It may be possible that the Media got Donald Trump elected as President of the United States or were at least on par with many other significant factors.
Over the past week since the 2016 presidential election, it has became more and more clear how out of touch most news companies are with Americans living in non-urban areas. Inadvertently, the media left may have helped create their own worst nightmare, and helped fuel a movement of Americans in spite of a supposed unwinnable situation for the Republican party.
The near-constant barrage of stories showing how impossible it would be for a Trump presidency made many Americans that were undecided, motivated to go in whatever direction major media said they should not. This bias created an interesting momentum not just against the Democratic party which was arguably much weaker than the media understood (see NYT Lichtman Tweet below) , but also the media itself which is seen by many as just an extension of the left-wing establishment.
This historian at American University saw it coming https://t.co/AwVdA05RG6
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 10, 2016
The 2016 presidential election was a feeding frenzy for the left and the large media organizations. Donald Trump was all too willing to feed the never ending demand for sensationalism and ensure he stayed in the public view as much as possible during the campaign. He also was decidedly NOT politically correct, and the media, while reaping the benefits of the attention, were also highlighting that he was not running every comment by a focus group. Many Americans would not have went and found his tweets on their own accord, and, it seems, many Americans liked the genuineness, even if they disagreed with the content at times.
Trump vows to throw Crooked Hillary in jail! #debate pic.twitter.com/oXtOVhXRZf
— /r/The_Donald (@thedonaldreddit) October 10, 2016
Many voters enjoyed watching the media confusion unravel on election night as there was clearly mass confusion as Donald Trump continued to gain ground in state after state vote counts. So did many voters cast votes against the media instead of for, then candidate, Trump? Donald Trump suggested that people had little to lose, and the many of these undecided people seemed to be bundled as “deplorables” by Hillary Clinton and the media no matter what their decision.
Let me introduce you the so called "basket of deplorables" ?#MAGA pic.twitter.com/VRQ9bpEurs
— Kenladen (@Kenladen7) November 9, 2016
Most “regular working folks” are busy working, attending to the needs of the children and trying to improve the lives of their families and communities. For much of America, every day life has not changed for the better, and the faith and values of many Americans often seem to be the butt of the joke from many progressive pundits on television while much of America simply toils away like every other day. Nowadays, most “news” is what once was considered tabloid news, and is far from the pulse of what many Americans finds important. This is also much of the America who somewhat enjoyed watching many anchors see the impossible unfold and stumbled for words to explain what was happening.
The look on their faces said it all. #tbt #PresidentTrump pic.twitter.com/0pmpC6dbgo
— 2016 Deplorables (@2016Deplorables) November 10, 2016
Modern major news often seems heavily slanted to the left, pushing liberal stories designed for various demographic groups, rarely paying attention to people that have little more than passing interest in the sensational or intellectual fad of the month while mostly ignoring “regular” people concerns. It is very difficult to get straight stories about what is going on without the news groups telling people what they should think about it. Many people that are not loud and overpowering feel they are capable on their own account to decide what they think about many issues without a social elitist explaining the correct way to think and behave.
Confidence in news media has been low for years so it seems logical that when the majority of news organizations seem to be biased in one direction, the people that do not trust them might go in the opposite direction.
POLL: Americans' Confidence in News Media Remains Low http://t.co/a211SmvolD via @Gallup #Media #News #Journos
— Tanya Hutchins (@TanyaHutchins) June 19, 2014
Every time the media put Donald Trump up as a joke candidate and pushed so hard that Hillary Clinton was the only viable choice for president, many Americans saw these two candidate very differently than what they were told to see by talking head pundits. The diversity of America in thought and culture is a strength of this country, but how will the media be able to change from massive partisanship and sensationalism aimed to gain twitter trending and web clicks versus increasing their own credibility for fair and balanced reporting that will regain journalistic credibility?
Factual and fair reporting is often not sexy and shocking. It is difficult to drive competitive news in large markets with the idea that the smaller fringe viewers equal the audiences in the metropolitan areas. But this election showed that there are two different Americas and the major media outlets often appear blind to this segmentation. Now, even in rural America, people have more technology options and have more options than ever in history to obtain information.
As long as they remain profitable and sell the necessary advertising, little may change for big media, but it seems the often ignored people of the country have spoken for some type of change. It will be interesting to see how the dialogue of our nation changes over the coming months. Perhaps the realization that not attempting to be fair in reporting will make some news groups realize they have smaller influence (or possibly even inspire the opposite effect of their agenda by constantly presenting clearly biased reporting), however it is more likely, many media outlets will wait for the first, second and third mistakes made by a new president and attempt to vilify and sensationalize biased stories at every opportunity.
Now the term being coined by many in the media and some Hillary Clinton supporters is that this loss was due to the “uneducated white voters”. Considering that whether someone went to college or did not is not a certain indicator of a person’s level of intellect or level of personal education, use of this term may seem particularly offensive to many Americans, especially coming from groups of people that supposedly preach racial, social, religious and political tolerance. This could easily be perceived as an example of the elitism that may be creating a conservative counter-culture far different than the more left-leaning movements of the past.
Why are white, uneducated voters voting for Trump? https://t.co/wMXA87iSXF pic.twitter.com/SEC26zbTS6
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 1, 2016
At this point the majority of media were wrong about the election, wrong about many Americans, and wrong about the direction the country is heading. It seems that now would be a good time to consider whether short-term ratings are more crucial than long-term credibility for many news organizations before new players figure it out and cause a larger problem for them in the future. Even the current president seems to lay some doubt in trusting too much media participation over more direct communication strategies such as getting in front of various communities in person.
Obama suggests Hillary DID NOT DO ENOUGH to become President during her election campaign https://t.co/19SRv0aLLv pic.twitter.com/jbbtOA0ub9
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) November 15, 2016
Whether the media got Donald Trump elected will be difficult to ever know. The United States is in for a great deal of change over the coming months, and this may be a good time for everyone in the media to think about what part they want to play in the future dialogue rather than primarily looking at ratings as a barometer of their reach and credibility.