Drop everything! Donald Trump is going to say something.
That’s the media’s standard operating procedure. At least it seems that way. And on Wednesday evening, after KLAS in Las Vegas first reported that Trump would endorse Newt Gingrich, The Associated Press and the New York Times, among others, went with the story.
But then Thursday morning, CNN broke the news that The Donald would endorse Romney! Scramble! What’s the story?
Roger Stone, a Republican consultant and longtime Trump supporter told TPM’s Benjy Sarlin that a local news “fuck up” explains the confusion. Stone said the local report was picked up by the AP and then the New York Times, and before you know it, it’s front page news. TPM, we should note, posted the news, citing external reports.
Matt Drudge offered his own cheeky analysis of the media melee with a series of headlines: VEGAS SURPRISE: TRUMP TO ENDORSE… KLAS: IT’S NEWT… AP, NYT, POLITICO: IT’S NEWT… DRUDGE (IN RED): WAIT, IT’S MITT! And on his personal Twitter account, Drudge wrote: “the dealers in vegas are whispering how trump is endorsing — romney. but he is such a card, he might change his mind 5 times by noon.”
The major publications updated their stories, and the political journalism world kept turning. But the debacle begs the question: What does Romney stand to gain from a Donald Trump endorsement? And, perhaps more importantly, why do the media care?
It should come as no surprise that Trump garners a ton attention. His career as of late basically depends on it. And in the world of online journalism, a big, sexy Trump headline is a sure bet to attract some eyeballs. It happened back in December, when Trump announced he would moderate a Republican presidential debate. It happened earlier than that when Trump flirted with his own presidential race. And, for better or worse, today is no different.
We’ve reached out to the Associated Press, New York Times, Matt Drudge and Politico to get their end of it, and will update this piece when we hear back.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com