How Media Made Trump Famous?

Donald Trump is a very controversial figure. It is interesting to research and to write about him. On the one hand, he is very involved with the media, since Trump had his TV show back in 2004. Overall, it is amazing how Trump and media are interrelated. Another reason why it is interesting to write about Trump is that he has severely been attacked by media and many influential figures. At the same time, he strikes back. He believes that the media is full of lies and he vigorously condemns the media (“Donald J. Trump Republican Nomination Acceptance Speech,” 2016). On the other hand, mass media has played a crucial role in celebrification of Trump. He has appeared on the covers of a variety of newspapers and magazines, including New York Times, People, Times etc. However, Trump has been very negatively portrayed by media in the United States and abroad. In fact, Trump is hated by the media and, at the same time, he became very famous with all the negative attention he got. The current paper will answer the following question, why would the media want to turn him into a celebrity?

Trump is a real estate developer. He was born in 1946 in Manhattan, New York City. Trump was born into a wealthy family. His father was a very rich man. When Trump started working, he got one million dollars to start with. In Manhattan, he became involved with building projects. Trump became known as a city’s best developer when he built the Grand Hyatt in 1980. He also began starring in the reality series called “The Apprentice” in 2004. He became popular, while working for the show at NBC. Later, Trump started his career in politics. The presidential campaign of Donald Trump started in 2015. On July 19, Trump won major primaries and caucuses, and became a Republican candidate for president on July 19, 2016. During the elections, Trump’s major competitor was Hilary Clinton. The government held the elections to show representatives, so that voters can select, and they can legitimize the governments (Celebrity and Promotional Culture, n.d. a). The involvement of Trump in elections changed a lot. At one point, Trump complained that there is cheating in elections. After Trump’s participation in the debates, many things have changed. He finally became the America’s 45th president, beating Hillary by big numbers (“Donald Trump Biography,” 2016).

There are certain techniques used by politicians to become popular. In other words, several steps are involved to make someone famous. Celebrification turns an ordinary individual into someone completely different. Someone who attracts the public attention and, hence, an individual becomes publically known by many (Al Yakin, Kasnawi, & Samad, 2016). However, it is a different story when it comes to the celebrifiation of Donald Trump. It seems like Trump has somehow forced the media to promote his image. It is no secret that Trump is involved with the media. He likes to be talked about and to be screened. In other words, he wants to be famous.

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Trump believes that fame can help one to get the things he/she wishes for. For example, he said that when a person is popular, he or she can do whatever they want with men or women. Furthermore, he stated that he is very attracted to beautiful women, and that he cannot hold help himself but kiss them and “grab” them. This is one of the reasons why Trump likes to be famous, since he loves women and their attention (Jacobs, Siddiqui, & Bixby, 2016). The future president got involved with media, so that he becomes a celebrity.

Even when Trump started campaigning for the presidency, he was not a total stranger to Americans. However, he was not a very popular on the international level. Before Trump became popular, he worked very hard with media to promote his image. For example, in the past, when reporters wanted to talk to him, Trump would never let them down. Therefore, he was always making himself available to be interviewed, and he would occasionally appear in random TV programs. The media became his close friend. This is one way how his “celebrification” started. In other words, Trump was making himself a “brand” (Blair 2016). For example, plenty of TV shows make up various stories of self-branding and, at the same time, produce branded personae (Hearn, 2008). Trump started acting for a reality TV show. He appeared in TV show “The Apprentice” that was aired on NBC in 2004. Trump became more popular when his TV show was forecasted and more seasons were added to the show, as its popularity kept growing. Even other countries started showing similar shows (MyDVDCollection, 2013). Besides using media to promote his name, Trump also owns many buildings. He has hotels, towers, and even golf fields that have been named after him. For instance, Trump Tower is an impressive and luxurious building that bears Trump’s name. One can see the tower from miles away (Investopedia, 2016). After all, Trump has succeeded to appear on the cover of many popular newspapers and magazines . However, not all of them have been supporting Trump. Most of them have portrayed Trump negatively. On the contrary, Trump does not seem to truly care about it. All he cares about is to be in the headlines.

