Thursday, September 22, 2016

ABC is Off to the Races

By: Megan Vanselow

The coverage on ABC this week was far less drama, and all about the race. At the top of the main Elections page, ABC shows a national poll where Clinton leads at 43%, Trump follows at 37%, Johnson has 9% and Stein has 3%. While this graphic shows four candidates, on the sidebar of the elections page theres a section that is labeled as “The Candidates”. The only two names listed are Clinton and Trump, no third party candidates.

Most of the stories on the page have headline’s talking about recent poll numbers, the upcoming debate, or both. There are also a few articles about why the country has a two party system and why they dominate the system. The story talks most about George Washington and his little interest in the idea of parties. He was not a part of one and often spoke about his dislikes toward them.

 It goes on to say that after his time in office ended, the republican and democratic parties took off. The end of the video tries to inform the viewer that if a third party can get 5% of the votes, they become eligible for federal election funds, and can “shake things up”. ABC makes the claim that several US voters are looking for an alternative option other than the main two candidates, and the purpose of the video was to show that voting for a third party can make an impact. 

However, their site isn't helping much with this idea, only listing the republican and democratic members under their candidates list. They also had an opportunity to highlight the most popular third party candidates with this video, or the attached article, but instead poke fun at the fact that theres a “United States Pirates Party” and the “American Shopping Party”. Even the text that is on the web page with the video that summarizes the clip, doesn't include the numbers described for a third party to succeed. ABC should have used this platform to breakdown the third party candidates with what they stand for and where they’re at in the race. 

If ABC really wants to show voters that they have other options, they shouldn't clutter their coverage with Trump and Clinton stories. All my findings for posts in the previous weeks had zero information about third parties to even make me consider mentioning them. It’s interesting that even now after they make this video that every story that followed has either the name Trump, Clinton or a photo of at least one of them attached to it. 

Every week that I’ve checked into ABC to view their coverage, I’ve had a small pop up video box come up with “Hillary Clinton in a Minute”. The video breaks down her life and her campaign. Each week this video has come up on more than one occasion, and it’s safe to say I’ve seen it at least 10 times. Interestingly enough, I’ve never seen a “Trump in a Minute” of “Johnson in a minute” or “Stein in a Minute”. 

There are always complaints about the news only covering the race during this time and not candidates stances on real issues, however ABC seems to be trying to highlight to their online viewers Clinton’s stances and life story, while not worrying about anyone else. I would prefer that they highlight no one and just talk about the polls and the numbers over only highlighting one candidate. 

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