What part did the media, both mainstream and alternative, play in Donald Trump’s election success?
On 30 September 2016, the San Diego Union Tribune made history. For the first time in its 148-year history it endorsed a Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton.
It was also a first in 143 years for the Detroit News; 126 years for the Arizona Republic.
Donald J Trump was not popular with America’s newspapers. Of the 100 top circulation print newspapers, two endorsed him.
More than 200 newspapers supported Clinton, while Trump received the backing of fewer than 20.
And even some of this support was half-hearted, to say the least. The best the Fort Wayne News Sentinel could come up with was “Thank God for Mike Pence”.
The Washington Times declared Trump imperfect and acknowledged his “vulgarity and coarseness”.
What they did like was the fact that he had “all the right enemies: the pundits, the ‘social scientists’, the Beltway insiders, the academics and the righteous mongers of failed policies.”
His image, they felt, was being painted by a “one-party media”.
Trump’s victory, then, was a brutal kick in the teeth for those loathed pundits, insiders and “righteous mongers”. But it was also a humiliation for the thousands of journalists who had spent months trying to warn the public about Donald J Trump.
This was one almighty, two-fingered salute to much of the “mainstream media”.
‘The failure of journalism’
Professor Jeff Jarvis – of the Tow-Knight Centre for entrepreneurial journalism, City University New York, and an enthusiastic and active supporter of Hillary Clinton – stated it simply.
“The mere fact of Donald Trump’s candidacy is evidence of the failure of journalism,” he believes.
He, like many other members of the liberal media class, feels Trump’s success is a sign that the media failed to communicate the truth with enough force.