Friday Reads: At LastPosted: June 17, 2016
I would like to say that the primary season is totally over and that we can move on to more important things like destroying Donald Trump’s chances for getting near the White House but, not so fast. Bernie Sanders just will not concede to Hillary Clinton. The media opened up a a window for him to “address his supporters” hoping he’d go quietly into that great night. Once again, we got his stump speech. There was one big difference. The media cut him off after it was clear it was the same old stuff and the same old Bernie. He didn’t drop out but the media dropped him. THUD!
In his 30-minute speech live-streamed to his supporters and also shown on cable news channels, Sanders slammed Democratic leadership but said defeating Donald Trump in November was his top concern. The senator also said he would be announcing how he would be participating in the general election “at some point very soon.” This marked the point at which the news nets began to tune out.
The Democratic Party’s convention will be held in Philadelphia from July 25-28. The Obama- and Biden-endorsed Clinton is expected on the first ballot to be the first woman nominated by a major American party for President.
Sanders’ speech comes on a day that saw the President and Vice-President in Orlando meeting with victims of the fatal shooting at the Pulse nightclub saw 49 people killed. The speech also comes as the NBA Finals gets down to the near-wire with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers facing off in what could be a clinching Game 6 for the defending champions.
The Sanders speech was short for him, and he reiterated the issues his campaign has long been focused on and urged supporters to keep fighting until the convention.
Clinton has been the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee since winning the California primary on June 7. At the time, Sanders vowed to keep campaigning to force a contested convention. As part of that, the Vermont senator played hard to voters in Washington, D.C. in advance of the final Democratic primary held there Tuesday, coming out in support of statehood for the U.S. capital. Clinton still decisively won the D.C. primary.
At last, the bloom is off the rose. I’d like to share this Harvard study with you that was released this week by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. It basically proves what we’ve known all along. The angry white dudes were beloved by the media. They picked on the girl.
A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzes news coverage of the 2016 presidential candidates in the year leading up to the primaries. This crucial period, labeled “the invisible primary” by political scientists, is when candidates try to lay the groundwork for a winning campaign—with media exposure often playing a make or break role.
The report shows that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers—a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls. Trump’s coverage was positive in tone—he received far more “good press” than “bad press.” The volume and tone of the coverage helped propel Trump to the top of Republican polls.
The Democratic race in 2015 received less than half the coverage of the Republican race. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was largely ignored in the early months but, as it began to get coverage, it was overwhelmingly positive in tone. Sanders’ coverage in 2015 was the most favorable of any of the top candidates, Republican or Democratic. For her part, Hillary Clinton had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate. In 11 of the 12 months, her “bad news” outpaced her “good news,” usually by a wide margin, contributing to the increase in her unfavorable poll ratings in 2015.
The Shorenstein Center study is based on an analysis of thousands of news statements by CBS, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The study’s data were provided by Media Tenor, a firm that specializes in the content analysis of news coverage.
The invisible primary is the stage of the campaign where journalists have the most latitude in deciding what and who to cover. It’s also the stage where the press forges its “metanarratives”—its dominant personal narratives of the leading contenders. The term was devised by former journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel to describe what they saw as the tendency of reporters in the 2000 campaign to portray the party nominees in simplified terms—“Bush is dumb,” “Gore is a liar.” They deplored the tendency, arguing that, once a metanarrative is in place, it’s hard for journalists to argue to the contrary and equally hard for them not to play up trivial developments that align with the stereotype.
Even if metanarratives are not as self-fulfilling as Kovach and Rosenstiel suggest, there is no question that journalists create and apply them as a shorthand way to describe presidential candidates. In 2008, for example, journalists early on embraced the idea that Barack Obama represented hope and change and could deliver it through his charismatic leadership and communication skill. It was a narrative that carried all the way to the November election.
