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The Mainstream Media Is Guilty of Grotesque Malpractice

[ 350 ] December 2, 2016 |

This is remarkable, and severely damning:

This really should be the death of glib, sublimely confident arguments that changes in MESSAGING could have easily put Clinton over the top. Trump completely dominated press coverage. Some of this was negative, but especially on tv a lot of this was just stuff like unedited coverage of his rallies. Clinton was not, to put it mildly, given the same kind of opportunity to get her message out. Clinton didn’t get significantly more coverage than Trump during the Democratic National Convention. There’s no effective way of getting a message out in that kind of environment; the net effects of advertising just aren’t that powerful. And there were two cases in which Trump didn’t dominate coverage: EMAILS! and HILLARY CLINTON IS ON HER DEATHBED! If you want an explanation for why Trump, an unprecedentedly dishonest and corrupt candidate, was viewed by the public is being more honest than Hillary Clinton (who, if anything, is more honest than the typical politician), there you go. The idea that the media deserves a pass for putting an elephant on the scale because Hillary Clinton is a FLAWED CANDIDATE is beyond absurd.

I’d also say at this point assertions that Comey and EMAILS! — essentially the only story the media told about Clinton, other than that she was about to die — didn’t materially affect the outcome of the election are basically trooferism. Given how narrow the margins in the three decisive states are, if Comey’s grossly inappropriate editorializing, his grossly inappropriate “I found evidence that Hillary Clinton emailed her assistant” letter, and the O.J.-on-trail-for-murdering-Princess-Diana coverage that followed both were worth even a point to Trump that’s enough, and that estimate is almost certainly low. It’s possible that events could gave worked out so that the Democratic candidate could have overcome this massive disadvantage, but it’s just ridiculous to assert that it didn’t matter. It’s the single biggest reason why the election played out close enough to a partisanship-and-fundamentals election for Trump to triumph in the Electoral College Campus of Trump University.

…good point:

Whether this was intentional or not, assertions that it didn’t matter are just unserious.

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  • cleek

    if you extended that line back a 8 months or so, i’m sure it would show Trump dominating all the way through the primaries, too.

    people (ex.: me) have been complaining about the media’s sickening infatuation with Trump for 18 months.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/leslie-moonves-donald-trump-may-871464

    Leslie Moonves can appreciate a Donald Trump candidacy.

    Not that the CBS executive chairman and CEO might vote for the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he likes the ad money Trump and his competitors are bringing to the network.

    “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” he said of the presidential race.

    Moonves called the campaign for president a “circus” full of “bomb throwing,” and he hopes it continues.

    “Most of the ads are not about issues. They’re sort of like the debates,” he said.

    “Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” he said.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” said Moonves.

    that was in February. people were already complaining about it then.

    i’m done with the media. i was burned out on Trump back in September. Colbert, TDS, Sam Bee, John Oliver, NPR, CBSNews, TPM, Kevin Drum – all-Trump, all the time.

    http://ok-cleek.com/blogs/?p=24061

    even here, all Trump, all the time.

    even at my own blog i can’t STFU about his nonsense.

    • ThrottleJockey

      even at my own blog i can’t STFU about his nonsense.

      I have to commiserate with you on that one man. The problem is everyone likes to see the car crash. If it bleeds it leads.

      • Domino

        Probably gonna have to go back and watch Night Crawler again.

    • Scott Lemieux
      • XTPD

        The absolute worst spin I’ve heard about the media’s role this election cycle – by Shafer, natch – was that not only didn’t the media share any culpability in the result, but that Trump won because they just couldn’t help against his media SUPERGENIUS! Incidentally, media SUPERGENIUS is what Shafer’s attributed as the major factor behind George Wallace’s success.

        • Ghostship

          I keep being told that American mainstream media is open and honest because it’s privately owned compared with state-owned media which is nothing more than propaganda {which raises the question of why Democrats and Republicans have continued to fund Voice of America, Radio Free(ha!) Europe and Radio Liberty(haha!)} since the American regime believes so openly in the truth and condemns all propaganda (except its own). But since 9/11 when I started reading online editions of American newspapers, I have noticed that many of the foreign news articles are biased and little more than propaganda. Perhaps if American politicians and the American public had been more assertive and demanded honest reporting over propaganda, the bleed of bias and propaganda into domestic reporting might not have been as widespread as it is now.
          Me, I’ll stick with rt.com and Sputnik News because there is less crap than I find on the New York Times and Washington Post websites, and the propaganda is easy to spot because it almost always includes stupid quotes from the Pentagon or the US military.

    • timb

      In Oliver’s defense, he refused to talk the 2016 election until 2016

  • All sounds correct, except for bare assertion that ads were useless. Clinton didn’t seriously try economic message, that I saw. Relied too much on attacking Trump’s character, making her own character (as caricatured by MSM) seem a legit subject.

    • Warren Terra

      I think the “that I saw” is doing a lot of work there.

      Clinton tried various economic messages (she repudiated TPP; she adopted various plans to support the aspiring disadvantaged, including tuition aid and child care; she had a plan to tax the rich to help the country; etcetera). None got coverage.

      She didn’t (or largely didn’t; TPP is an exception) pander to protectionist sympathies in the electorate, because she was averse to lying her ass off. As a prime example of this, see her message to Appalachian coal miners that coal isn’t coming back, but she’d drive the federal government to support the people it left behind and build opportunities for them, which message was eagerly seized by Trump’s pals as just telling the coal miners the mine jobs aren’t coming back. Which they aren’t.

      It’s easy to say that she didn’t push progressive messages enough, but when she did so they got no coverage. The chart above doesn’t show it, but I’d guess a huge majority of the coverage she did get, that’s not some version of “she’s a traitorous corrupt security risk who’s on her deathbed”, was her talking about Trump. You criticize her doing that, but, again, it was her only way of launching messages that’d get any coverage at all.

      • ThrottleJockey

        It’s not just Anderson. It’s empirical fact.

        Let this marinate a while:

        More than three-quarters of the appeals in Mrs. Clinton’s advertisements (and nearly half of Mr. Trump’s) were about traits, characteristics or dispositions. Only 9 percent of Mrs. Clinton’s appeals in her ads were about jobs or the economy. By contrast, 34 percent of Mr. Trump’s appeals focused on the economy, jobs, taxes and trade.

