Coverage of debate may sway voters


The first Democratic Debate took place this past Tuesday, hosted by CNN and sponsored by Facebook. The debate featured Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee. According to, more people watched NCIS (a popular TV Show on CBS) as opposed to the Democratic Debate Tuesday night, with 15.3 million total viewers.

Before, during, and after the debate, people took to various social media outlets to voice their thoughts and opinions of the debate. One of the dormitories on the University of Miami campus, Mahoney Residential College, held a watch party for the debate in the one of the faculty masters’ apartment.  Therefore, I did not have to turn to social media in order to receive live commentary from my peers.

We all watched the debate, laughed at its funny moments, clapped when were all in agreement with what one of the candidates had said, and groaned when in disagreement. In between commercial breaks we held quick discussions about our thoughts on the candidates so far.

At the end, we all had our own opinions of who to vote for as the democratic candidate. However, at no point during our discussion did we declare “winners” and “losers.” We all took what the candidates had to say at face value and decided whether or not we agreed with their values.

But the next day, I was bombarded by all major news networks declaring who they thought were the “winners” and “losers” of the debate. Of course in my mind (as well as most people), I had already determined who I thought best represented what I sought in a presidential candidate, but I was interested to see and hear what the news networks had to say.

As I read and watched several news stories from various news networks, it became clear that the person I thought did the “best” or “won” was not what the news thought. As I watched more coverage of the debate, I began to question my choice: Did I pick the best candidate? I began to second guess my decision wondering if I had made the right decision.

After speaking with several of my friends, a majority of them expressed the same sentiments. After watching the debate, they had an idea of who they wanted to potentially vote for. But after watching several news networks declare the same person as the “winner,” they began to doubt their choice as it was not in agreement with the majority of news organizations.

While I think that news organizations should report on the debates, I think they should do it objectively. Declaring “winners” and “losers” of a debate that was not designed to have a winner, can confuse and sway the public. Instead of selecting winners and losers, the news should highlight each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses during the debate, providing the public with unbiased information and enabling voters to make well-informed decisions.

The Democratic Debate did not have any winners or losers. Instead, the Democratic Debate showcased the strengths, weaknesses, values, and opinions of each candidate, and coverage of the debate should reflect that.