Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Media Effect

Oh, no! Not another word cloud!

I've said the same, but an understanding of what happened- and of What Happened- is impossible without it.  It's not sufficient- but it is necessary.

And the reviews of Hillary Clinton's "What Happened" have been very negative from people who didn't read it, and especially prior to its availability. One Democratic US Representative commented "it is difficult for some of us, even like myself who’ve supported her, to play out all these media cycles about the blame game, and the excuses.” And he was reportedly a Clinton supporter.

 "A top Democratic donor" remarked "I think she should just zip it, but she’s not going to."  A "Clinton critic" charged “She’s doing harm to all of us because of her own selfishness. Honestly, I wish she’d just shut the f**k up and go away.”

Because, presumably, if she would simply stifle herself, all discussion of the 2016 election would simply vanish. Donald Trump would stop reminding us and the media would go on to do investigative reports about tax and regulatory policy, infrastructure needs and the nuclear triad.

Conveniently, contributors to FiveThirtyEight recently chatted among themselves about the media reaction to Clinton's campaign memoir, as well as the factors she pointed to in her defeat.

Although the group noted that the percentage of negative to positive news was identical for the two major candidates, Nate Silver observed

.... the fact that the media spent so much time focusing on Trump made it hard for anyone to focus on any one aspect of Trump’s behavior.

As you can see from the Gallup charts I posted earlier, people had lots of different feelings about Trump and heard lots of different negative stories about him. But none of them as persistently as Clinton and trust and emails.

One of those was Gallup's word cloud of what people said and/or heard about from 7/11/16-0/18/16:

Even though most reports about Trump (as well as Clinton) were negative, the coverage was skewed against the Democrat. Perry Bacon explained

my suspicion is that a lot of the bad coverage came from a desire to find a way to balance the sharp coverage of Trump with coverage that was negative about Clinton. The both-sides model of political journalism left you with 15 Trump scandals and 1 Clinton scandal, so you have to pump up the Clinton scandal/controversy/whatever to make up for that big gap since all of these outlets are obsessed with attacks from the right.

Although the four participants disagreed on how much weight they'd ascribe to each of the causes, they conceded "most of these were real factors in Trump winning and Clinton losing. That is a lesson likely to get lost when, as Christina Cauterucci wrote, "Early reviews take issue with the book’s right to exist as much as the quality of its contents. "

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