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Coverage of the Election: A Journalistic Failure?

by on December 1, 2016

Over the past few months, the media’s coverage of the presidential race has focused on candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in very different ways.

Leading up to the election, media outlets across the country reported Clinton as being highly favored, that she would essentially be the President Elect before we knew it. But that’s not what happened.

In the NYT article, How Data Failed Us In Calling an Election, it says,”Virtually all the major vote forecasters, including Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, The New York Times Upshot and the Princeton Election Consortium, put Mrs. Clinton’s chances of winning in the 70 to 99 percent range.”

How could this happen?

As results poured in on election day, America was stunned, as Trump went on to win the electoral college vote.

We’ve discussed in class that the coverage of Trump may not have been very serious, that while he did receive a lot of media attention, the media did not represent him as a serious threat in the race. But as the polls showed, there were people out there willing to vote for him, and they did.

So what went wrong? Why was the public so misled? Did the media do it’s job in representing the two as serious candidates for the President of the United States? What should the media have done differently? How can we change things going forward?

Most importantly, do you think the public will find it difficult to trust the media in elections going forward?




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