In the month of November 2016 nearly every source of news put out articles, posts, etc. stating what the media got wrong about predictions of the US Presidential elections; the Washington Examiner, Washington Post, Press Club, Fortune, and CNN just to mention a few.
Pollsters believe there has been too much of an emphasis on the demographics of the country; which means perhaps they relied too much on the Hispanic voter to turn out and vote. They further believe they under-sampled non-college-educated Whites, a group that President Trump appealed to and got their support. They also questioned the premise that voters will be completely honest with the people asking them questions who happen to be total strangers.
As the media struggles to fill the 24-hour news cycle, there seems to be more and more acceptance of “alternative facts.” Alternative facts as defined by Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary & Communications Director, and Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President. As a result, the Washington Post has an occasional feature on what Presidential Trump got wrong on Twitter in any given week. There focus will be fact checking.
For example, Trump tweeted on January 2nd about the murder rate in Chicago:
Chicago murder rate is record setting – 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
However, Chicago’s murder rate was not a record setting number. It was high but not record setting. There were 762 deaths, according to the Chicago Police Department. In the 1990’s Chicago was at an all time high rate for murders but the city was then facing gang activity and the drug activities that go along with the gang culture.
In the 1920s and 30’s, fascism controlled the conversation. Hence we have been reading and hearing comparisons to President Trump. Yes, President Trump has wrestled the discussion away from the media, and labeled it as “fake news, ” but control was the media’s to lose. Having the ability to go directly to most of your audience through social media has put the President out in front of the press.
Where does the media go from here on out? Fact checking, getting the story right, truth telling, have always been cornerstone ideas of a free press; staying away from name calling and labeling of people and groups would be good for the order.