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Wed Dec 7, 2016, 10:30 PM

Study: Clinton-Trump coverage was a feast of false equivalency

I actually think the study may understate the issue, since it ignores the plethora of fake right wing news being distributed by paid purveyors of propaganda.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2016/12/07/study-clinton-trump-coverage-was-a-feast-of-false-equivalency/?utm_term=.c2d427ad48c8

U.S. media organizations are locked into such a negative mind-set that they portrayed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as equally pernicious and scurrilous pretenders to the presidency. That, at least, is the conclusion of a study by Thomas E. Patterson in the fourth of his series of studies on media coverage of the presidential campaign for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

“False equivalencies abound in today’s reporting,” writes Patterson. “When journalists can’t, or won’t, distinguish between allegations directed at the Trump Foundation and those directed at the Clinton Foundation, there’s something seriously amiss. And false equivalencies are developing on a grand scale as a result of relentlessly negative news. If everything and everyone is portrayed negatively, there’s a leveling effect that opens the door to charlatans.” This chart from the Harvard study puts things into perspective:

https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=&w=1484

As the fine print relates, this equivalency hovers over the category of presidential “fitness for office” and includes themes such as “policy positions, personal qualities, leadership abilities [and] ethical standards.” Consider that the time period for these figures spanned from mid-August to the day before Election Day — which is to say, the weeks during which The Washington Post published the now-famous “Access Hollywood” tape that had Trump boasting about sexual assault, and the resulting flood of on-the-record allegations from women that he did just that. That the media somehow produced an equivalent amount of negative stories regarding Clinton would appear to cement its dedication to the proposition that they’re all bastards.

* * *
False equivalency is tough to prove in the macro, in large part because the media is such a sprawling and almost uncharacterizable beast. The Shorenstein Center has tried to bring a finite sanity to the chore by limiting its examination to the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today and just the primary newscasts: ABC’s “World News Tonight,” “CBS Evening News,” CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Fox News’s “Special Report” and “NBC Nightly News.” On the mirco level, this blog highlighted a couple of the campaign’s more egregious false-equivalency fouls, such as the time that two top journalists with the White House Correspondents’ Association wrote a USA Today op-ed under the headline, “Trump, Clinton both threaten free press.” A better version would have said, “Trump poses mortal threat to First Amendment, Clinton prone to secrecy.”


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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Wed Dec 7, 2016, 11:03 PM

1. Understatement.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 12:01 AM

2. KnR

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:30 AM

3. Media coverage ranks near the top when it comes to my frustrations.

Trump was able to suck all the air(waves) out of the room. With a responsible media, Clinton is the President-Elect right now.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 03:23 AM

4. Politico had an article about there being 3 times as much coverage of the emails than issues

... yes, big false equivalancy

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 06:23 AM

5. I am really hating the media, particularly the broadcast media

Pontificating and "reporting" with their telegenic faces, phony smiles and falseness of authority. Holding their little microphones and yammering about Clintons emails and the Clinton foundation. I cannot stand to watch them. Print is not too far behind, but broadcast media is entertainment and nothing more. They are owned bought and paid for.

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Response to Dream Girl (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 10:56 AM

9. Neil Buchanan on print media:

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 06:46 AM

6. Hence

The "both sides are both awful" that pervaded this election season and no doubt depressed the vote for HRC and allowed Trump to win. That they were both awful was a pernicious lie.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 06:51 AM

7. The MSM essentially handed the White House to Trump.

Exhibit A: Andrea Mitchell, and her obsessive, non-stop whining about Hillary Clinton's emails. Thanks for putting this country into a ditch, Ms. Mitchell.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 11:17 AM

10. Hard to disagree and I have not watched anything on msnbc since Nov 8

Fuck them.

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Response to BSdetect (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:39 PM

15. I've sworn off the political channels for the time being, as well.

The last thing I need is to witness Chris Matthews and his latest on-air, spittle-flecked, hard-on for some right-wing politico. Same for Joe Scarborough and his laughable Reasonable Republican act. I'm with you: fuck them. I'm hoping lots of other people feel the same way and that their ratings plummet.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 08:05 AM

8. Keeping this thread kicked throughout Trump's term in office.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 12:09 PM

11. Been shouting this for months

 

My analogy - Trump shoots and kills someone on 5th Ave. Hillary Jaywalks to go help victim.

Media: Clinton, Trump commit crimes.

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Response to dbackjon (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:26 PM

14. good analogy!

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Response to dbackjon (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:45 PM

18. lol, that's perfect

Nicely done.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 12:24 PM

12. I don't watch any cable or network news. it's just shouting matches

and political porn.

I consume most of my news from NPR or newspapers.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:24 PM

13. Yes. And the Democratic Party keeps letting it happen. We can't call out the media as right wing,

 


it wouldn't be effective and it would look like sour grapes. What we should do is call out the media for being water carriers for the rich elite class; the 1%. We should do this uniformly as a party. We should not let up. These media companies are propaganda wings of in some cases, multinational companies. Our mainstream media in its entirety is owned by only a handful of these megacorps, and those megacorps have agendas. A poorly informed electorate is absolutely beneficial to their bottom lines. A love fest with advertisers, which means not doing any real reporting on them, is beneficial to their bottom line.

We thought we could play nice with them by not running too opposed to their interests and that they would in turn grace us with better coverage. We got played for fools. Its high time we pulled back the curtain and let people see the machinery that is feeding them vapidity and lies. This "liberal media" BS has been allowed to infest the bubbles of our electorate for far too long.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:42 PM

16. I have not watched 1 minute of Cable News since 11/9/16

Nor do I intend to watch ever again.

It's not news, it's entertainment trying to turn a profit.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:44 PM

17. Some liberals and progressives (well, self-professed ones, anyway) bought into it, too.

It's bad enough that it happens. When our side falls for it and plays the same games, it's pathetic.

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