This section of the paper will answer the next question: how did media create Trump? Media is heavily involved in the creation of Donald Trump’s image. Without media’s influence, Trump would not have become so popular and so strong. “There is a case to be made that the media created Donald Trump” (Klein, 2016). It is known that there are more newspapers supporting Hillary Clinton than they are backing Trump. Less than 20 newspapers go for Trump, while around 200 support Clinton. Even half of the media that backed Trump were halfhearted. In other words, they did not always support him. Sometimes, the newspapers disapproved of him. One of the reasons why Trump was made so popular is that media gave Trump too much airtime that was not filtered. In addition to that, many people liked what they were seeing. Trump was able to entertain people. While people got entertained, Trump was becoming closer to them. In fact, some people argue that journalism did not succeed in telling the real story and Trump got a free pass from TV. As mentioned earlier, Trump was given an offer to present “The Apprentice” by Jeff Zucker. In other words, Jeff Zucker turned Trump into a TV star. The success of Trump at CNN gave him more exposure in return. A lot of Trump’s stories are dismissed by mainstream media. However, they are published by other alternative news sources. After all, media created Trump for his entertainment skills (Sillito, 2016). At that moment, media followed Trump everywhere, and anything he said was reported. Media constantly kept chasing him. Since Trump started running a presidency campaign, he has been under severe criticism from the media in the United States and in other countries. No other presidential candidates have been attacked by media the way Trump has (Klein, 2016). As Sillito (2016) stated, “The Washington Times declared Trump imperfect and acknowledged his “vulgarity and coarseness.”” The Washington Times is not the only source that has openly attacked Trump. He was also heavily criticized when he started talking about the bomb that went off in NYC. For example, CBS News, USA Today, and The Washington Post were all over Trump. They all complained that Trump did not wait for the facts and details to make a more reliable statement. Instead, he immediately suggested that the explosion was a bomb. However, unluckily for Trump, Hillary was not criticized for making the same assumptions (Caruso, 2016). Trump has also been censured by different sources regarding the federal income taxes. For example, New York Times blamed Trump for not paying federal income taxes for more than 20 years (Tuttle, 2016). Further, BuzzFeed News stated that it was alright to refer to Trump as “a mendacious racist,” while referring to him in social media (Klein, 2016). Overall, the future president has been very negatively portrayed in different media sources.

However, not all TV channels and newspapers are reporting against Trump. For example, Fox News is a big supporter of Trump. It openly supports Trump’s candidacy and wants him to make it to the presidential office. Fox News share similar views as Trump on the issues including immigration, and gender equality. For instance, Fox reported that they feel like immigrates are destroying American culture. Just like Trump points out that political correctness is limiting for the truth to be told (Waldman, 2016).

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Trump does not just sit back, while he is under attack from media; on the contrary, he fights back with it. At one of his rallies in Fairfield, Trump told supporters that he is not only running against Hilary, but also he is running against the crooked media. What is more, Trump did not hesitate to call media dishonest. Further, he mentioned that it is not the freedom of speech when journalists are permitted to say whatever they want, while making completely false accusations. He argued that the Congress should open libel laws to make it possible for the U.S. citizens to be able to sue newspapers. Therefore, Trump is not afraid to make threats against the media. It seemed like the half of his campaign he was fighting off media and others.

At times, Trump loses his temper when communicating with reporters. He calls Times, newspaper of fiction, and he considered to ban it from his events. Trump accused Times of being dishonest with coverage at his rallies. He stated that it never shows how big the crowd is, and never talks about the real message. As he declares, he is in fight “with the dishonest and corrupt media” (Helmore, 2016). He said if the corrupt and disgusting media would have covered him fairly, he would have beaten Hilary by 20% (Klein, 2016). Despite media’s harsh criticism of Trump, he won the presidency. The supporters of Hilary blame his success on the failure of journalism. The professor Jeff Jarvis stated that “The Mere fact of Donald Trump’s candidacy is evidence of the failure of journalism” (Sillito, 2016). The professor believed that the media was not able to tell the truth with enough force. In other words, the media failed to get the truth across. This had led to the Trump’s success of becoming the President of the United States.