        Since the start of presidential campaign television advertising in 1952, no campaign has made 76 percent of its television ad appeals about any single topic. On average, traits typically garner about 22 percent of the appeals. The economy typically generates about 28 percent of the appeals. There’s usually much more balance.

      • ploeg

        There is also the matter of trust (which is related to truthfulness but different from it). If you’ve repudiated TPP, but your record has been to support trade agreements, and the sitting president and head of your party continues to push TPP despite the stated opposition of both major party candidates, you might understandably get some skepticism that your repudiation is worth very much.

        You have your message, but if you’re the incumbent party you also have your record, and people pay more attention to your record than to your message. And the failures of your record might not necessarily be your fault, but people will judge you by your failures and successes just the same.

    • sam

      Bullshit. If you actually watched her rallies she spent PLENTY of time talking about real issues, including the economy, but they got zero coverage, which is the entire point of this post. If the media had played her rallies from beginning to end the way they played trump’s, that message would have been out there, but the only thing that got ANY airtime were the attacks. (and she had plenty of ads that focused on real policies that helped real people – My friends and I would link to them and talk about how great they all were – since I live in NY, it was pretty rare for me to see ANY ads on actual TV).

      You saw this in the primaries too. I have no love for Rubio, but the ONLY time that he broke through what was essentially a media blackout on anyone but trump was when he started making those personal attacks – he even POINTED IT OUT when he was doing it – that he could stand there all day and talk about issues, but the attacks were the only thing that got him media attention.

      • CrunchyFrog

        If you actually watched her rallies

        Which all undecided voters do religiously, right?

        ThusTweetedAnderson was commenting about the ads. Yes, as we got closer to the election the ad funding became heavily focused on how bad Trump was. Scott’s right, the media did nothing to help Clinton get her message out. And it’s far from clear that running positive ads would have changed the results in those 3 states – but it is clear from exit interviews that the swing voters were responding to Trump’s message of hope/change – and yes, that’s what it was.

        • Warren Terra

          Even with ads, media coverage matters. The most famous political TV ads have often run a bare handful of times, if at all – they’re a honed political message whose goal is to get the media talking about them and rebroadcasting them.

          • CrunchyFrog

            Yes, agree with the point. As I said, it’s unclear that the Clinton ads would have made a difference if she’d tried a more positive note at the end. But the negative didn’t sway those who hadn’t already decided.

          • ThrottleJockey

            To your point Warren it’s true that The ad campaign was only 1 prong of the campaign but it’s meant to reinforce the other prongs. Her surrogates on cable TV primarily focused on Trumps bigotry/sexism/insanity not his economic callousness.

            She started the general at a narrow disadvantage to him on the economy and she finished at that same disadvantage. To paraphrase Karl Rove’s comments about Swiftboating Kerry: You don’t attack an opponents weaknesses you attack his strengths.

            The character assault was so much wasted ammunition. Majorities of people thought he was unfit. But they thought he was a good businessman. Where were the ads showing him stiffing small businessmen, kicking granny out her house, hiring illegal workers, and going bankrupt 4 times cratering the local economy? Where was the fucking OBVIOUS ad saying “You’re Fired Motherfucker!” while showing some white kids starving outside a soup kitchen.

            This campaign was messaging malpractice. One fucking ad asking do you want to live inside a reality show would’ve shaken some sense into people. People like watching the circus they didn’t want to join the circus. Sheesh.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              One fucking ad asking do you want to live inside a reality show would’ve shaken some sense into people.

              Do you have any idea how many people apply for Big Brother?

              • Manny Kant

                “Do you want to live inside a reality show” is pretty close to the actual Clinton message of focusing on Trump’s unsuitability for the job. I thought TJ was criticizing her for not having an economic message? That’s not an economic message, either.

                I’d also note that it’s easy to have pulled out of our asses opinions of what ads might have worked. I’m certain they made some mistakes here, but the Clinton campaign polled and focus grouped their ads. They chose that strategy because they thought it was the one most likely to bring about a Clinton win. It seems reasonably likely they were wrong, but I doubt there’s any easily obvious alternative here.

                I think that beyond the media coverage issue Scott identifies in the OP, all the “Clinton should have talked more about the economy” stuff falters in that it assumes people voted for Trump because Clinton failed to talk about the economy. People voted for Trump because they liked Trump. Fighting for the votes of WWC voters who voted for Obama but abandoned him for Trump sounds appealing, but I think it mostly fails to reckon with this. I rather suspect there was very little Clinton could do to get those people’s votes. They played for the well-off suburbs because they saw that the WWC was, for this election cycle at least, unattainable.

            • Warren Terra

              Where were the ads showing him stiffing small businessmen, kicking granny out her house, hiring illegal workers, and going bankrupt 4 times cratering the local economy?

              I saw those ads on the internet (passed around Twitter). Exactly those ads, and from the Clinton campaign. I have no idea what ads got broadcast, or in what proportions.

              • Phil Perspective

                They might have shown those ads early but they didn’t show them often enough or towards the end of the campaign. I should know. I live in one of those “swing states.” I only watch sports on TV yet I still saw a boatload of ads. Every other commercial break was either Trump or Clinton ads.

        • JKTH

          We mention things that Trump says at rallies as being big parts of his message. Why does that not apply to Clinton?

          • BartletForGallifrey

            We mention things that Trump says at rallies as being big parts of his message. Why does that not apply to Clinton?

            Uh, because hers weren’t covered incessantly. Or at all.

          • malraux

            The things Trump said at rallies got shown on TV while the things that Clinton said at her rallies did not?

            Seriously, how many times did a trump rally pre-empt a clinton one?

            • JKTH

              Yeah, so the issue isn’t Clinton’s messaging. It’s the media coverage, as Scott says.

              • JKTH

                To expand, if we’re counting everything Trump said as part of his message but only counting Clinton’s ads as part of her message (not her rallies, debate performances, media appearances etc.) then we’re getting a distorted view of their respective messages.

              • ThrottleJockey

                Clinton has surrogates to push her message. The fact that they pushed unfitness instead of economics is the fault of the campaign not the media.

          • ThrottleJockey

            We mention things that Trump says at rallies as being big parts of his message. Why does that not apply to Clinton?

