Katie Couric says that the media has helped Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by giving it extra coverage and soft interviews.
“I think there were certainly cases of enabling the Trump candidacy,” she said on “The Axe Files” podcast, as first reported by CNN. The podcast is hosted by David Axelrod, President Obama’s chief strategist for his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
“Initially, I thought that there was that period of time where it was wall-to-wall coverage, 90 minutes of his rallies with very little editorial context,” the veteran journalist added.
“There just seemed to be something patently unfair. He knew how to work the system and the system was more than happy to have him work it.”
Couric said that Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, quickly controlled the media buzz around his campaign by frequently conducting interviews via phone.
“I thought it was very difficult to ask him challenging questions on the phone because he was like a bulldozer,” she said in the interview released Monday.
“I think I would really have fought against that,” Couric added. “If I had, I would have said, ‘You get five minutes and so does every other candidate.’
“I don’t know because I wasn’t in those booking meetings, so maybe the other candidates were saying no, but they shouldn’t have. They should have been saying, ‘Yes, I’m going to come in and I’m going to talk on the phone for seven minutes.’ I don’t know how hard they tried.”
Couric added that Trump’s ultimate popularity with voters is a real phenomenon that the news industry should examine, however.
“I think you also have to appreciate and realize that there’s a huge groundswell behind him too,” she said of Trump.
“Those people can’t be ignored either. I think one of the things that really hasn’t been done well is examining the forces at work that were making him rise to the top and making his candidacy much more viable than people predicted.”