The Press Does Their Usual Job

I want to bring your attention to this just released study from Harvard's Shorenstein Center, dealing with the treatment of the candidates by the press.  Trump's abominable behavior in the last few weeks has led to some highly visible negative coverage by the press, but do not believe that this indicates that the mainstream media intend to do their job in the upcoming Presidential contest. Here's a sample of what they found; first about Trump:

"When critics have accused journalists of fueling the Trump bandwagon, members of the media have offered two denials. One is that they were in watchdog mode, that Trump’s coverage was largely negative, that the “bad news” outpaced the “good news.” The second rebuttal is that the media’s role in Trump’s ascent was the work of the cable networks—that cable was “all Trump, all the time” whereas the traditional press held back.

Neither of these claims is supported by the evidence. Figure 2 shows the news balance in Trump’s coverage during the invisible primary. As can be seen, Trump’s coverage was favorable in all of the news outlets we studied. There were differences from one outlet to the next but the range was relatively small, from a low of 63 percent positive or neutral in The New York Times to a high of 74 percent positive or neutral in USA Today. Across all the outlets, Trump’s coverage was roughly two-to-one favorable."

Or, in a graphic from the study:
The press coverage of this miserable bullying charlatan has ranged from two thirds to three quarters positive.  Things are different with Hillary:

"For her part, Clinton might have wished that the Democratic race received even less attention than it did, given that her coverage was the least favorable of the leading contenders, Democratic and Republican. Month after month, as Figure 6 indicates, her coverage was more negative than positive. There was only one month in the whole of 2015 where the tone of her coverage was not in the red and, even then, it barely touched positive territory. During the first half of the year, excluding neutral references, it averaged three to one negative statements over positive statements...Whereas media coverage helped build up Trump, it helped tear down Clinton. Trump’s positive coverage was the equivalent of millions of dollars in ad-buys in his favor, whereas Clinton’s negative coverage can be equated to millions of dollars in attack ads, with her on the receiving end."

And again a graphic from the study:
An immense imbalance toward portraying her in a negative light.

I must warn people of a phenomenon that I have observed for numerous elections now, but which I have never seen mentioned by a single other person, left or right.  It has been customary for the press to have a brief period before the conventions when they make a feint of presenting some kind of modestly honest coverage of the candidates, before shifting back to their unrelenting support of the Republican, no matter what an incompetent, lying con man he clearly is.  This is done so that, in later years, this can be cited as some sort of proof that the press was even-handed.  In fact, this period represents the point at which committed, politically involved people have virtually all made their choices, and politically uninvolved, low information voters are still tuned out.  It is a safe time to pretend to be fair, before getting back to their flacking for the party of the rich; do not delude yourself into thinking that anything different is going to happen this time around, no matter how horrible a Trump Presidency would be for the country.

Link found via Daily Kos.


Marc said…
There was a news show back in the early 80's called NBC News Overnight. It was the best news show I'd ever seen, even if it aired late at night (or early in the morning, depending on what shift you worked). I watched it for most of it's run, until it left the air. I joined the military and was stationed in Europe soon after. Seeing the US from the outside during that time (Reign of Regan) opened my eyes to the slant the US broadcasters gave to various topics and personages vs what the rest of the world was reporting. From both those experiences, I came to understand the vaulted status of the US 'free press' as fair and impartial was bulldreck.

1984 was a warning, not an instruction manual. Too bad it takes something like The Onion, John Stewart or Seven Colbert to get the proper perspective on the situation. With the disrespect President Obama and the first family have been treated over the last eight years, I fear for what a President Hillary Clinton White House would experience - and the public be dragged through 'scandals' which are nothing but hot air being pumped out for ratings...again.

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