            His rallies featured him inciting people to violence is why. Or inciting people to sexual assault.

            Also his rallies were more core to his message than rallies were for Hillary. They chose to focus on different messaging mediums.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              So “Hills” could have combated him by…inciting her followers to violence?

            • nemdam

              Also his rallies were more core to his message than rallies were for Hillary. They chose to focus on different messaging mediums.

              I have no idea what this means. Maybe if Hillary used hillbilly slurs in her rallies then they would be “more core to her message”? Cuz she talked nonstop about the economy in her rallies, but I guess that only proves it wasn’t core to her message.

              • ThrottleJockey

                I doubt rallies were going to be her strong suit no matter what…But her other mediums should’ve focused more on economics and less on unfitness.

        • DrDick

          Hell, I never even saw a Clinton ad here in Montana.

      • nemdam

        100%. Actually watch a Clinton rally, and 80% of it was about her plan and vision for the country, most of which was economic stuff and often tailored to the location she was in. 20% of it was about Trump, and it was usually buried in the middle and mostly used as a contrast to her own policies. If the rally was covered at all, I don’t need to tell you which part got covered.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          There was also extensive cheering, adoring crowds, inspired people, all the things we’re constantly told don’t exist for her. But the media decided “no one is enthusiastic about Hillary” and “no one really likes Hillary,” and once they’d picked that message they couldn’t back out of it.

          • ThrottleJockey

            If people were excited about Clinton thousands of Obama voters wouldn’t have stayed home.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              Yes, that’s why Philly had record turnout this year.

              How many of those thousands of voters were disenfranchised, by the way?

              • Scott Lemieux

                Right, it’s time to bury this. The base turned out for Clinton.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Depends on what you mean by base. Black turnout was down…Trump did as well with Latinos as Romney did.

                • ASV

                  Read up on how exit polls work.

              • Manny Kant

                Clinton did get about 4,000 fewer votes in Philly than Obama.

                Almost certainly completely unrelatedly, Jill Stein got about 4,000 more votes in Philly in 2016 than she did in 2012.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  I can’t really call it media malpractice, since everyone thought the same, but the overwhelming message that HRC had it in the bag is possibly relevant here. Or somewhere at least.

                • DrDick
                • BartletForGallifrey

                  That’s an old article, DrDick. Try instead this tweet from yesterday:

                  Jill Stein is now officially the Ralph Nader of 2016.

                  Stein votes/Trump margin:
                  MI: 51,463/10,704
                  PA: 49,678/46,765
                  WI: 31,006/22,177

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Nader? She beat Nader by 3X! She Out Nadered Nader!

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  Another media failing: reporting on turnout and margins well before all the votes are counted. The “low turnout” narrative is going to stick, despite all indications that this election will be roughly on par with 2012.

                • JKTH

                  That’s not really the case if Johnson drew more from Trump than Clinton.

                • Phil Perspective

                  BartletForGallifrey:
                  Wasserman is an idiot. He never mentions Gary Johnson, who got 3 times the votes Stein did. So he’s engaged in hippy punching, again.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  He never mentions Gary Johnson, who got 3 times the votes Stein did. So he’s engaged in hippy punching, again.

                  We have no idea what if anything Gary Johnson’s voters value or think. We can assume that Jill Stein’s voters value things like the environment. Much like the Democratic Party.

                  And I would happily punch Jill Stein.

            • random

              She outperformed Obama in more than enough places to negate that point.

      • sleepyirv

        Rallies the media didn’t cover live or taped, preferring to show empty stages at Trump rallies.

        With her money advantage and the clear media hostility, Clinton needed to make the most out of paid advertising. Focusing entirely on anti-Trump ads was bad. Considering how much the media covered every Trump stupid soundbite, voters moved by that subject didn’t need any extra prodding. What Hillary should have done was use her ads to distinguish between her and Trump or provide a strong positive message.

        The media coverage was bad, but a good campaign could have worked around it.

        • liberalrob

          What Hillary should have done was use her ads to distinguish between her and Trump or provide a strong positive message.

          She did! Nobody cared!

          The media coverage was bad, but a good campaign could have worked around it.

          I don’t see how.

          Bad media coverage has been a feature of the past 4 GOP presidential wins:

          1988: Michael Dukakis WUSS!
          2000: Al Gore LIAR!
          2004: John Kerry COWARD!
          2016: Hillary Clinton CROOKED!

          If we haven’t figured out how to work around it in 30 years, I’m not sure it’s work-aroundable.

      • timb

        Anderson specifically limited his comment to ads, not rallies

    • Joe_JP

      Both TTA and I, in different directions, live in non-swing states, so it would be interesting to hear from those that do. I saw some evidence [including from at least one person here] that she did do this (“economic message” also is narrower than “positive ads about her”) so am somewhat agnostic as to the breadth of the problem.

    • libarbarian

      But it wasn’t just her. WE attacked his character and only his character .. even more than we attacked the policies and statements that drove that assessment of his character.

      I’m not even talking about logic and “persuasion” and “reasoned arguments”. I’m even talking about basic fucking propaganda! We fucking failed.

      Take the issue of deporting all the “illegals”. I think we could have hammered home the reality that any actual attempt to do this would invariably result in infants and old women dying of heat stroke in unsanitary “camps” waiting for deportation. It would be a disaster that would dishonor the whole fucking country! We could have had commercials showing mothers with babies in cattle cars, like fucking Holocaust victims (deliberately so), and hammer the message “this is what Donald Trump wants to do!”. We could have make Americans confront the reality of what they were so blithely talking about!

      Instead, we just called him racist. That’s it! That same fucking label we apply to everything from a cross-burning to GODDAMN LINGERIE DESIGNS!(*) And then we fucking wonder why it didn’t fucking work. We didn’t do a goddamn thing to actually draw the fucking picture. We just pointed and judged and figured that anyone who didn’t just “get it” was a piece of shit who wasn’t worth speaking to.

      (*) had to link to a story about it … since the original piece was quickly taken down.

    • Scott Lemieux

      All sounds correct, except for bare assertion that ads were useless. Clinton didn’t seriously try economic message, that I saw.

