1. Regrets. His rallies in the primary season were so off the charts, so seductive to cable-news producers and executives that Jeff Zucker, the CNN boss, has publicly regretted devoting too much airtime to them.
2. Insults. As counted by the New York Times, he has sprayed insults at cable-news outlets with tremendous reliability. CNN has drawn about 70 discrete insults; Fox News has tallied about 20, though that figure doesn’t include a separate account for Megyn Kelly alone, with about 40 insults.
3. Addiction. In May, he admitted to Kelly that his own claims to have boycotted her show were a bit flimsy.
4. Ramp-up. A weekly date on the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” helped lay the groundwork for his June 2015 presidential announcement.
5. Audience. Cable news outpaced its competitors in growth throughout the primary season, thanks in large part to you-know-who. NPR’s David Folkenflik reports that CNN beat expected digital and TV revenues by $100 million thanks to the Trump effect.
6. Meta-moment. Trump this year signaled that he wouldn’t be participating in a Fox News primary debate scheduled to take place in Utah. He broke that news on Fox News.
7. Stupidity. In order to properly comment on the Trump phenomenon, CNN hired a gang of Trump surrogates to crowd its airwaves with the most insane quasi-logic and political babble that this country has ever heard. Only on a medium that runs 24/7 could this spectacle unfurl.
8. Killer cable interview, dude! Wednesday, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at his new D.C. hotel, Trump took pains to point to Newt Gingrich. “That was an amazing interview,” said Trump. “We don’t play games, Newt, right? We don’t play games.” The candidate didn’t need to provide much context, considering that Gingrich’s sparring session Tuesday night with Kelly had gotten massive rotation. But even so, it was still just a segment on cable TV news, and that’s what this fellow cares about.
To watch Trump credit Gingrich for his performance in rhetorical combat is to glean the impression that he was excited to see a buddy attempt to take the Fox New host down a peg. Last year, after all, Trump trashed Kelly after she asked him a tough question at the first GOP primary debate, a contretemps that cable news covered quite well.