Whether the metanarratives that emerged during the 2016 invisible primary will persist is a yet unanswered question but the outlines of these early narratives was unmistakable. Trump was the shoot-from-the-lip bully, given to braggadocio and insulting and outrageous comments. Yet, he also had a finger on the anger felt by many middle- and lower-class white voters. As regards Clinton, she was the candidate best prepared for the presidency as a result of her experience and detailed knowledge of policy issues. But this positive metanarrative competed with more frequently employed negative ones—that she was difficult to like, overly calculating, and hard to trust. As for Sanders, the storyline was that he means what he says—that he speaks, not from what the polls say is expedient, but from what he believes.
The candidates’ metanarratives, along with the contours of the news media’s 2016 election coverage, will be the subject of subsequent Shorenstein Center reports.
Notice the graphic showing Trump’s positive coverage by the media including WAPO which Trump says covered him unfavorably right before he removed their credentials. Even Paul Ryan thought that was an over the top reaction.
In a news conference Thursday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s move to deny press credentials to The Post. His immediate answer was unspectacular: “Don’t think I’ve ever heard about it before. I think that’s a new one. I don’t know a whole lot about it. I hope and assume this will get worked out.”
Then he did something that tells us what he really thinks about Trump and The Post. “Who’s with The Post here, by the way? Is [Mike] DeBonis here? [Paul] Kane’s here. Okay, last question.”
DeBonis proceeded to press Ryan on . . . Donald Trump: “This morning, Mr. Speaker, you rolled out your plan to . . . rein in executive power. Mr. Trump yesterday said this, addressing congressional leaders like yourself — ‘Be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don’t talk.’ What is your reaction to that and . . . how do you have any confidence that this is a guy who’s gonna have respect for separation of powers.”
“You can’t make this up sometimes,” responded Ryan, in part. He left the podium after riffing on the importance of “government by consent” and advising the press corps to call their fathers this weekend.
Point made: Ryan isn’t blacklisting The Post or any other media outlets. Since Trump clinched his status as presumptive nominee, his relationship with the House speaker has seesawed. For weeks, Ryan held off on endorsing Trump, only to declare that he’d vote for the longtime real-estate mogul. Following Trump’s comments doubting the ability of federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel — born in Indiana and of Mexican heritage — to adjudicate lawsuits affecting Trump University, Ryan blasted away, saying Trump had made the “textbook definition of a racist comment,” while still affirming his support of Trump over Hillary Clinton. Now we have Ryan repudiating Trump on The Post thing, not with his words, but with his actions.
The moment on Capitol Hill provides a good opportunity to check in on how Trump’s action against The Post is working. As the Trump campaign made clear on its website: “We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for ‘clicks’ above journalistic integrity.” That meant that the Trump people had, in effect, pulled the newspaper’s rally badge
The role of the media in this election has been as perplexing as the look on their faces and the words from the keyboards over the last year. We’ve got a serial liar as a major party candidate that no one even took seriously last year. We’ve got another one that has lost by every meaning of the word and will not concede. We’ve got right wing conspiracy theories flying around in the main stream press as if they’re as serious as our real issues. Here’s some further analysis by Carter Maness.
Though 28 percent of Clinton’s coverage was about issues, 84 percent of those stories were negative in tone. To compare, Trump only notched 12 percent on issues, with 43 percent negative in tone. That’s much heavier accountability for the Democratic nominee in a race that received less than half the coverage of the Republican contest. But, for Clinton, it’s easy to see the negative trend reversing as we enter the general election.
“The tide may be shifting as the campaign focuses on Clinton vs. Trump and she takes advantage of the focus and the contrast to strike a more ‘presidential’ tone,” said Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. “If the recent Bloomberg poll is substantiated elsewhere, the narrative will likely shift to Hillary as frontrunner, which will produce some more sharp coverage—and Trump will never let up in his attacks—but also more positive coverage that reflects the shifting sands.”
Given that poll, which found Clinton with a commanding 12-point lead in the general election, the frontrunner scrutiny won’t let up. But increasingly negative coverage of Trump, whose private jet might finally be plummeting back to earth, will likely become a big positive for Clinton.
