Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Washington Post: Critical Analysis of Both Candidates Provides Readers with Insight

Zahara Pruitt

The Washington Post is known to be a major media publication and has a history of offering great political coverage. However, this election has already proven to provide the Post with a few unique challenges.

 Back in June, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump barred all Washington Post reporters from covering campaign events. This move was something I had never previously seen done by a Presidential nominee. Trump cites inaccurate reporting for his reason, more specifically a Post headline that read “Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting”.


In July, the Washington Post also released an editorial piece entitled “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy” in which they specifically lay out reasons as to why Mr. Trump is unfit to be America’s next president. Some of those reasons include his “lack of
experience in the political sphere, his ignorance and his contempt for democratic norms”. There is even a part in the article where the Post says “A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and for the world.”

Given these apparent obstacles that this media outlet is facing, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised at the level of fairness they have shown in their coverage of Trump and Clinton in recent weeks.
Like more than half of Americans, I typically consume most of my news throughout the day on my cellphone. When looking at the Washington Post app, most of the political headlines for the day were stories about Mr. Trump.

However, when looking at the Post’s website, the layout shows a more balanced number of stories about both major candidates.

And when searching the two candidates’ names separately, it is apparent that a nearly equal amount of stories are posted about each candidate each day. However, more Trump stories have larger photos on the website and are placed where we would consider them to be “above the fold”, if you can imagine a fold on a laptop.

I also noticed that while the Post writers were critical of both candidates, they more often were critical of Trump as a person; while they tended to critique Clinton’s policies more often.

This political cycle has already proven to be a whirlwind and it will be interesting to see how the media continues to cover the race in coming weeks. 

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