By Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times
Donald J. Trump relishes the spotlight of live television. Hillary Clinton has long recoiled from it. Now, the television news industry is wrestling with how to balance fairness, credibility and the temptations of sky-high ratings as it prepares for a presidential matchup like none other.
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has become a daily fixture on influential programs, startling producers by even personally calling control rooms to shape coverage.
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, is not absent from cable news; she called in to CNN and MSNBC last week to rebut attacks from her rival. But she remains leery of TV’s unscripted nature, appearing far less often than Trump and irking some bookers who complain about the difficulties of luring her on the air.
For broadcasters, turning down an interview with a candidate is anathema to a news culture trained to pursue maximum access. Yet the starkly different strategies of the candidates are straining the industry’s bedrock notions of evenhandedness.
“The two candidates are running two different kinds of races,” said John Dickerson, the moderator of “Face the Nation” on CBS, who has interviewed both Clinton and Trump on his show.
“At every opportunity possible, you invite both of them on to share their views and answer the questions of the moment,” Dickerson said. “But a lot of this is on the candidates. If they believe a point is better expressed by their surrogate, or not talking at all, that’s sort of their choice.”