After the tumultuous events of the 2016 election cycle, many citizens, scholars and pundits have been critical of the media's role in the process. Citizens lament that too much of evening news coverage revolves around the horserace, on campaign logistics, on scandals and on negative assessments of candidates. They argue that the institutional structure of the media and their commitment to news values helped propel Donald Trump to victory. Indeed, a heated debate over this question has emerged since Election Day. Therefore, my research investigates the validity of these claims and the historical trends that have led evening news coverage to this pivotal point. It is clear in reviewing the scholarship that current media trends have indeed become more pronounced over time. Discussion of winners and losers and of candidates' gaffes and blunders takes up a great deal more screen time than discussion of experience and governing ability. But this would matter little if the media, and if television media in particular, had little influence on the priorities of the public. We know, however, that this is not the case. The media's ability to set the public agenda is a well studied and well documented phenomenon. I expand this model and apply it to other aspects of campaign coverage throughout my research. Finally, I will discuss the media's role in governance today, and the attacks currently being waged by President Trump and his many public surrogates. This will shine light on the necessity of the media in a democratic system, and on opportunities for reform in the future.