      It’s possible, but it’s hard to see it making that much of a dent. And, also, we can’t completely ignore the possibility that with a different ad strategy Trump’s negatives would have gone down a little. (I’m not saying they would have — given what we now know about Republican suburbanites I think a more economic message would have been worth trying — but we really don’t know.)

      making her own character (as caricatured by MSM) seem a legit subject.

      This is silly. Negative coverage of Clinton goes way back before her advertising choices in the 2016 campaign.

      • DrDick

        While I agree that press coverage is a much bigger impact, the lack of economic messaging in her ads did not help.

      • nemdam

        Right. This is another factor overlooking the idea that Clinton’s ads focused to much on character and not enough on the economy. By and large, the ads and her message worked! Trump had the highest unfavorable of any presidential candidate ever, and 61% of the electorate thought Trump was unfit to be president. The goal of the ads was to drive home this message, and it worked. Turns out, it didn’t matter. I think for any political campaign if you tell them that on election day your opponent will have the highest unfavorable of any candidate to ever run for that office and 60%+ of the electorate thinks your opponent is unqualified, you would conclude that you ran a damn good campaign with an effective message, and you would get ready to pop the champagne. Turns out disqualifying your opponent doesn’t actually disqualify them. Without the benefit of hindsight, why would a campaign think there is a more effective message than your opponent is not qualified for the office?

      • Davis X. Machina

        Economics ads aren’t going to work in a “He hates the same people I hate — hand me the goddam ballot” election.

    • Solar System Wolf

      Oh, bull. I’m old enough to remember the Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry campaigns. The criticisms at that time were all, “They were too wonky! They talked too much about issues and not enough about character and values! No one wants to hear that stuff!” Hillary Clinton had the issues messaging there, for anyone who wanted to hear it. It didn’t get covered, and not enough people in enough key places wanted to hear it anyway. That’s all.

      • liberalrob

        +1. And there was nothing wrong with her character, other than 23 years of the GOP assassinating it.

    • Aexia

      Clinton won with voters (overall and in the rust belt states) whose primary issue was the economy and by a larger margin on foreign policy.

      She got killed on immigration and terrorism.

      • Moondog von Superman

        My own polling (n=3) indicates that those two things drove three people who I thought were fairly sane to vote for Trump — basically, fear of Syrians and a belief that Mexican immigrants are causing all manner of social problems. They believe what Trump told them about Hillary on these issues. Until I brought it up they had no idea who Steve Bannon is. All three think Trump is not as racist as his rhetoric “might” indicate — he just said things to get attention.

        I came away thinking some voters might be reachable on this stuff if you could draw a line for them from Trump to the Klan. The rise of white nationalism is simply not part of their media diet like it is for the rest of us. (Consider that even for us, it’s sugar coated as “alt right.”) They’re also not exactly doing a lot of introspection about what drives their fear of immigrants, but I don’t think we can reach them that way.

        • J. Otto Pohl

          The racism of the alt.right has considerably different origins than that of the KKK. Grouping all White centered racist movements in the US together in as the same thing is not analysis. To counter the typical lack of nuance on this issue at LGM I offer this brilliant piece from the Tablet magazine. It actually goes into the real intellectual influences on Spencer.

          http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/218712/spencer-gottfried-alt-right

          • Aexia

            This is a “All Alt-righters are white nationalists but not all white nationalists are alt-right” sort of thing.

            Have to understand the differences in order to combat them.

            • J. Otto Pohl

              Yes, the alt.right is a subset of white nationalism. But, you can’t understand Jack about them by merely referencing the German NSDAP and KKK of the 1950s. It is like trying to understand Stalinism by only referencing the writings of Marx and completely neglecting the history of Russia.

  • The mainstream media has always been guilty of grotesque malpractice. Nothing has changed, or will.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Except that what’s dysfunctional all the time is 100 times more dysfunctional when a reality TV star is one of the candidates.

      • CaptainBringdown

        This.

      • Moondog von Superman

        Anybody considering a run in 2020 needs to get their own reality show going by 2018. Behind the scenes of the campaign, building up our hero of the people, with much drama and dirt and starfucking.

        • liberalrob

          I guess it’s ominous then that Arnold Schwartzenegger is hosting Celebrity Apprentice next season.

          • Simple Desultory Philip

            …at least he wasn’t the *worst* governor we’ve ever had here in the great bear flag republic? siiiiiigggghhhh.

      • William Berry

        Yes. Trump was/ is a member of their club.

    • CrunchyFrog

      And if anything it’s getting worse. I thought, at the time of the video tape, that the media was going to just pile on Trump until November because they saw what a danger he was to the republic. I was going with the Palin example. But I was 180 degrees wrong. In 2008 they liked Obama – supporting him made them feel good about themselves. And for all his soaring speeches his policies were clearly in the center of Washington centrism.

      By contrast, the media has had a war on the Clintons since they arrived in town in early 1993. Back then it was talk about how “he trashed the place, and it wasn’t his to trash”. In the generation since I think a lot of the reporters forgot why they hated the Clintons so much, as clearly by that measure Trump is much worse, and the media newcomers probably can’t even tell you a reason. Like the monkeys who beat up the new monkey who tries for the banana, they don’t know why you can’t try for it, they just know that this is a cultural rule.

      After the debates ended – in which Trump was shown to be a total buffoon and Clinton strong and confident, the media returned to Entertainment Tonight coverage for the rest of the campaign.

      And now, even worse. It’s very clear that even the non-Fox networks are going to treat the next 8 years as the Trump Show and breathlessly report his every move, good and bad, with zero discussion of the policies or impacts.

      And don’t get our hopes up should Trump die. Pence is as boring as hell but if deprived of their Trump-as-great-leader narrative they’ll do everything they can to paint Pence in the same light – as they did for GWB, only now with a lot more ET-style skills and savvy.

      • Manny Kant

        I’d prefer Pence just because he’s a) been proven to be wildly unpopular as a chief executive (in a state that is much more conservative than the country as a whole or the key electoral college swing states); and b) he’s less likely to blow up the world or turn the United States into an authoritarian mockery of democracy.

        He’s still no picnic.

        • No Longer Middle Aged Man

          Agreed. Pence will endorse absolutely horrible policies, including some that even Trump wouldn’t be likely to support. But he is neither as grossly unqualified nor as grossly unfit for the office as Trump. To make a strained analogy, Pence is a less politically capable version of Reagan. Trump is a more politically successful version of Palin. Terrible policy scares me less than belligerent resentment and ignorance.

