Media industry reacts to Donald Trump’s presidential win

Former reality star Donald Trump has won the U.S. presidential election, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in a poll-defying shock outcome. Although most polls and pundits gave Clinton an edge going into ...
November 9, 2016

Former reality star Donald Trump has won the U.S. presidential election, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in a poll-defying shock outcome.

Although most polls and pundits gave Clinton an edge going into the final count, the 70-year-old Republican businessman managed to take the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina to decisively claim victory.

At 2:30 a.m., Nov. 9, The Associated Press called the election for Trump after he won Wisconsin and passed the 270 electoral collage votes needed to become the country’s 45th president.

Tuesday’s vote marked the end of a campaign full of controversies that would have sunk many other candidates. On the campaign trail, Trump branded Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, supported a ban on Muslims entering the United States and threatened to sue news outlets that criticized him.

In October, several women came forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault after a 2005 tape emerged of the candidate making lewd remarks on the set of Access Hollywood.

He also called his political opponent a crook and threatened to put her in jail if elected president. However, he took a more conciliatory tone during a 3 a.m. victory speech in New York City.

“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said. “It is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.”

The campaign also ensnared one of the most powerful people in unscripted TV.

Trump hosted the NBC reality series The Apprentice between 2004 and 2015. After the Access Hollywood tape came out, calls mounted for the show’s executive producer Mark Burnett to release hours of uncut footage that might hurt the Republican’s chances. The controversy compelled the producer to issue a statement distancing himself from Trump and denouncing the “hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.”

The election’s impact on the television industry is uncertain, but Reuters reports that Time-Warner shares fell 2% on Wednesday amid concerns Trump would block a proposed US$85 billion acquisition by AT&T Inc. “It’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” Trump said of the proposal during a rally on Oct. 22.

Meanwhile, other media stocks were down on Wednesday morning. Viacom shares fell 2.33% to $36.36, Netflix dipped 2.16% to $121.66, Discovery dropped 1.59% to $25.44 and CBS went down 1.47% to $56.88 and Amazon fell 2.97% to $23.29.

Despite predicting Trump would ride a wave of working-class voter discontent to victory, documentarian Michael Moore released the documentary Michael Moore in Trumpland in which he made the case for Clinton to a mixed group of Republican-leaning voters in Wilmington, Ohio. The filmed version of his one-man show was shot weeks before election day and began rolling out in cinemas and on digital platforms on October 18.

PBS ‘POV’ executive director and producer Justine Nagan in a statement to realscreen, meanwhile, said that the documentary brand is committed to bridging great divides and serving all Americans in the wake of growing censorship concerns and sinking media stocks.

“POV’s role is more important than ever. We bring independent voices and stories that might otherwise go unnoticed, to American viewers, for free through public media,” she said. “PBS and POV are largely supported by committed and generous individuals, foundations and businesses that believe in the mission. While we do receive some government support, that support has weathered many different administrations. We believe in the importance of public media to serve all Americans and are committed to building on our legacy in the days ahead.”

“It’s more critical than ever that immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, victims of sexual assault, the disabled, undocumented Americans — everyone Donald Trump targeted on the campaign trail — are making sure our voices are heard,” added Off the Menu: Asian America filmmaker Grace Lee.

Following Trump’s win, Moore was among the documentary and unscripted voices to sound off on social media with a mix of anger, optimism and resolve.


About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.