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Thu Nov 8, 2018, 09:17 PM

What Drove Media Coverage of the Migrant Caravan?

What Drove Media Coverage of the Migrant Caravan?
KEVIN DRUMNOVEMBER 8, 2018 6:43 PM

Here in leftyville, itís an article of faith that hysteria over the migrant caravan from Honduras is purely an invention of Donald Trump, one that the media, inexplicably, went along with. I certainly believe that, and during lunch it occurred to me that it might be interesting to check out Google Trends to test this theory.

To my surprise, it didnít really check out. So I drove home to put together a chart showing that we had gotten this one wrong. But then I dumped everything into Excel and looked a little more closely andówell, the Trump/media hacking theory actually does check out. At least, I think it does. Hereís a chart showing public interest in the caravan as measured by Google Trends:



When the caravan forms around October 13, the media isnít reporting it and public interest is about zero. After a few days of Trump talking about it, it finally catches on. Then the caravan crosses into Mexico, another newsworthy moment, but nothing happens. Itís not until October 22 and 23, when the New York Times splashes a couple of big, scary pictures on its front page that hysteria really takes off.

But then interest drops off, so Trump doubles down, calling the caravan ďan invasion of our country.Ē Interest immediately jumps as the media reports this, even though thereís really nothing inherently newsworthy about it. Finally, on November 4 at 7 pm, just before Election Day, interest spikes up as Trump delivers a stemwinding rally focused almost wholly on immigration.

More:
https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/11/what-drove-media-coverage-of-the-migrant-caravan/

Editorials and other articles:
https://www.democraticunderground.com/1016219547

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