Anderson Cooper sat down with fellow super interviewer Howard Stern and the two traded insights about their trade. Stern was mesmerized by Cooper’s Town Hall meetings when he had candidates Trump, Kasich and Cruz at once. It’s a big gig and Stern wanted to know how Cooper prepared. Cooper offered Stern some praise for his own technique, saying “Look, you’re one of the best interviewers there is. You read stuff, you know stuff.” Cooper does the same, he said. He likes to read everything a candidate has said over the past six weeks: “Because generally if you know everything they’ve said over six weeks you kind of know what they’re going to say. Not so much with Donald Trump, but usually,” said Cooper.
It’s this element of surprise that Cooper describes in Donald Trump’s candidacy that explains how Trump has managed to dominate the other presidential candidates in “earned media.” News is called news because there’s an expectation it’ll be new — and if the other candidates are offering predictable talking points, as Cooper says, then Trump is the only one, by Cooper’s own admission, capable of really making news. That’s how the controversial GOP candidate has won the earned media battle, managing to spend just a fraction of the money his rivals have while getting far more media coverage.