Her greatest asset as a candidate will be her opponent. Trump’s recent slate of controversies—from lambasting a federal judge’s Mexican heritage to his tonedeaf reaction to the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando—has kept his name on front pages, but the stories are much harsher in tone than when he was battling Ted Cruz for the nomination. Media coverage is becoming more concerted in its effort to debunk Trump’s lies and question his more outrageous statements.
Bill Jasso, professor of practice at the Newhouse School of Public Relations at Syracuse University, believes the media will start holding candidates to higher standards. “The most significant societal question for me is: Will the American news media—both traditional and new digital—hold the candidates accountable for the veracity of their statements and positions, or will they continue to cover the presidential campaign like it was a UFC cage match? I have faith that most journalists realize ‘the fun’s over’ and are ready to embark on the hard work of reporting on substantive issues and real-world solutions.”
A focus on real solutions should benefit Clinton, as should the competition in unfavorability ratings. Trump is currently receiving yet another round of negative coverage from a new ABC/Washington Post poll which shows he is disliked by 94 percent of African-Americans, 89 percent of Hispanics, 77 percent of women, and a whopping 70 percent of all adults. For at least the time being, nobody is talking about Hillary Clinton, which, for her, is positive coverage.
That study actually just verifies some earlier analysis done by a socia media software analytics company and covered by Vox and Media Matters. Clinton received the most negative stories.
A newly released media analysis found that the “biggest news outlets have published more negative stories about Hillary Clinton than any other presidential candidate — including Donald Trump — since January 2015.” The study, conducted by social media software analytics company Crimson Hexagon, also found that “the media also wrote the smallest proportion of positive stories about her.”
As Media Matters has noted throughout the primary campaign, the coverage of Hillary Clinton has tended to focus on fake scandals such as her use of a private email server while her Republican counterparts have enjoyed more positive characterizations. This criticism has been backed up by a former New York Times editor who agreed that the publication has given the Clinton’s “an unfair ‘level of scrutiny.’”
Crimson Hexagon’s analysis, reported by Vox’s Jeff Stein, “shows that the media has battered Clinton more than any other candidate, perhaps because of the ongoing controversy over her emails.” Accusations of “the media being in the tank for Clinton,” Stein notes, simply “may not square with reality.” Crimson Hexagon’s analysis — which examined reporting from The Washington Post, Politico, Fox News, the Huffington Post, and CNN — ultimately found that more “negative stories” were published about Clinton than any other presidential candidate, and that Clinton herself received “the smallest proportion of positive stories.”
I’ve been hoping some of this will turn around now that we know that Bernie is delusional and Trump suffers from what appears to be a major Personality Disorder or three. However, BostonBoomer pointed out to me yesterday that Howard Kurtz and other pundits continue their sexist and misogynistic coverage of Clinton. Again, this is from a last month’s analysis done by Media Matters that points out Kurtz and his use of sexist tropes.
Gender bias and sensationalism in the media is something political figures like Hillary Clinton simply need to “deal with,” according to Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz.
In a May 28 column, Kurtz highlighted a newly released excerpt from Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book, Hard Choices, in an attempt to analyze Clinton’s purported wariness of the press. He gave particular attention to aNew Yorker article, published the same day as the book excerpt, which detailed the media’s obsessive focus on Clinton. While the New Yorker noted that Clinton supporters attribute “some of the negative” coverage she has faced to sexism, Kurtz offered an alternate take:
My take is this: Let’s say Hillary’s people are right and that the press is petty, sensationalist, often unfair and sometimes mean to women? Deal with it. It’s like complaining about bad weather. Every candidate has to cope with an adversarial media, and Democrats usually get a break at least on social issues.
