A national self-analysis underway


After the United States’ presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the election despite political polls that projected Hillary Clinton to win by a landslide.

Major news outlets, such as The New York Times and the Huffington Post, made predictions that were wrong, writing off Trump and proclaiming Clinton as the absolute winner.

Once Trump won, many voters across the nation felt misled by mainstream news media. In an article from The New York Times, the media company explained how numerous letters came in asking why it was so off and proclaiming mistrust in the news and journalists in general. Furthermore, mistrust and disdain was heard – loud and clear – as subscriptions to The New York Times were canceled.

The news media outlets, namely The Times, have began processing what went wrong and how they can improve in the future.

Journalism is designed to create a well-informed voting public, and whether or not the American agencies did that this election season is up to question. Most of the election coverage had a liberal bias, almost all news outlets missed the views and representation of rural America – which ended up being a deciding factor in the election – and now agencies are covering more fear about Trump than potential policies and positives Trump could mean for the country.

America is not just the urban centers of New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. There is no need to spin more fear, more panic and more drama into the American public that already feels disheartened about this past election season.

The inconsistencies with current polling techniques are a large reason to blame for the surprise win of Trump, but more importantly, the way the news media are continuing to cover the aftermath of the election is disappointing. Opinions and emotion are exaggerated and objective opinions seem to be a thing of the past.

In a period in American history where it is absolutely vital for journalists to be objective, expose injustices and represent the public, media agencies have fallen short.

Potentially, Trump winning the presidency could help expose journalists to areas of improvement.

Editors and journalists are already confronting the change.

“If I have a mea culpa for journalists and journalism, it’s that we’ve got to do a much better job of being on the road, out in the country, talking to different kinds of people than the people we talk to,” Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, said.

Baquet makes a point, the bubble of social media, community groups and families does not paint the whole picture of the story. My hope is that journalists continue to improve and continue to strive to serve and inform the American public.