It is not only the media that disapproves of Trump. Many celebrities have openly attacked Donald Trump. A number of comedians constantly insult and make fun of Trump. Famous celebrities have been taking part in the elections as much as anyone else did. In fact, they have openly endorsed candidates from both Republican and Democrat parties. Celebrities, including Taraji P. Henson Tasha Smith, and Bryshere all publically denounced Trump. It is odd that these particular stars condemned Trump, because they are all working for Fox network. As it is known, Fox News support Trump. These particular celebrities recorded their message in a video. They complain that “the violence and nasty rhetoric against mankind is unacceptable, and if Trump gets into office, it will only get worse” (Brown, 2016). At the same time, when Trump’s video was released, containing offensive language against women in 2005, Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that he would not support Trump. As we know, Schwarzenegger is a Republican, however, he decided not to vote for Trump. In addition to that, Robert De Niro has disapproved and made a harsh criticism against Trump. He stated that “It’s crazy that people like Donald Trump… he shouldn’t even be where he is, so God help us…”. He further said that Trump is totally nuts. Even Miley Cyrus said that she would leave the country and go to Canada if Trump wins (Brown, 2016).


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While many Hollywood celebrities support Hillary Clinton, Trump has the support of more celebrities. Jon Voight stated that “I am not someone who’s saying he’s the best of this group. I’m saying I like this guy” (Hejl and Hod, 2016). Other famous stars have made similar statements, for example, Willie Robertson wrote that “I love Trump. How can you not love Trump?” (Hejl and Hod, 2016). It appears that these celebrities support Trump. On the one hand, some people believe that most of the Trump’s supporters are white. On the other hand, there are many Latinos and African Americans who support Trump. For example, an African American Hollywood star Azelia Banks, says that “OK so, I think I’m ready to admit that I’m going to vote for Donald Trump” (Hejl and Hod, 2016). She is not the only African American Hollywood start that supported Trump. Mike Tyson also expressed his support for Trump. He stated that he would vote for someone who is fit for the job. No matter who he is, as long as he is going to get the job done (Hejl and Hod, 2016).

Before Trump was running for the office, he was not under so much criticism by media and celebrities. Once he started getting involved in politics, the media in the United States and abroad, along with influential people, started insulting and condemning him. The more media and others tried to put him down, the more famous he got. At that point, media did not know how to deal with Trump. One thing the media has always done was reporting everything Trump did or said, while he was running his campaign. There is no doubt that Trump became the center of attention in many news and TV channels. For example, BBC News has covered every bit of Trump’s campaign. Most of the time, Trump was listed in the BBC’s headlines almost every day and he continues to dominate. BBC News did not always paint a good picture for Trump; mostly, he was negatively portrayed.

At the moment Trump and media are fighting for attention (Rutenberg, 2016). Media has found it very hard to deal with Trump. Trump has his ways to manipulate media. The way Trump sees media is different than how others might see it. He knows how to make media work for him. For example, he said that if you say something outrageous and act a little out of the ordinary, then the press is going to write about you. Even people complain that the media has given too much attention for Trump. People were able to influence the course of elections by participating directly in elections. Through media, the U.S. citizens could express their voices. They were able to like or dislike comments made by Hilary or Trump through Twitter (Celebrity and Promotional Culture, n.d.).



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Some believe Trump’s promises have also contributed to his popularity. For example, he assures to create a lot of jobs and minimize taxes on middle class. Whether he stands by this promise or not, he probably succeeded in bringing voters to his side. At the same time, he receives tremendous attention from Republican Party and the media. At the beginning, Republican Party members thought that Trump might destroy their party; however, as time went by, most of them started endorsing him. Trump succeeded in collecting a tremendous amount of supporters across the United States. Many Trump’s supporters watch politics as means of entertainment. Many people like to watch Trump, as he is good at entertaining people. Public find it amusing when Trump is bragging about his money and making fun of others (Kharroub, 2015).

