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Donald Trump gets 20- minutes free air-time by tricking media broadcasters

News Agencies | Updated on: 17 September 2016, 17:13 IST

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has outraged the media after he duped them into broadcasting an infomercial for his new hotel on the pretext of a "major announcement" to get more than 20 minutes of free air-time.

Not only CNN but all major networks aired Trump's event at his newly inaugurated Trump International Hotel in Washington DC as pro-Trump military members started speaking.

Ahead of the event, Trump had hyped over Fox News that he would be making a major announcement about the "birther" controversy of US President Barack Obama.

All the news networks - CNN, MSNBC, and Fox - started carrying the event live.

They kept on waiting for 20 minutes waiting for Trump to speak on the birther controversy. It was not before 20 minutes that the news networks apparently realised that they have been taken for a ride once again.

"We got played, again, by the Trump campaign, which is what they do," CNN's chief national correspondent John King said after the news channel showed the GOP nominee for nearly 20 minutes live, waiting for a major announcement from Trump.

"He got a live event broadcast for some 20 minutes," King said. Trump is known for spending less money on television advertisements, while his opponent Hillary Clinton is spending a huge sum of money.

About five minutes after that, Trump took the podium to speak four short statements.

"Hillary Clinton in her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again," he said.

"We all got rickrolled and played," rued Jake Tapper of CNN.

"It is insulting what he just did," Congressman Gregory Meeks told CNN.

"And he has done it time and time and time again, which tries to divide us as a nation. It's like he thinks it's a game, you're playing a TV show," he said.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign prevented editorial access to his tour of the hotel. In protest television reporters erased the video of his hotel tour. The Washington Post slammed news channels for showing this event live.

"While they waited, and waited, Trump provided what amounted to a campaign infomercial and shamelessly promoted his new Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington," the daily said.

"This is a campaign and a candidate that completely understands how the press works - or doesn't work - and exploits the blatant weaknesses of political journalism," said Dan Gillmor, a media scholar at Arizona State University.

On Twitter he called this episode "universal sewer dwelling" for cable news.


First published: 17 September 2016, 17:13 IST