        • Simple Desultory Philip

          i dunno man, he thinks “the handmaid’s tale” is a utopian paradise so that thing about authoritarian mockery is pretttttttttty fucking likely under a pence admin if you happen to be a human in possession of a uterus.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Yup.

        One thing I really can’t explain about Obama is why he got such better treatment from the media than the typical Dem. Gore was savaged as badly as Clinton, Kerry not as badly but definitely got worse treatment than Obama.

        Obama could have beaten Trump. I don’t really see Sanders or Biden getting much better treatment, though, although who knows.

        • Warren Terra

          Biden, maybe. The idea that Sanders could have carried a dozen states once the gloves were off seems laughable.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          Obama is like John Kennedy- the press liked him and thought he was cool, and smart, another writer- they could see their idea of themselves in him. And he’s got a bit of a sharp tongue when he chooses, and they didn’t want to risk him making them look stupid in front of the others

          and Trump? they are just plain afraid of him on that same personal basis

          the media is *infested* with Maureen Dowd’s high school mentality on every fucking level

        • CP

          One thing I really can’t explain about Obama is why he got such better treatment from the media than the typical Dem.

          Like I said below: don’t forget just how completely Republicans had screwed the pooch in 2008, to a point that even most of Official Washington couldn’t argue against it. That was probably one big argument in his favor. His unusual amount of charisma and the “shiny new object” factor were others.

          • JustRuss

            That’s actually a very good point that often gets overlooked. The Republican brand had become toxic by 2008. Too bad that didn’t stick, god knows they haven’t changed, except for the worse.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Maybe your theory of the media as cartel villain is wrong?

          Obama had a carefully targeted messaging strategic chosen for the correct target. Hill carefully targeted but she chose the wrong target. What does a 40 something white male factory worker care about grabbing women by the pussy? Do you think he cares more about his paycheck or grabbing women by the pussy?

          • BartletForGallifrey

            What does a 40 something white male factory worker care about grabbing women by the pussy? Do you think he cares more about his paycheck or grabbing women by the pussy?

            Decent human beings aren’t okay with sexual assault and vicious racism, regardless of the effect on their paychecks.

            Our mistake was thinking there were more decent human beings than there actually are.

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              Yeah, my “2016 post-mortem summary” is basically “…because America is full of assholes.”

              • Simple Desultory Philip

                the thing i’m having the hardest time with these days on social media/in real life/whatever is trying to explain to people why they should care about anybody other than themselves.

          • nemdam

            I would think a 40 something white male would care about women like his wife or daughter getting grabbed by the pussy? And he might care that the guy asking for his vote is a conman who regularly doesn’t pay people like himself and due to being born into privilege has no connection to a working class background?

            • Davis X. Machina

              …40 something white male…

              Their votes count for more.

              It doesn’t seem that way, but they just do.

          • efgoldman

            What does a 40 something white male factory worker care about grabbing women by the pussy? Do you think he cares more about his paycheck or grabbing women by the pussy?

            If it’s his daughter getting grabbed?
            You never had kids, did you?

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              or a sister mother aunts female friends

              so- try this on for a thought experiment: say Trump, or a female equivalent thereof (I know, bear with me) was bragging about grabbing *guys* by the crotch. Would your average forty something white male factory worker be cool with *that*?

              but, your average American tends to reserve their empathy for that person a step or ten above them on the ladder. This is how we get widespread support for repealing the “death tax”

            • ThrottleJockey

              A lot of guys are estranged from their wife and kids. Shit some of them beat their wife and kids. Other guys are just self centered and care about their paycheck.

              I drunk ranted on Facebook on election night. “How the fuck do you vote for the guy who says ‘I grab women by the pussy?’ ” Of my 400 friends I only got 40 likes and maybe only a half dozen were white men.

              If these white guys cared about the women in their lives so much they wouldn’t have voted for the motherfucker. Shoot them not the messenger.

              • BartletForGallifrey

                If these white guys cared about the women in their lives so much they wouldn’t have voted for the motherfucker. Shoot them not the messenger.

                Would that I could.

        • FlipYrWhig

          One thing I really can’t explain about Obama is why he got such better treatment from the media than the typical Dem.

          Because “first black president” is the story of a lifetime. You’d think “first woman president” would be, but the media hates Hillary Clinton.

      • CP

        I thought, at the time of the video tape, that the media was going to just pile on Trump until November because they saw what a danger he was to the republic.

        If nothing else, let’s never make that mistake. The media will rally against politicians for a hell of a lot of reasons. “Because they are a danger to the republic” is not one of them. The media above all are shallow, superficial, stupid fucks. If Hitler came back to life, they might rally against him, but it wouldn’t be for planning to end democracy, start killing minorities, and have another world war, it would be because he had such a stupid mustache.

        Like the monkeys who beat up the new monkey who tries for the banana, they don’t know why you can’t try for it, they just know that this is a cultural rule.

        I tend to think “The Rich” in general need to be covered not as schemers looking to achieve a certain outcomes, but as their own cultural/tribal group with its own taboos, shibboleths, and weird prejudices. But that’s truest of all of the Villagers. People who ask what the Village was trying to achieve with all the Trump coverage are off-mark. They don’t even know why they’re doing it; it’s just What One Does.

        • efgoldman

          People who ask what the Village was trying to achieve with all the Trump coverage are off-mark. They don’t even know why they’re doing it

          They know exactly why: for profit. See Moonves, above.

        • The Lorax

          This is so well put.

      • Solar System Wolf

        Let’s not forget that the media found it enjoyable to pile on Palin because she was a safe target for their underlying sexism, too. “Caribou Barbie” and all that.

        • JustRuss

          Point. There have been lots of stupid Republican candidates, but the only one who’s been called out by the media was a woman. Interesting.

          • CrunchyFrog

            At this point I can’t imagine that sexism wasn’t a big component. But, to balance that, Michelle Bachman was equally nuts and she didn’t get exposed by the media like Palin did even though she was officially a candidate for President. She was allowed to pander on like Huckabee or Carson.

