Thursday, September 8, 2016

BBC concerned and confused about American election

By Derek Smith

Seeing a narrowing field due to recent polls, the BBC are starting to see the possibility of a Trump a more likely reality. The narrative has changed, it is no longer about Trump winning the election, but rather Clinton losing it.

The political struggle in America rings true in the United Kingdom, which recently separated from the European Union, where debate has exposed many similar issues in the isles. Shortly after the results of the Brexit poll were announced, Donald Trump began labeling himself as "Mr. Brexit" seeing a similarity between that movement and his own.

While the BBC tends to focus their coverage on Trump, much of this coverage is negative. While the BBC hasn't fully endorsed Clinton, the content on their election coverage would make it appear they are fearful of a Trump presidency. Articles attempt to understand where Trump's voter base comes from, what their desires are, and what it means for the American political process. 

It's clear to foreign observers that dissatisfaction with the status quo has led to candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump's surprising rise during this election, however the volume of dissatisfied voters has surprised them. The polling data, which has evened out recently, suggests that Clinton's vicotry is less of a sure thing than it was a few weeks ago. In an article the general feeling of this election is summed up in this sentence taken from a BBC article, "Whether this is a reflection of Mrs Clinton's weaknesses as a candidate or Mr Trump's unconventional appeal, the reality is the race could still tip towards the Republican if something breaks his way."

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Just looking back to Trump's Mexico visit, the BBC was amazed by not only the visit itself, but Trump's rally in Arizona later that day that was widely publicized. While the BBC thought that Trump was starting to cool his rhetoric, only to see his old character appear once he was back within the United States. 

Each time Trump does something to garner media attention, regardless how they feel about his statements, the BBC devotes coverage to him. Even when there is Clinton news, it often comes as a rebuttal to what Trump has said. Simply looking at one article, "Five Clinton nightmare election scenarios" the apparent perception of the election is that Clinton should win unless she messes it up for herself. 

His stances counter to the Republican norm has astounded reporters across the world, but for the BBC to have a man so unconventional at the helm of the most powerful nation in the world is a worrying thought. While the United Kingdom would like to view itself as independent from the world, they are heavily wrapped up in American affairs. Should he win the presidency Trump would effectively be shaping policy for not only his country, but those the America deals with, this would mean that British would have to learn how to negotiate the new world.  

This coupled with the fact that the BBC doesn't truly understand where his voter base is coming from, has made BBC coverage seemed confused on how to handle a candidate they brushed off as a fringe candidate during the primaries.

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