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Donald Trump to Skip Upcoming GOP Debate

August 18, 2023Bailey Flanders


The media narrative surrounding former President Donald Trump's decision to skip the first GOP primary debate is gaining traction, with our Narrative Intelligence identifying 35 sources amplifying the issue across 67 narrative items. The main focus is on Trump's alleged fear of debate and his plan for 'counterprogramming' to divert attention from the debate in Milwaukee next week.

Rolling Updates

Our Kudzu Narrative Intelligence brief auto-update every few hours with fresh analysis:

Headline Issues

1. Trump's Debate Strategy

  • Trump is following a similar debate strategy to the one he used in 2016, including complaints and threats of boycotts against Fox News and their debate moderators.
  • He plans to offer his services to other networks, more specifically, Tucker Carlson.

2. Trump's Fox News Criticism

  • Trump has been criticizing Fox News for its alleged hostility towards him and its support for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
  • He has expressed dissatisfaction with the use of unflattering pictures of him by the network and flirted with the idea of skipping the debate hosted by Fox.

3. Trump's Counterprogramming

  • Trump is planning 'counterprogramming' to overshadow the GOP debate and make everyone forget about it.
  • Fox executives reportedly visited Trump at his New Jersey golf club to persuade him to participate in the debate.

4. Christie's Challenge and Trump's Alleged Fear to Debate

  • Chris Christie has challenged Trump, stating that if he skips the GOP debate, it shows he is "very scared" of him.
  • Christie questions why Trump would be afraid to confront him if he claims to be so far ahead in the race.
  • Our most amplified narrative in this brief had to do with the former President's alleged fear to debate Gov. Christie. This narrative has been tracked back to July 21st in our system and the narrative has been amplified 133 times in the last month. 


Our Narrative AI has identified the following entities as significant in the narrative:

  • Chris Christie (Former Governor of New Jersey)
  • Joe Scarborough (MSNBC host)
  • Booking and Mugshot (Obligatory booking and mugshot for Donald Trump in GA indictment)

In our analysis of the top surfaced keywords, we have identified several key findings that shed light on the competing narratives and the reasons behind the prominence of certain keywords:

  1. Chris Christie With a count of 23. Christie, a former governor of New Jersey, has been involved in various political activities and has been a vocal supporter of the Republican Party. His presence in the top surfaced keywords indicates his relevance to the topic and his involvement in the narratives.
  2. Ron DeSantis, the current governor of Florida, is mentioned 20 times. As a rising star within the Republican Party and a potential presidential candidate, DeSantis's inclusion in the top surfaced keywords reflects the attention he has garnered and his impact on the narratives.
  3. Nikki Haley, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence are also mentioned multiple times, with counts of 13, 12, and 11 respectively. These individuals, who have held prominent political positions, contribute to the narratives by their involvement or potential involvement in the political landscape.
  4. Vivek Ramaswamy, a rising candidate, appears 14 times. His inclusion in the top surfaced keywords suggests that he has made significant contributions or statements related to the topic, warranting attention and discussion.

Overall, the top surfaced keywords provide insights into the competing narratives and the factors driving them. They reflect the prominence of key political figures, significant events such as debates and primary elections, and the anticipation surrounding the general election. By analyzing these keywords, our Narrative Intelligence can gain a deeper understanding of the narratives and the dynamics within the political landscape.

Trump Skip Debate amplification distribution by keyword-dynamics

U.S. Media

Insights for Bias in U.S. Media

Our Narrative Intelligence reveals significant bias in U.S. media coverage. Analyzing the data, we found that right-leaning sources exhibit the highest bias, with a total of 27 instances. This is followed by left-leaning sources with 13 instances, left-center sources with 12 instances, and right-center sources with 9 instances. Least biased sources have the lowest bias with only 3 instances.

Comparatively, right-leaning sources have more than double the bias of left-leaning sources, and more than triple the bias of left-center and right-center sources. These findings highlight the stark differences in media coverage across political leanings, emphasizing the need for a balanced and unbiased approach in our Narrative AI and Narrative Technology.

Trump Skip Debate amplification distribution by bias

U.S. Media

Note: Kudzu Narrative Intelligence briefs update every few hours. Very likely, the Narrative Analysis data visualization depicted in the graphic above will have changed as well.

Image Credit for Article Header: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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