Jared Kushner has played a major role in his father-in-law’s presidential campaign, and will continue to play a big role in his presidency, no doubt.
In fact, Kushner has played a big role in pushing Trump’s campaign rhetoric through the media, and revealed as much to a group of business executives during a meeting in the Morgan Stanley Cafeteria for the Partnership, in New York, on Friday.
In particular, there was a sweet deal with Sinclair Broadcasting Group.
Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks.
In exchange, Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 listeners — than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000.
“It’s math,” Kushner said according to multiple attendees.
And it was, no doubt, a good PR move.
It allowed for Trump’s message to be seen to a wider audience, unchallenged.
The same deal was apparently offered to the Clinton campaign. Hillary Clinton declined, but her VP pick, Tim Kaine, participated in several interviews.
Kushner, dressed in a suit and sneakers, told the business executives that the campaign was upset with CNN because they considered its on-air panels stacked against Trump. He added that he personally talked with Jeff Zucker about changing the composition of the panels but Zucker refused. He repeatedly said in the panel that CNN wasn’t “moving the needle” and wasn’t important as it once was, according to three of the people present.
The campaign then decided not to work as closely with CNN, and Trump ramped up his bashing of the cable network.
Two people present said that they were surprised how much Kushner talked about CNN. “He kept going on and on about it,” one business executive said.
And that is quite in line with the modus operandi of the Trump brand. They don’t let go of their grudges, to the point of seeming obsessed.
Kushner went on to say that outlets such as CNN and the New York Times, which were critical of Trump through the campaign, were less of a factor now, while social media, Google and Facebook are more powerful.
He’s not entirely wrong. Social media allows for information to reach a much larger audience in a much shorter time frame.
The problem remains, however, with controlling what is factually-thin, even inherently false news.
“Fake” news websites were a friend to Trump throughout the campaign, and remain so.
Still, there are more legitimate outlets that will allow for deals like Sinclair made with the Trump campaign, in order to stay in favor with the administration. This lends to the fact that traditional news is not dead, but it’s gasping for air.
This election season may have a wider effect on our society, far beyond the next four years, and it will be interesting to see how traditional media maneuvers the waters that have been stirred up by this election season.