Media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign was a gender debacle. Press featured “news” segmentson Hillary’s hair style, examinations of the Clinton “cackle,” and even a 750-word rumination on the “startling” amount of cleavage then-Sen. Clinton “displayed” on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
In recent months, right-wing media have worked overtime to stir up concern about Clinton’s age, an effort led in part by conservative strategist and Fox contributor Karl Rove in anticipation of a possible 2016 presidential run. The conservative bubbled first encouraged the media to revive old conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health,relentlessly hyped their own attack, and then demanded that Clinton respond with evidence to their specious claims. Far from subtle, as recently as May 27 Fox News painted Clinton “old and stale,” amplifying an affront first used by Rove.
Clinton’s age has long been a focus of right-wing media’s ire. Last year The Washington Times claimed that Clinton’s age by 2016 is “not particularly old for a man,” though at her age “a woman in public life is getting past her sell-by date.” Fox’s Erick Erickson asserted that by 2016, “I don’t know how far back they can pull her face.”
Gender bias is definitely at play here as is general CDS as stoked by the right. However, the unMerry Band of Bernie and his Dead-Enders continue to sally forth with less media hooplah than before.
SANDERS WILL JOIN EFFORT TO DEFEAT TRUMP IN A ‘VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME:’Bernie Sanders did not formally concede or back his primary rival Hillary Clinton during a live online address to his fans last night, despite Clinton last week securing enough delegates to become the Democratic Party’s nominee. Sanders did, however, promise to join her and the Democratic party in a more active role in their effort to defeat Donald Trump. “The major political task that together we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly, and I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time,” he said in his remarks, which he filmed in a television studio in his hometown and read off of a teleprompter. ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS has more.http://abcn.ws/1Uz6NOh
What the hell does join the effort mean to Sanders? That’s wtf I would like to know. He’s weakening every position he may have had with the Democratic Party. Exactly what kind of leverage does he have other than threatening to turn the Dead-Enders into violence Zombies at the convention ala Trumpsters? Dudes, you lost!! You’re LOSERS!!!
Leverage: it’s the one thing Bernie Sanders’ advisors and aides consistently point to when asked why, exactly, he’s formally staying in the Democratic primary race that he’s lost to Hillary Clinton.
But it’s the one thing he’s been bleeding every day ever since he dropped California’s primary by a much wider-than-expected margin last week. Sanders’ summer was supposed to be all about building leverage for the Democratic convention, providing him with a better hand to play as he presses Clinton to accept his policy positions and party reform suggestions. Now, the people closest to him aren’t sure how exactly to get it back.
His first and most prominent endorsers have jumped off the bandwagon, congratulating and in some cases endorsing Clinton — from Sen. Jeff Merkley to Rep. Raul Grijalva, and from the Communications Workers of America to MoveOn.org.Each of the big-name Democrats and groups who steadfastly remained neutral in the primary have flocked to Clinton over the past week, from President Barack Obama to Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the AFL-CIO. Even Sanders’ highest-profile congressional endorsee, Nevada’s Lucy Flores, lost her primary bid on Tuesday despite his cash injection into her campaign.
Yet on Thursday night, speaking to over 200,000 viewers who tuned into his live-streamed video address, Sanders vowed to press on — pledging to fight to defeat Donald Trump but refusing to formally back Clinton and insisting his army of supporters isn’t going anywhere.
“We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become,” he said, nearly acknowledging defeat but making a point not to concede while reading from a prompter in a cramped television studio deep in his hometown. “And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.”
I’ve been told that we still have to pay attention to the Bernmeister because he got so many passionate voters. Trump has passionate voters too. Lots more of them. Whose crazy, delusional base deserves more coddling these days? I’m sure Hillary’s Veep pick and her general election strategy to include her recent ad buys are finding tranches of voters that outnumber BernieBros easily. I mean Utah is in play. FUCKING UTAH!
I can’t imagine most of the journalists in this country are big Trump fans. I’m pretty sure the ones that were slobbering all over Bernie have gotten sober. But, I’m certain that will see the gender bias, the sexism, the misogyny and the CDS carry on in media outlets beyond Fox. As long as Maureeen Dowd and Howard Kurtz can still get jobs, we’re in for a long summer and fall.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?