You’ve heard this media-critic claptrap before: 2004 was the blog election; 2008, the Facebook election; and 2012, the Twitter election. And 2016? New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg wondered whether it would be the Snapchat election.

How about a little throwback action here: 2016 is the cable-news election, a decades-old medium nudging aside higher technology in pursuit of a riveting story.

Proof? Sample this TVNewser story noting that audience growth for broadcast TV news programs is “minuscule” compared with their competitors in cable news. And why wouldn’t it be? Think of the stories on which cable news has feasted since last summer: Donald Trump calling Mexicans “racists”; Trump hammering Megyn Kelly over a very good debate question; Trump calling for banning all Muslims from entering the United States; Trump appearing on “Morning Joe” to hang out with his “supporters“; Trump and his rivals appearing on a nonstop loop of cable-news debates and town-hall events; Trump serially saying “yes” to cable-news interview after cable-news interview; Trump making peace with Kelly; Trump tweeting trash about CNN and Fox News; Trump firing his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who lands at CNN.

That last entry is a perfect stand-in for this whole season: In interviews with freshly signed political commentator Lewandowski, CNN anchors have started out by asking the guy about his qualifications for being a CNN commentator. So as CNN covers the story of Trump, it’s part of the story of Trump. Fox News has faced a similar dynamic in covering Trump; back in March, the candidate confirmed on “Fox & Friends” the news that he wouldn’t be participating in a Utah Republican debate on Fox News.

It’s all perfectly mindless and highly watchable, particularly for a certain high roller who loves to watch cable news. Moments ago, Trump gave a speech in Bangor, Maine, in which he said, in part, “I go around, I make speeches, I talk to reporters. I don’t even need commercials, if you want to know the truth.” MSNBC covered that utterance live.