American media licking its wounds in wake of Clinton loss, anti-Trump protests
What a difference an election makes. One week ago, the US media was boldly predicting that Hillary Clinton had a better than 90 percent chance of beating Donald Trump in the race to the White House.
Citing a severely flawed Reuters/Ipsos poll, they predicted in one giddy voice that "any upset by Trump... depends on an unlikely combination of turnouts of white, black and Hispanic voters in six or seven states." Across the country, newspapers echoed the prediction, saying Trump would lose to the former Secretary of State by a margin of 303-235 in the Electoral College vote.
This detached-from-reality reporting underscored the notion that the country was split between "parallel universes" where the truth, if it existed, was nowhere near the desirable middle, but rather lost in the hyper-space of some faraway galaxy.
Indeed, many people were asking how it was possible that Clinton, who at one point went for 269 days without giving a single interview, while having difficulty selling tickets to even the smallest venues (at least the venues not comprised of Wall Street bankers), was outperforming a guy who was filling baseball stadiums with raucous supporters.
Despite this easily observable reality, most people experienced shock and awe when they learned that Trump had emerged victorious in the election, grabbing 290 Electoral College votes to Clinton's 232. The shock felt around the planet was symptomatic of a media that failed once again in its duties. Had the US mainstream media reported accurately on the two candidates, Trump's win would not have felt like an "upset" and Liberals would not be tossing hissy fits across the country for losing.
Not only was Trump portrayed in the mainstream media as a downtrodden underdog with absolutely zero chances of beating his Democratic rival, he was constantly on the receiving end of negative reporting. Here is a telling factoid: Since July, when Trump sealed the Republican nomination, he had been getting significantly more news coverage than Hillary Clinton. But there's a catch: Nearly all of that coverage (91 percent) was hostile, according to a study by the Media Research Center (MRC).
And although both candidates have their fair share of skeletons in the closet, the mainstream media devoted 440 minutes of TV time discussing Trump's personal faults, compared to just 185 minutes for thrashing out Clinton's pile of bones, which was certainly not lower than The Donald's.
For example, the subject of Trump’s "treatment of women" was allotted 102 minutes of evening prime-time news, more than the amount of time reporting on Clinton’s e-mail scandal (53 minutes) and the Clinton Foundation pay-for-play accusations (40 minutes) combined. Yes, sex sells, but there should have been much more balance considering the stakes.
In light of these numbers, it seems undeniable that the mainstream media was more concerned with promoting Hillary Rodham Clinton than with providing their readers with a fair shakedown of both nominees. In fact, when it is understood exactly how many local newspapers across the country failed to endorse Trump's campaign to become the 45th President of the United States, his victory really seems to have been snatched from the jaws of defeat. Now, thanks to the so-called "surprise" of a Trump win, which should have been no surprise at all, Liberals have awakened from their media-induced stupor and taken to the streets in shrill protest.
Despite a baggage train of scandals trailing in her wake, Hillary Clinton was officially endorsed by every major US newspaper, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Daily News. Even USA Today, which had not endorsed a presidential candidate since its founding over three decades ago, sided with Clinton by declaring Trump "unfit for the presidency."
The Atlantic, which has been in circulation since before the Civil War, awarded Clinton its third-ever endorsement. Trump, meanwhile, had to be content to have the Las Vegas Review-Journal (daily circulation, less than 175,000 copies) as his main media supporter.
In fact, if it weren't for Trump's savvy use of social media, where he waged a David-versus-Goliath-style battle against the media titans, the media's full-court press would have totally shut him down.
US media 'fascinated with sex'
Aside from the mighty Trump, the one person who really had a finger on the pulse of the national mood was former Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. In a must-see interview with the ultra-vexatious Megyn Kelly of Fox News, Gingrich cooly dismissed her wrong-headed suggestion that Trump was taking a beating in the polls and heading for a big loss.
Kelly opened the interview with the loaded question: "If Donald Trump loses this White House race, and the Republicans lose the Senate, does that suggest that the Republicans nominated the wrong candidate."
Gingrich, sidestepping buff Kelly despite his advanced years, blocked that shot and nailed a three-pointer: "The next two weeks are a contest of two parallel universes... You have a poll which suggests that [Hillary Clinton's] going to get a Barack Obama turnout among African Americans. I don't think that's going to happen. You have a Washington Post/ABC News poll where they took out 8 percent of the votes because they didn't like the result. I believe the odds are ... pretty good that she's not going to win."
When the conversation turned to those sexually-laced "locker room" comments uttered by Trump over a decade ago, Gingrich mentioned the disproportionate amount of time the news media devoted to that subject as compared to Clinton's email scandal. Kelly drew a foul when she rudely interrupted with the rhetorical question: "If Trump is a sexual predator...?" She never finished the sentence, and from there the fireworks began. Gingrich, clearly incensed, responded to the suggestion by asking why the three major networks in a single night devoted 23 minutes to the Trump scandal, while Hillary Clinton and "her secret speech in Brazil to a bank that pays her $225,000 where she said her dream is an open border where 600 million people could come to America, that's not worth covering."
Gingrich wrapped up his statement by lecturing Kelly in a memorable remark that applied to mainstream media across the board: "You are fascinated with sex and you don't care about public policy."
Only now, after Trump defied all the media pollsters and pundits to win the White House, is the media beginning to understand (perhaps out of fear of a Trump backlash against them) that the public understands that not only did they do a lousy job covering this election, but their primary mission was to support Hillary Clinton, not to inform their audiences.
This weekend, for example, The New York Times published what some have taken to be an apology for the way America's "paper of record" behaved itself during the nationally divisive election.
"After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters? What forces and strains in America drove this divisive election and outcome? Most important, how will a president who remains a largely enigmatic figure actually govern when he takes office?"
That statement is wide of the mark and proves the New York Times completely misunderstands its public function. No media outfit should be concerned whether or not they underestimated a particular candidate's level of popularity amongst the people. Their job is not to conform like gummy bears to public taste; their job is to provide a fair and balanced source of information on the candidates so the voters can make an honest decision at the voting booth. Instead, democracy turned into a charade, with the media content to work as part of Clinton's shadow campaign team. Now they are simply red-faced at being caught out. Or did they actually believe their own reporting?
Reading the NYT's so-called apology did not restore my faith in the US mainstream media. Rather, it brought back bad memories as to how that paper, perhaps more than any other, deceived the American public into accepting the 2003 invasion of Iraq through a series of articles allegedly exposing Iraq's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, investigative journalism that the paper later admitted was "not as rigorous as it should have been," based as it was on "bad intelligence."
When mistakes like that get over 1 million people killed (or a leader into office who would only continue the killing), I am not sure the word "mistake" or "apology" really applies any longer. I'd much rather hear a judge declare the word "guilty" instead as he bangs the gavel. But that's me.
In similar sloppy style, Donald Trump was "sexed up" in the lamestream media as some kind of veritable monster - a living, breathing WMD that the American people should avoid at all cost. This time around, however, the American people were not taken for a ride by the mainstream media, and that is the real "upset" of the 2016 presidential election.
For those who failed to see through the deceit and deception were caught unawares, never suspecting that the media had a large role in populating the false narrative that a Clinton presidency was a done deal.
Will we ever learn?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.