Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wall Street Journal remains impartial in post-election coverage

By: Shelby Dermer

James Poniewozik asked the question : will the media be better in 2020? Worse?

She answered her own question by saying, "Yes. And yes. And there will be more of it."

Nine days have passed since Donald J. Trump turned from real estate mogul into the President-elect. After over a year of daily media surrounding the election everywhere you look, the United States made the choice as Trump beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by gaining 292 of the Electoral College votes to become the 45th President of the United States.

The media had a lot to do with the election. Of course, Trump was claiming since day one that the mainstream media was against him. Which could be the reason why his victory over Clinton drew similarities to Harry S. Truman's upset over Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 election.

Many gave Clinton a big lead (sometimes double digits) over Trump in key swing states like Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. However, the votes told a different story on November 8th.
A CBS poll in late October gave Clinton a four-point edge in Ohio.
Trump would end up winning the Buckeye State by nearly nine
percentage points. (Photo:

I covered early in the semester that the Wall Street Journal did a great job at being unbiased. And that if I was an undecided voter, I would turn to WSJ for my coverage of the race because it was not biased towards a particular candidate.

That remains true.

In post-election coverage, WSJ has maintained its solid journalism work. Topics on the site this week include pieces about Trump's son-in-law possibly having an important job in the White House to John Kerry claiming the President-elect will not take climate change seriously.

What I found most interesting from the readings was Margaret Sullivan's editorial on the Washington Post The media didn't want to believe Trump could win. So they looked the other way. 

Sullivan credited "magical thinking" for allowing the media to disregard Trump's enormous crowds when they went to the voting booth. Also, the liberal media didn't take the "coal miners or unemployed autoworkers" seriously.

Trump drew great support from coal workers across the nation.
Especially after Clinton's comments that she would "put a lot
of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

Sullivan absolutely hit a home run with this. And many non-professional journalists, like myself, did the same exact thing. We kept checking our favorite publications and fed off the news that Clinton had a comfortable lead and would find herself delivering a late-night celebratory speech to her supporters that Tuesday.

The media gave Trump the spotlight. From when he first stood behind the podium at Trump Tower and announced his intent to run for the position to when he took the stage in the wee morning hours of November 9th.

Sullivan points out that the media didn't create Trump. But I feel the constant exposure gave him more of a base to claim how rigged journalists were. Calling them out on Twitter and pointing them out during his rallies all took its toll.

Media outlets didn't give Trump much of a chance against the more-experienced candidate. But, as usual, the Wall Street Journal gave both sides. James Taranto wrote a great piece just one week before the election, going in great detail on how Trump could come out victorious. How right he was.

If the election taught us anything, it's the enormous impact the media has in politics. But, I have to give credit where credit is due. WSJ remained fair throughout the process of electing the next President.

Buckle in for 2020, people.

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