Another day, another opportunity for everyone to be shocked and appalled that this Donald Trump thing is still seriously happening. There are many theories as to why Trump has been so successful in his Presidential crusade. Some say that America is broken and that he’s the proof. Others say that no one is taking him seriously, that, in essence, this is all just a joke we’re going to acknowledge at some point. Then there are those who blame the media for his rise to “political” fame.
Those who fall in the latter category would use the media’s seemingly endless cycle of hate-reads and “you won’t believe what Trump just said” posts as proof. It’s unclear whether “the media”–or whatever that means in today’s culture–purposely elevates page views above moral and journalistic integrity, but one can certainly wonder. This piece is probably part of the problem too, despite the level of meta-ness it’s hoping to reach, but it’s worth a try.
All in all, it’s hard to tell who is to blame in all this but Gawker seems pretty certain that they know what’s going on:
— Gawker (@Gawker) March 28, 2016
The post goes on to try to convince readers that the media has not, in any way, empowered Trump. The author cites a National NBC/WSJ poll as evidence that he’s not popular in real life and that GOP voters wouldn’t be satisfied with him as their nominee. This is interesting given Trump’s current, which as of today stands at 274 superdelegates (over his closest competitor, Ted Cruz).
The author puts a lot of stock on this poll, as they believe it demonstrates their point that he’s not as nationally empowered as he seems. The poll isn’t nearly as powerful-sounding when one reads the details of it at the end of the article: “The national NBC/WSJ poll was conducted March 3-6 of 1,200 registered voters (including nearly 500 by cell phone), and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 2.8 percentage points. It also surveyed 410 Democratic primary voters (plus-minus 4.8 percent) and 397 GOP voters (plus-minus 4.9 percent)”
So… 1,200 people are supposed to represent national interest and belief in a candidate that’s already currently winning? The author says this poll tracks with a tool used by The Huffington Post which also lists Trump as highly unfavorable via the results of even more polls because polls never lie.
Aside from the polls, the author spends a lot of time coming for New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof who also wrote on the topic re: “the media” and Trump, which is neither here nor there, because writers should feel comfortable critiquing and being critiqued by others. But the Gawker author cites dangerously broad claims like: “Again, they [the media] are discussing a man two thirds of the country think is Bad and Wrong.” It’s unclear as to where this information is coming from, seeing as though no poll has reached two thirds of the country and that there’s no quantitative data to support this.
It’s still a bit blurry when it comes to whether or not the media can be held responsible for Trump’s current standing. There’s a fine line between keeping people informed and giving a microphone to a person who never should have had one. And it’s very easy to get lost in pretty words, sentiments, intentions, and ideologies when writing and sharing. Maybe this debate encompasses a variety of complex things that can’t be summed up in one piece by one person. What’s crystal clear, however, is that “the media” is at the very least contributing to the problem… AND that these replies to the Gawker post are too much in the absolute best way and perhaps most succinctly sum up the most logical response to media outlets that claim “the media” is innocent (at least as it pertains to Trump).