            Palin, of course, was a VP candidate so she got more attention. But probably the bigger factor is that Trump is a creature of national media attention – he adores it an it never knocks him off stride. He blusters his way through anything. Palin was able to do that in Wasilla and Juneau, but on the national stage she was completely out of her comfort zone and that was frequently apparent with her deer-in-headlights look. Catch Trump in a lie or obviously not knowing something and he blustered on but – importantly – it clearly didn’t bother him. Palin, for all her idiocy, showed that she was aware she was being caught out. The “what do you read” question is a perfect example – you can see the panic form inside because she knew that not only didn’t she read anything, she didn’t even know what the real politicians read. Trump would have just said “I don’t have time for that, I’m too busy creating jobs. I pay people to read for me – and only the best people.”

            • Solar System Wolf

              Bachman was a candidate for what, five minutes? A better example would be Carly Fiorina. She got a lot of crap, more than Trump did, though as a businessman he’s far worse than she is.

    • Scott Lemieux

      This just isn’t true. Coverage of the 2012 campaign was, in fact, nothing like this.

    • efgoldman

      The mainstream media has always been guilty of grotesque malpractice.

      Not “always.” In recent memory it has.
      I keep whipping this hobby horse because it’s true: consolidation and total lack of competition, plus moving news departments in TV from obligations to profit centers, has turned what we think of as “news” to just another product, like corn flakes or Chevrolet.

  • XTPD

    See also: the further UNCUCKENING of Wikileaks.

    Additionally, IIRC NBC was fucking the HILLARY CLINTON IS ON HER DEATHBED! chicken harder than anyone else.

    • What the hell is Assange ultimately aiming for? Whatever legitimate issues he may have with US Foreign Policy, the Democratic Party, or Angela Merkel, is goal seems to be the downfall of western liberal democracies. It’s hard to not reach the conclusion that he’s an agent, witting or otherwise, for Putin or somebody else who stands to gain from that outcome.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        is goal seems to be the downfall of western liberal democracies

        Uh, yes. Did you just figure that out? He’s the ultimate “white dude who just wants to watch the world burn.”

        • Scott Lemieux

          Right. A certain cadre of lefty journalists seem to be the last people to have figured this out, but Assange is a libertarian who is working to destabilize democracies on behalf of the far right and this has long been obvious.

          • BartletForGallifrey

            Maybe, but I really think he just wants to fuck shit up. I’m not sure far right has all that much to do with it beyond one thing. I’ve encountered his kind before. If they have any overarching belief, it’s a deep, deep hatred of women.

            • tsam

              Yeah, I see him as an megalomaniacal arsonist. All of his past pretensions of informing the people are out the window at this point. I’m waiting eagerly for him to face justice for his alleged rape.

              • William Berry

                There have been indications that the Ecuadorans are getting sick of him. It might be a good time for the Brits/ Swedes to get with someone on the Ecuadoran embassy staff to work out an “escape” for Assange.

            • Origami Isopod

              If they have any overarching belief, it’s a deep, deep hatred of women.

              They see themselves as a bunch of Tyler Durdens, reacting to a “feminized” modern society run by Moms who won’t let them do whatever they want to. The ones who profess Marxism are probably Adorno acolytes, and maybe of Philip “Momism” Wylie too.

          • kped

            Careful Scott, the lefty journalists will soon accuse you of Macarthyite tactics! Saying someone is in league with Russians, or being used by them to spread propaganda is exactly like the blacklists from the 50’s, so anyone who does it is exactly like McCarthy, and we will ignore changes to the world since then or relevant information!

        • Sebastian_h

          So are we now all agreed that releasing secret reports on Bush era torture and exposing the internal spying was part of the attempt to destabilize the US?

          This is an interesting development in left-wing thought…

          • Troll or not troll…respond or don’t respond…

            F it, I’ll take the bait. What rock have you been under for the last six months that you just crawled out from? You are aware, yes, that in this country we just emerged from a hotly contested presidential election in which Wikileaks made a clear choice that it wanted Clinton to lose and Trump to win? What the hell does any of that have to do with Bush era torture?

          • Warren Terra

            Sebastian! Buddy! I am so very, very relieved to see you still alive and commenting to blogs. I had given you up for dead, one more tragic victim of the ruthless Clinton vengeance machine whose secret trail of bloody revenge you so bravely offered to detail for us, before largely disappearing in a manner that suggested those implacable demons of retribution had silenced you for good.

            That really seemed to be the explanation, because otherwise I could only conclude that you were baselessly and vilely smearing Clinton (or, the Clintons) in a disgusting and rather blatantly sexist manner, and when called on it had slunk off too ashamed to reply.

            • mds

              The second paragraph is a bit unfair. From what I’ve been able to tell over the years, Sebastian has no shame.

            • Sebastian_h

              Well considering that I was off caring for my best friend doing radiation treatments that day and the next, I would tend to think of repeating the characterization of a pro-Clinton biographer as something more like “attending to life”.

              Re WikiLeaks you all seem to be drawing the analogy the opposite way from how I intended it. WikiLeaks info dumps have many flaws, but they are true. Have they been selective in trying to damage the US? Quite possibly. But they have allowed us to wrestle with many issues that our elites from both sides would like to keep quiet. I especially include Democratic members of the Intelligence Committees who apparently didn’t care much about NSA spying.

              Complaint about the release of the true Podesta emails is mainly about what? Clinton speeches that she should have A) not made and B) having made should have made public? Are liberals REALLY saying that we shouldn’t be allowed to find out what elite politicians are saying to Goldman Sachs when they pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars?

              I don’t think you really believe that. I think/hope that you’re being swept up in tribal backlash that you’ll soon get over so you make good appraisals of how to fight Trump going forward.

              • Warren Terra

                I’m very sorry for your friend’s ordeal. I hope they recover.

                The rest of your comment is absurdly nonresponsive. You parroted an unsubstantiated and frankly despicable smear of Clinton that “Hillary has been known for decades at being very vindictive at intraparty politics” – amounting in essence to the assertion (assumption?) that by virtue of her karyotype she must be a vengeful shrew.

                Biographers, wikileaks, and Podesta’s polenta recipes haven’t got a thing to do with it.

      • CrunchyFrog

        The question is whether this was an honest attempt at openness that was captured by the Russians or if it was started with this in mind.

