Some say the already crowded contest for the GOP presidential nod is more spectacle than substance. Given that there are so many candidates to talk about, the lion’s share of the spotlight has fallen on someone who’s never even held elected office: Donald Trump
The editors of the Huffington Post say that’s entertainment, but it’s not politics. They recently announced that from here on out, there will be no more Trump in the politics section. Instead, they say, news about Trump and his campaign will go straight to the entertainment section.
Ryan Grimm, Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, says the online publication has always been a mix of high and low-brow news. As Trump’s campaign has gained traction, a decision had to be made about where to put the coverage. The site isn’t going to stop coverage of Trump, though.
“He is a pop culture phenomenon, without question, and not something that we would ignore,” Grimm says.
But the publication will be moving his coverage to entertainment section where “it more appropriately belongs.”
The Huffington Post‘s goal is to transparently separate coverage of who they deem serious candidates from their less-serious counterparts. Typically, the media would make these judgements subtly, without comment, unlike the Huffington Post, says Grimm.
“They send signals about who’s serious and who’s not serious,” he says.
Even though most people in the media do not consider Trump a dependable candidate, Grimm says they are a bit baffled at how to handle the coverage.
Bernie Sanders, a democratic candidate, was in a similar ordeal not too long ago. Many did not consider him to be a serious contender, but the way Trump’s candidacy is being handled is more tied to how the media has always covered him. Whereas Sanders has been a politician, Trump has been an entertainer. So the Huffington Post is “treating him the same way that he’s always been treated.”
“He’s a one-of-a-kind person,” Grimm says. “So this is a one-of-a-kind policy.”