Fruitless search for consensus after Trump speech


A look at the 2016 Republican National Convention through a media lens:

A diverse media speaking to a divided nation found something it could agree upon with Donald Trump’s acceptance speech: It was long.

That was about the only consensus to be found as news organizations and their representatives sought to sum up the convention’s crowning moment Thursday.

“If Americans were not scared for their safety before tonight, they are now,” said ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.

Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace said the speech read better on paper than it was delivered. “For some reason, he shouted the speech,” he said. “It was an endurance test.”

While MSNBC’s Chris Matthews felt the speech was too much of a harangue, it hit strong points at the end. “It was pure Trump,” he said.

CNN’s in-house Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord, said it reminded him of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, speaking on Fox News Channel, could find no comparison.

“This was the best acceptance speech I’ve ever seen, including my hero, Ronald Reagan,” Giuliani said.

On CNN, Ana Navarro had a slightly different take.

“If you are a Republican who came to this convention hungry for an uplifting, unifying, visionary speech, you’re going home starving,” she said.

The media, it seems clear, is still trying to figure Donald Trump out.

WHERE’S PENCE? The speech on the penultimate night of the convention is supposed be the shining moment for a party’s vice presidential candidate. But despite a well-received address in the arena, Mike Pence was a missing man the morning after. Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement speech so dominated the coverage, Pence was all but forgotten. News organizations were reflecting what people were thinking, though. The Nielsen company said the most tweeted-about moment of Wednesday night was the minute after Cruz’s speech.

WORKING THE REFS: Media critic Bernard Goldberg believes reporters look for negative stories when covering Republicans, and he sought to put colleagues on notice during an appearance on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” He complained about the attention paid to Cruz’s speech, even as he admitted it was a newsy story. “They will cover the Democratic convention as a coronation,” he said, “and they are covering the Republican convention as if it’s an anti-abortion rally.”

RATINGS: The television audience grew with the third night of coverage. The Nielsen company said 23.4 million people watched Wednesday night’s session, up from the 21.9 million who watched the penultimate night of the 2012 Republican convention. Fox News Channel was the top-rated television outlet for convention coverage, followed by NBC and CNN.

BREAKING NEWS: It’s been a good week for CNN’s chyron writers, but the person who wrote this message seemed a little weary. “Breaking news!” the onscreen message read. “Source: Expect ‘a few new things’ in Trump’s speech.”