        At this point one has to be impressed with Putin’s strategy. His country has a GDP maybe in the range of Spain. He’s never going to be military power again, and even during the cold war the perception of Soviet military strength was largely a facade created jointly by the Soviets and the US Military-Industrial complex. But information warfare – both the cyber kind and plain old propaganda, aided by modern media technologies, is relatively cheap. Even all of the work he does portraying himself as a tough guy who partakes in tough guy risky adventures is part of the propaganda, as authoritarian followers the world over drool about how neat it would be if *their* leader did the same stuff.

        Wikileaks is now clearly part of the Russian information warfare sphere.

        • CP

          Wikileaks is now clearly part of the Russian information warfare sphere.

          Quite.

      • CP

        is goal seems to be the downfall of western liberal democracies.

        Yes. Precisely.

        I’ll be charitable and say that maybe he’s doing that out of sincere concern because he thinks that the West is, to coin a phrase, “the focus of evil in the modern world” and the single most harmful power center on Earth, but whatever the motivation, that’s pretty clearly what he’s after. Or maybe “downfall” is too strong a phrase, but they’re clearly what he’s designated as The Main Enemy.

        In the same way that there’s an RWA mentality out there that’s generically authoritarian and will rally to whoever tickles their authoritarian fancies the most regardless of ideology, there’s a school of thought out there that’s generically revolutionary and anti-system. It’s how Carlos the Jackal, the most infamous terrorist of the seventies and eighties, converted from the left-wing anti-imperialist Marxist/Castroist/Arab Nationalist ideology of his youth to al-Qaeda style Islamic fundamentalism in his old age.

      • urd

        Revenge.

        Wikileaks needs to sever their relationship with him, but it may already be too late.

        Their data leaks have to be verified by multiple sources now, far more than in the past. And their brand may be so damaged that even if it is accurate, it fights an uphill battle to be taken seriously.

        • farin

          On the contrary, it’s almost certainly going to have a much stronger image in the US going forward. The media and the president both owe it a lot after this election, and as long as it’s explicitly anti-liberal it’ll be fine.

  • Joe_JP

    Yes, we can cite flaws of a team, but home field and officials clearly stacked against you is still going to matter. In close cases, even if we think it should not be close, it can seal the deal.

    • A single data point, but worth noting and illustrative of the overall problem and particularly damning for CNN, is the saga of Corey Lewandowski, bully boy and Trump campaign manager who was hired as a commentator by CNN within seconds of being fired by the Trump campaign.

      • rm

        . . . of being “fired” . . .

      • Scott Lemieux

        Jeffrey Lord too. CNN always made sure to have plenty of hacks to make every Trump scandal a “views differ” proposition.

  • ThrottleJockey

    Balderdash.

    Just 9% of Hill’s ads focused on the economy. This is only a third of what Trump did. And even on cable news her surrogates pushed the fact that Trump was bigoted/sexist/batshit insane instead of the fact that, like Romney, he regularly trampled on workers and small businessmen. That’s the opposite of the campaign Obama ran.

    The LBJ campaign ran it’s infamous Daisy ad just 1 time. She ran her multiple versions of the ad a gazillion times. Diminishing Marginal Returns is an economic fact. This was shitty strategy. She may as well as have left Mark Penn at the helm.

    Here’s another thought. Considering that Bill never won an outright majority of votes is it possible we’ve overestimated their political ability?

    • cleek

      That’s the opposite of the campaign Obama ran.

      Clinton isn’t Obama.
      Trump isn’t McCain.
      Romney never said he felt entitled to GRAB WOMEN BY THEIR PUSSIES.

      • ThrottleJockey

        That doesn’t matter.

        Despite all that there still exists a segment of voters for whom pocketbook issues will be paramount to the exclusion of other issues. Look at North Carolina. As bigoted as those voters are they voted down the Governor because he cost them money even though they voted for Trump.

      • lsimmonds

        If he had he might have won…

    • howard

      If she’d only have run more ads on the economy she’d have won? That’s the considered opinion you want to sign your nym to?

      • (((Hogan)))

        Remember who you’re talking to.

      • ThrottleJockey

        If she had focused more on economic issues she’d have won. She started the general at a 3% deficit in the polls on economic issues. She finished the election at that same deficit.

        Clearly devoting 2/3rds less resources than he did to your biggest weakness was a dumb strategy. She could have Romneyed him same as Obama did to Mitt.

        • JKTH

          Another way to look at it is that Trump devoted more resources (by your definition) to economic issues and didn’t move the needle at all. So why would we expect Clinton putting more resources there to have an effect?

          • ThrottleJockey

            Because the impact is non linear. He reached a plateau point. She never got to that point. She didn’t even match her predecessors’ level of balance.

            Her folks say they focused on unfitness because it focused grouped the best. That’s a defensible position honestly but they forgot that a focus group isn’t really a microcosm of the nation.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              they forgot that a focus group isn’t really a microcosm of the nation.

              Isn’t that exactly what a good focus group is?

              ETA: Or a microcosm of a state or whatever.

        • Aexia

          She *won* voters (nationwide and in rust belt states) whose primary issue was the economy.

          She got killed on immigration and terrorism. I wonder what the connection between those two issues is.

      • Aexia

        Russ Feingold got fewer votes than Clinton. This was obviously the white working class rejecting his neoliberal war mongering Wall Street cronyism. Perhaps if he had spent more time campaigning in WI instead of OH and IA and focused less on Trump, he would’ve won.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Ohio voters who chose Portman over Strickland by much larger numbers than Trump over Clinton were clearly aching for MOAR SOCIALISM.

        • mds

          Similarly, Chuck Schumer got many more votes than Clinton, including most Upstate counties that went for Trump. This was obviously the white working class rejecting his neoliberal war mongering Wall Street cronyism.

          (It’s illustrative of … something, that back in 2006, Senator Clinton carried 58 of NY’s 62 counties. Ten years later, she was history’s greatest monster as far as Upstate was concerned.)

          • Davis X. Machina

            Chuck Schumer got many more votes than Clinton, including most Upstate counties that went for Trump.

            But you must never, never suggest that misogyny had anything to do with that.

          • efgoldman

            Ten years later, she was history’s greatest monster as far as Upstate was concerned.

            The RWNJ Republiklowns got a lot more tribal, and the hate, spite, fear trifecta became overwhelming.

    • BartletForGallifrey

      Just 9% of Hill’s ads focused on the economy.

