The Media party missed the Trump surge because they looked the other way

Anyone who was looking at the huge audiences, the Google search data and plenty of other signals that something big was happening saw something the Media party wilfully ignored…a Trump surge.

They wished it was otherwise, so they studiously ignored the corruption, the lying, the cheating and the poor quality of THEIR chosen candidate and instead rounded on Trump.

Margaret Sullivan at the Washington Post explains:

To put it bluntly, the media missed the story. In the end, a huge number of American voters wanted something different. And although these voters shouted and screamed it, most journalists just weren’t listening. They didn’t get it.

They didn’t get that the huge, enthusiastic crowds at Donald Trump’s rallies would really translate into that many votes. They couldn’t believe that the America they knew could embrace someone who mocked a disabled man, bragged about sexually assaulting women, and spouted misogyny, racism and anti-Semitism.

It would be too horrible. So, therefore, according to some kind of magical thinking, it couldn’t happen.

Journalists — college-educated, urban and, for the most part, liberal — are more likely than ever before to live and work in New York City and Washington, D.C., or on the West Coast. And although we touched down in the big red states for a few days, or interviewed some coal miners or unemployed autoworkers in the Rust Belt, we didn’t take them seriously. Or not seriously enough.

And Trump — who called journalists scum and corrupt — alienated us so much that we couldn’t see what was before our eyes. We just kept checking our favorite prognosticating sites and feeling reassured, even though everyone knows that poll results are not votes.

Trump was right to call them scum and corrupt…because the facts show that to be true. They are still at it, take a look at the never ending string of negative Trump stories in the Herald and Fairfax. They still lie about the mocking of a disabled man, a story as false as the media coverage.

[E]ven the most Clinton-leaning prognosticators allowed for some chance of a Trump win.

But no one seemed to believe it in their bones. We would have President Clinton, went the journalistic conventional wisdom, and although she would be flawed, she would be a known quantity. There was a kind of comfort there.

Make no mistake. This is an epic fail. And although eating crow is never appealing, we’ll be digesting feathers and beaks in the next weeks and months — and maybe years.

The strange thing, of course, is that the media helped to give Trump his chance.

But they are still in denial.

Did journalists create Trump? Of course not — they don’t have that kind of power. But they helped him tremendously, with huge amounts of early, unfiltered exposure in the months leading up to the Republican primary season. With ridiculous emphasis put on every development about Hillary Clinton’s email practices, including the waffling of FBI Director James B. Comey.

She is showing her bias there. There was not ridiculous emphasis put on every development about Clinton’s dodgy email server. They minimised, obfuscated or ignored all that.

I’m no fan of Peter Thiel, the billionaire who put Gawker out of business by bankrolling a lawsuit by Hulk Hogan, the professional wrestler. In fact, I find him appalling.

But when he spoke recently at the National Press Club, he said something that struck me as quite perceptive about Donald Trump.

“The media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally,” Thiel said. Journalists wanted to know exactly how he would deport that many undocumented immigrants, or exactly how Trump would rid the world of ISIS. We wanted details.

But a lot of voters think the opposite way: They take Trump seriously but not literally.

They realize, Thiel said, that Trump doesn’t really plan to build a wall. “What they hear is, ‘We’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.’ ”

Trump, quite apparently, captured the anger that Americans were feeling about issues such as trade and immigration.

And the Media party still missed the point. they want to be part of the process and fail to report on the process. That makes them players and players get played. The problem is the Media party doesn’t think it is fair when they get played. The wailing coming from media because Trump won’t let them on his plane is hilarious. Why should he?The Media party has only themselves to blame. If they don’t like being targets in politics then they should stop playing in politics.

The Media party has only themselves to blame. If they don’t like being targets in politics then they should stop playing in politics.

 

– Washington Post

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