Assessing a Clinton Argument That the Media Helped to Elect Trump

A presidential election settled by 0.057 percent of the national vote in three states — as the 2016 election was — will necessarily lend itself to quite a bit of finger-pointing. Swinging 77,744 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin means changing the minds of 38,872 people, 0.01 percent of the American population. If Hillary Clinton’s campaign had changed those 40,000-odd minds, she’d be president today. But she didn’t.

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One thought on “Assessing a Clinton Argument That the Media Helped to Elect Trump

  • September 13, 2017 at 10:23 am
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    ” If Hillary Clinton’s campaign had changed those 40,000-odd minds, she’d be president today.”

    Jeff Bezos’ newspaper’s claim assumes that no other voters would have made different decisions had that number of “odd minds” changed.

    Once upon a time, a few newspaper journalists, editors and publishers acted as if the logic represented in news stories not only told the story, but served as a model to the public for critical thinking and precise language. Apparently those days are gone.

    Bezo’s print property also attempts to equate sentences in news stories with persuasive power. If that were the case, we could dispense with voters and simply let news organizations decide electoral questions. While repetition can have considerable persuasive impact, the matter is not nearly so simple. If WaPo deigns to assess the claim that media helped elect Trump, it would do well to provide an honest, scholarly and articulate assessment.

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