Who Did Media Vote For?
By: Symone Martin Staff Writer
LANCASTER –- Inaccuracies, melodrama, bias, outrage: Journalists showcased plenty during election night news coverage which proved to be intense — and endless. The phenomenon has taken a toll. The weary nation appears to be peeved at the press, and that includes Democrats and Republicans alike who are literally turning away. The press didn’t see it coming. Or did they? This week, we examine the role of data – and delusion – in this election.
During the presidential election, one can most certainly say this was the most challenging presidential campaign season for both voters and the American news media. With candidates such as Hillary Clinton, a woman so closed in and Donald Trump, a loose cannon man, this election season has been one heck of a ride. The election of Donald Trump was a surprise for many journalists, pollsters, and pundits, who are now asking what went wrong and what was missed along the way. There have been strong debates in deciding whether or not the press saw it coming when Trump was elected or whether they were too wrapped in getting “dirt” on Clinton.
America deals with the fallout of the election and many people within the country are straying away from media coverage. Democrats covering approximately 36 percent, are known to most likely avoid certain gaze from newspapers and television news. Whereas 21 percent of Republicans try to avoid the news at all costs. According to Peter Moore, a YouGov analyst from the Washington Times, says, “only 11 percent of Americans believe reading or watching the news lately is the reason for them being in such a great mood.”
Questions such as “How did everyone in the media miss the Trump phenomenon? Were there signs that were ignored? Or was the media so ensconced in its data-driven ways that it missed the forest for the trees?” continue to stem from collective delusion — not a lack of information — and is the reason why the press is in shock. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter sprang up huge conversation when it became clear Donald Trump would soon defeat Hillary Clinton in this year’s presidential election.
However, Vice President Joseph R. Biden believed President-elect Donald Trump won the election by diverting the media’s attention away from serious issues to scandals and outrageous rhetoric. Biden states, “When a guy talks about grabbing a woman’s private parts, when a guy says some of the incredibly outrageous things that were said, it sucks up all the oxygen in the air,” Mr. Biden said in an address at the New York University School of Law. “There wasn’t much of a discussion of issues, even in the debates.”
The vice president said the “coarse” campaign was “dispiriting.” “I find myself embarrassed by the nature and the way in which this campaign was conducted,” Mr. Biden said. “So much for the shining city on a hill.” Mr. Biden strongly believes Mr. Trump distracted the media intentionally away from issues such as Hillary Clinton’s plan for free college tuition. “I guess it was P.T. Barnum who said there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” Mr. Biden said. “And Trump says it. It turns out, he’s pretty damned smart in terms of being able to figure out how to deal with the press. You would have thought some of the things he said would be just, ipso facto, disqualifying for president of the United States of America. But such a negative campaign seemed to take everybody’s eye off the ball.”
So what did the media choose to cover? Biden then states media focused more on writing and broadcasting about Clinton’s private email server than about the ideas and planning to reform taxes, alongside the dealing of issues with China. Criticism dogged Hillary Clinton at every step of the general election. Her “bad press” outpaced her “good press” by 64 percent to 36 percent. She was criticized for everything from her speaking style to her use of emails. As Clinton was being attacked in the press, Donald Trump was attacking the press, claiming that it was trying to “rig” the election in her favor. If that’s true, journalists had a peculiar way of going about it.
Trump’s coverage during the general election was more negative than Clinton’s, running 77 percent negative to 23 percent positive. But over the full course of the election, it was Clinton, not Trump, who was more often the target of negative coverage. Overall, the coverage of her candidacy was 62 percent negative to 38 percent positive, while his coverage was 56 percent negative to 44 percent positive.
So rather than focusing on strengths or weaknesses in specific demographics, or other factors that may have pushed this race in one direction or another, these stats clearly suggest what many people have said all along. Both candidates were very unpopular. And as for media, who knows who they voted for.