselves from the truth and instead try ta serious blow to legacy media outlets, whose ratings and revenue have declined.

With the 2024 Republican primary field starting to expand, DeSantis is expected to carry his aggressive style into a White House bid.

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National polling consistently shows more than 70 percent of GOP primary voters supporting either Trump or DeSantis–leaving a lineup of longshot candidates to fight among the scraps. While Drucker suggested that interacting with mainstream media could help boost those candidates, he does not expect them to take the opportunity.

“GOP presidential contenders not named Trump or DeSantis, however, seem headed toward less interaction with reporters over the next 20 months.

If Drucker’s prediction holds into 2024, it could be a serious blow to legacy media outlets, whose ratings and revenue are already in severe decline since the 2020 election.

According to the New York Times, CNN missed last year’s profitability target by more than $100 million. In 2022, the news network fell below $1 billion in profits for the first time since 2016.

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