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  Soul-searching for media after shock

Soul-searching for media after shock

AFP
Published : Nov 10, 2016, 2:55 am IST
Updated : Nov 10, 2016, 2:55 am IST

The American news media, kicked around by Donald Trump for months, is now kicking itself over how it handled the 2016 presidential election.

The American news media, kicked around by Donald Trump for months, is now kicking itself over how it handled the 2016 presidential election.

How did journalists fail to see the Republican surging to victory Did the “free publicity” a fascinated media gave Mr Trump early on help him gain momentum And did Mr Trump’s feuding with news organisations boost him with a public deeply distrustful of the media

 

Washington Post columnist Margaret Sulli-van called the 2016 campaign “an epic fail” for the news media. “To put it bluntly, the media missed the story,” Ms Sullivan wrote.

“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.”

New York Times media writer Jim Rutenberg said most news organisations misread America’s “complex pulse.” “The misfire on Tuesday night was about a lot more than a failure in polling,” said Mr Ruten-berg. “It was a failure to capture the boiling anger of a large portion of the American electorate that feels left behind by a selective recovery, betrayed by trade deals that they see as threats to their jobs and disrespected by establishment Washington, Wall Street and the mainstream media.”

 

The relationship between Mr Trump and the media has been complex ever since he began his maverick run for the presidency.

Ms Sullivan said Mr Trump was helped by “huge amounts of early, unfiltered exposure in the months leading up to the Republican primary” as rolling news networks broadcast his every appearance on a loop.

Some analysts have claimed the media coverage amounted to the equivalent of $2 billion in advertising, fuelling his win in the primaries.

A study led by communications professor Chris Wells at the University of Wisconsin suggests Mr Trump excelled in making himself the center of attention.

Location: United States, Washington