Even though Trump has been intensely criticized by celebrities and media, he keeps on going. He got a lot of attention from media in the United States and abroad when he expressed his views on Muslims, immigration, and women. During his campaign, he called for the complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, while many people think it is unconstitutional (Husseini, n.d.). Further, he promised to build a giant wall that would be paid by Mexico. At the same time, he called Mexicans rapists and accused them of stealing jobs from the U.S. citizens. After Trump has said these statements during his campaign, he received a tremendous attention from all around the world. Everyone was talking about Trump. Even in Mexico people started protesting against what Trump said and burnt his figure as means of protesting. Even countries that are miles away from the United States cover most of what Trump was doing and saying. Because of his remark about Muslims in the United States, there is an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment (Costello, 2016).

The question is how Trump and media work to benefit from each other? Trump started campaigning in June of 2015 (Deines & Place, 2016). After Trump had decided to become a president, he was viciously attacked by media and many influential individuals. Observing Trump, during his campaigning, he did not seem to care about all the negative coverage he got from media and all the insults he received from celebrities and politicians and even his close friends. Trump realized one thing for sure, that if he keeps talking big and acts out of proportion, he is more likely to be chased by media.

Above all, there is a strong relationship between Trump’s candidacy, promotional culture, state of celebrity and media. Promotional culture refers to the advertising that shook North America in 1960 and 1970 (Promotional Cultures Team, 2013). The advertising controls a lot of aspects of our everyday life. It influences us in what we wear, eat, and even go for vacation. In the 21st century, it is almost impossible to get away from advertisements. They are everywhere you go. Gray (2010) states that “promotions can remind us of the depressing reality that ultimately the show we’re watching is there to move product as much as, or more than, it is to enlighten, engage, or amuse us”. First, media plays a crucial role in promotional culture, a state of celebrity and Trump’s campaign. Without media, it is not easy to do the advertising. Second, media helps to get the information about a certain product across to public. At the same time, an advertisement can be very limited without the help of media. It is a similar case when it comes to being a celebrity. Celebrification is not likely to happen without the media’s involvement. Trump probably would not have become the president without being covered so much by mass media. It is true that media made him famous and this way, he was able to get many supporters. As much as celebrity state is dependable on media, also media depends on celebrities. Without celebrities, media cannot be very effective. A majority of the people like to see famous people and how celebrities act. Trump is extremely important for media. When the name “Trump” appears anywhere, people are attracted like a magnet to it.All things considered, Trump is genius at appearing in the headlines of millions of media sources. Indeed, he learned that talking bad about other people can get him covered by media. However, one might not want to get promoted for negative comments and insults. It seems different with Trump. Trump did not have a problem, making fun of anyone that he thought would be funny and entertaining for others to see. For example, he made fun of a disabled reporter, while giving a speech. Trump’s supporters found it funny and they seemed entertained. After he had mocked the disabled reporter, he was once again all over the media. No doubt, it is not something that an intelligent person would probably do for attention because it is inappropriate to make fun of a disabled person. However, Trump did not hesitate to do it. After this particular incident, Trump was almost in every newspaper and TV channel. Consequently, this seems one way Trump uses media to benefit his campaign. For Trump to get media coverage, he has to do something out of the ordinary. He does not seem to have a problem doing that. As a result, he gets what he wants, which is media’s attention. As media tries to report and paint Trump in a negative way, it seemed he got more famous and more coverage from other media sources. While some media sources were attacking him, others were defending Trump. It gives the impression that media did not make Trump famous intentionally, since he has been covered extremely negatively by media in the United States and abroad. However, Trump knows how to manipulate media to work for him. As it is known, he has been involved with Media for a very long time now. Trump first appeared on his TV show in 2004.


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