After some introspection following Donald Trump’s Tuesday night upset, major media outlets are questioning how their coverage of the 2016 election was consummately wrong in its prediction of a Hillary Clinton win.
The biggest news networks and most highly recognized names in journalism are not only wondering how the polls were so skewed, they are amazed at how their own stories were guilty of grossly misrepresenting Americans’ leanings at the ballot box.
“[T]heir frank and startling admissions may be as stunning as the election results,” WND reported. “The self-criticisms are particularly striking in that much of them are what conservative critics have been saying for years. One astounding mea culpa even conceded that some of the biggest names in establishment journalism were victims of their own biases, acknowledging the evidence was now indisputable.”
In the CBS article mentioned above, it is evident that Left-leaning journalists blame themselves for misrepresenting the facts.
“[The media] missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on,” the major news network conceded.
Some of the headlines acknowledging media bias against Trump and his conservatives followers include CBS’ “The unbearable smugness of the press, The Washington Post’s “The media didn’t want to believe Trump could win. So they looked the other way” and the New York Times’ “A ‘Dewey defeats Truman’ lesson for the digital wage.”
Emmy-Award winning former CBS Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has a good idea as to why the media was so badly mistaken.
“We tend to surround ourselves by like-minded people who codify one another’s misconceptions,” Attkisson told WND. “We bury our noses in the propaganda and rhetoric of political parties and corporations, adopting their narratives, instead of picking up our heads and observing what’s really going on around us. I will say that I’m not a political expert, but the reason I long said Trump would win had to do with recognizing and ignoring the narratives being fed to us – and trying to see the real world around us. I’ve gotten pretty good at dissecting AstroTurf and the narratives fed to the public and press.”
CBS concedes erroneous coverage
CBS News Digital Political Correspondent Will Rahn, who is also the network’s managing director of politics, wrote a highly critical commentary admitting what conservatives have been saying for years – that virtually all reporters were pro-Hillary during this campaign season.
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory,” Rahn conceded. “More than that, and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on. This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’d be a winking ‘we did it’ feeling in the press – a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.”
He went on to confess that a major sector of American society hates the mainstream media – and rightfully so.
“The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate – it turned out – was rather limited,” Rahn continued. “This was particularly true when it came to voters – the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system, but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time. And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.”
The Left-leaning journalist then noted how condescending the media has been over the last election year when it covered conservatives.
“But much of that starts from the assumption that Trump voters are backward, and that it’s our duty to catalogue and ultimately reverse that backwardness,” Rahn asserted. “What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel? We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth – a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.”
Rahn then pointed out that during the campaign season, the media failed to do the very thing it is supposed to deliver to the American public – provide objective reporting. Instead, he said, they reverted to making false assumptions they tried to prove as true.
“This is all a ‘whitelash,’ you see,” the correspondent impressed. “Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality and progress. Let the new tantrums commence!”
He then stressed that the media reverted to incessant name-calling to try and prove its assumptions true and make conservatives give up the fight.
“That’s the fantasy – the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line,” Rahn admitted. “It’s similar to how media Twitter works – a system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits. Journalists exist primarily in a world where people can get shouted down and disappear, which informs our attitudes toward all disagreement.”
He maintains that the incessant skewed reporting of the Leftist media during its presidential race coverage has become the norm, rather than the exception.
“That the explainers and data journalists so frequently get things hilariously wrong never invites the soul-searching you’d think it would,” Rahn contended. ”Instead, it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong. As a direct result, we get it wrong with greater frequency. Out on the road, we forget to ask the right questions. We can’t even imagine the right question. We go into assignments too certain that what we find will serve to justify our biases.”
The political expert parted with some advice for his Left-leaning colleagues.
“Our theme now should be humility,” Rahm suggested, admitting that the media blatantly shows contempt for the average American. “We must become more impartial, not less so. We have to abandon our easy culture of tantrums and recrimination. We have to stop writing these know-it-all, 140-character sermons on social media and admit that, as a class, journalists have a shamefully limited understanding of the country we cover. What’s worse, we don’t make much of an effort to really understand, and with too few exceptions, treat the economic grievances of Middle America like they’re some sort of punchline. Sometimes quite literally so, such as when reporters tweet out a photo of racist-looking Trump supporters and jokingly suggest that they must be upset about free trade or low wages.”
Washington Post’s wrong-way reporting.
According to Washington Post Media Columnist Margaret Sullivan, who is also a former public editor for the New York Times, the media was barking up the wrong tree during most of the 2016 presidential campaign season.
“To put it bluntly, the media missed the story,” Sullivan agued “In the end, a huge number of American voters wanted something different. And although these voters shouted and screamed it, most journalists just weren’t listening. They didn’t get it. They didn’t get that the huge, enthusiastic crowds at Donald Trump’s rallies would really translate into that many votes.”
The tendency to put the focus on America’s most liberal epicenters resulted in the media only telling one side of the story.
“Journalists – college-educated, urban and, for the most part, liberal – are more likely than ever before to live and work in New York City and Washington, D.C., or on the West Coast,” Sullivan pointed out. “And although we touched down in the big red states for a few days, or interviewed some coal miners or unemployed autoworkers in the Rust Belt, we didn’t take them seriously – or not seriously enough.”
She went on to describe a self-perpetuating cycle liberal journalists carried out against its conservative foe – digging up any ammunition it could find to bury Trump and his supporters for calling them out.
“And Trump – who called journalists scum and corrupt – alienated us so much that we couldn’t see what was before our eyes,” Sullivan acknowledged. “We just kept checking our favorite prognosticating sites and feeling reassured – even though everyone knows that poll results are not votes.”
The D.C. journalist believes that her liberal colleagues have finally learned their lesson.
“Make no mistake – this is an epic fail,” Sullivan insisted “And although eating crow is never appealing, we’ll be digesting feathers and beaks in the next weeks and months – and maybe years. And although many journalists and many news organizations did stories about the frustration and disenfranchisement of these Americans, we did not take them seriously enough.”
New York Times selling the wrong story
New York Times Mediator Jim Rutenberg argues that his news team missed “the story of a lifetime” by ignoring what Trump supporters had to say.
“It was a failure to capture the boiling anger of a large portion of the American electorate that feels left behind by a selective recovery, betrayed by trade deals that they see as threats to their jobs and disrespected by establishment Washington, Wall Street and the mainstream media,” Rutenberg attested. “Journalists didn’t question the polling data when it confirmed their gut feeling that Mr. Trump could never in a million years pull it off. They portrayed Trump supporters who still believed he had a shot as being out of touch with reality. In the end, it was the other way around.”
A symbiotic relationship of misinformation involving pollsters and reporters was then mentioned.
“And that’s why the problem that surfaced on Tuesday night was much bigger than polling,” Rutenberg explained. “It was clear that something was fundamentally broken in journalism, which has been unable to keep up with the anti-establishment mood that is turning the world upside down.”
He said that it is now time for the Leftist media to stop turning a blind eye to the conservative movement sweeping the nation.
“What’s amazing is how many times the news media has missed the populist movements that have been rocking national politics since at least 2008,” Rutenberg emphasized. “It failed to initially see the rise of the Tea Party, which led to the Republican wave of elections of 2010 and 2014, which was supposed to be the year the so-called Republican establishment regained control over its intraparty insurgency. And after each failure came a vow to learn lessons, and not ever allow it to happen again. And yet the lessons did not come fast enough to get it right when it most mattered.”