Since Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US election, mind and massage therapists alike have listened to client reports of Trump-related anxiety. Pop culture critics have lamented the shadow that US politics has cast on the interpretation of art. And some US workers have even said they’ve been less productive.
If it has felt impossible to escape news about Trump in recent months, it may be because he’s been garnering more media attention than ever. “It’s like a box of tennis balls released with a Labrador puppy,” Paul Senatori, chief of analytics at the media data company MediaQuant, says of the media’s response to the new administration.
Though Trump received unprecedented media coverage during the election, the value of earned coverage about the now-president during his first month in office exceed that of any month during his campaign, including the month in which he was elected, according to a MediaQuant analysis. The “earned coverage” metric takes into account both the frequency of media mentions and their value, so that a mention in the New York Times, for instance, is weighted more heavily than a mention on a personal blog.
In January, Trump received more than $800 million worth of earned media on television, blogs, Twitter, online news websites and print—nearly five times the value of earned media coverage Barack Obama received during the same month in 2013, as he began his second presidential term.
Data from Chartbeat and Parse.ly, which make software that track website traffic, tell a similar story of the continuing and increasing media attention vortex surrounding Trump.
On Parse.ly’s network, which encompasses 2,000 websites including the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and Quartz, the word “Trump” has been included in 10% of all headlines since Trump took office on January 20.
Among the publishers that use Chartbeat and have more than 1 million visitors each month, Trump mentions have similarly been particularly and increasingly high since the beginning of the year. The frequency of Trump-related coverage from the Chartbeat network’s top publishers dwarfed other major news events, including the Golden Globes, the Super Bowl, and a shooting at a Florida airport in January that killed five people. Of these events, only the Golden Globes and the Super Bowl, on the day of their respective airings, was covered more often among the websites than Donald Trump.
Between December 31 and February 11, 18% of articles published by the top websites within Chartbeat’s network mentioned Trump.
That Trump is sucking up so much media attention isn’t necessarily surprising. Many of his actions as president—including his inauguration speech, his handling of conflicts of interest, his manner of speaking to the press, mass global protests against his presidency, his relations with other governments, and his executive order on immigration—have been called unprecedented.
It makes sense that the corresponding media coverage also, says Senatori, places Trump “in an entirely new league on his own.”