      The LBJ campaign ran it’s infamous Daisy ad just 1 time.

      Are you saying she should have run ads more or less, TJ?

      • sleepyirv

        Do you think the Daisy was about economics?

      • ThrottleJockey

        I’m saying her message should’ve focused more on economic issues. She had to puncture this belief that Trump would save jobs but she didn’t. Neither her ads nor her surrogates pushed that message.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          So your point about Daisy was….

          • (((Hogan)))

            That hammering the negative doesn’t work as well as hammering the positive.

            I would have thought Trump disproved that conclusively, but as a theory it’s at least coherent.

    • JustRuss

      Diminishing Marginal Returns is an economic fact.

      Yes, which is why Trump mentioned Hilary’s email server just once or twice then moved on to other things.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Stop being silly. Trump mentioned a lot of shit:

        Keeping jobs
        Keeping out Mexicans
        Obamacare
        ISIS ISIS ISIS
        Stopping China from taking stealing jobs

    • In retrospect, it appears that you are correct, that running ads pointing out that Trump is an ignorant misogynistic racist was the wrong tack, that assuming that those things to people who might otherwise be inclined to vote for him might be deal breakers that, if not pushing them to vote for Clinton would at least push them away from Trump. What we didn’t know then and do know now is that an unhealthy portion of the American electorate either embrace one or more (in far too many cases all three) of those descriptors or just don’t think they’re that important. I’m not sure how going forward you appeal to those voters without yourself embracing their loathsomeness. Addressing their “economic insecurity” isn’t going to get it done.

      • Joe_JP

        The stronger case to me is the balance of the messaging.

        That is, you can provide some of the “he’s an asshole” stuff (and maybe it helped narrow margins in certain areas) but in various cases you needed more. And, she did have more. For instance, just saw a late ad that was just about herself and how she spent her life helping people etc. And, how she would spend her presidency helping various groups too.

        But, did she handle this as good as she could have including in the three states she narrowly lost? IDK. And, given poll data suggested she was ahead, it probably misled her campaign to some degree.

        • I remember seeing that ad and being impressed by it and her. If everybody sees this ad, though, does it actually reach more people than her ads focusing on the evil of Trump? IDK.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          I think they did what their research said was working. I don’t think their data was quite as sound as (everyone) thought it was, and when things started to change on the ground it took too long (and there probably wasn’t quite enough time, really) to change strategies or move staff into what turned out to be weak spots

          Clinton, from what I gather, just never had enough people working at ground level for her in those swing states. And that’s a lesson to remember- when the media is stacked against you then you need people to go face to face with voters and make your case

      • ThrottleJockey

        This segment of voters had always existed though so it shouldn’t have been new news. (It’s old news to black people) This is why Obama was always careful to downplay racial issues during the general. He wanted to keep the focus on pocketbook issues.

        Obviously Trump’s bigotry had to get some attention but it got too much while his failures as a businessman got far far too little.

      • Manny Kant

        We don’t actually know that it was the wrong tack, because we can’t compare it to a world where Clinton focused on an economic message. Maybe she’d have done even worse! I’m far from convinced that Rust Belt white working class voters who flipped from Obama to Trump weren’t primarily voting for Trump.

        We know that a lot of Trump voters were voting against Clinton, but I rather suspect that these are mostly the loyal Republicans who backed Trump’s rivals in the primary and voted for Trump because they always vote for the Republican.

        I rather think that the “Trump Democrats,” to coin a phrase, just liked Trump a lot.

        • Scott Lemieux

          We don’t actually know that it was the wrong tack, because we can’t compare it to a world where Clinton focused on an economic message. Maybe she’d have done even worse! I’m far from convinced that Rust Belt white working class voters who flipped from Obama to Trump weren’t primarily voting for Trump.

          This.

          • Dilan Esper

            Or maybe Trump was a celebrity who was going to pull the votes he pulled regardless of what Hillary or the media said and did, because people like voting in elections for famous people with little or no experience.

        • ThrottleJockey

          That’s an interesting theory but I don’t quite see swing voters who liked Obama voting for Trump for reasons that aren’t economic. What other possible reason would they like Trump?

          • Not all prejudice is based on race.

            • Davis X. Machina

              Thankfully misogyny played no role in the election…

            • Origami Isopod

              Imagine that, TeeJay being completely oblivious to misogyny.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I want to go back to the Tom Hanks Black Jeopardy sketch on SNL. There was a key truth in there. The redneck with the “Make America Great Again” cap and the blacks on the show found that they had a ton in common – they both thought the system was rigged against them and that every politician who said they were there to help them was just going to screw them in the end.

          Ok, so they’re gullible as hell, but the Trump voters who either didn’t vote in 2008 and 2012 or who voted Obama then switched to Trump were voting out of desperation for someone who *would* in fact finally fight for them. And hell yes, they’re racists – they have to blame someone. But the infamous anecdote from 2008 – when someone was canvassing for Obama and the person answered the door, called to her husband, and he called back “tell them we’re voting for the n**ger” – addresses that.

          These people are generally nice people in person but in the voting booth they are either Neo-Nazis or Good Germans. However, the Democrats need at least some of their votes. Talking about economic statistics and how good the economy is doesn’t wash when that economic boom is happening mostly in blue areas or oil/natural gas boom towns. (And to be clear – even in a boom town it’s not real pretty for the working class. Sure you have cash in your pockets and aren’t worried about a job – until you fall off the drilling platform and get a hairline fracture in your leg and can’t work for 6 months and workman’s comp doesn’t cover it because of the rules in your state. And you spent all of the cash you’ve been getting as soon as it came in because your family had so much pent-up demand for things they see on TV. And you couldn’t afford a house because boom town prices ate up a lot of the “high” income you were getting.)

          Not blaming Hillary’s team for not knowing this. But in retrospect the message has to be targeted at the working class *and* the policies that get enacted have to be as well.

          I’ve noted before that Obama’s 30-minute campaign infomercial in October 2008 profiled 3 working class families and talked about how he’d help them. But looking back his policies fell way short. The railroad worker who had his pension stolen so worked as a greeter at Walmart long after he should have retired still had to do that – Obama didn’t go after the Wall Street crooks. The people with mortgage trouble weren’t helped by HAMP. He did address a lot of the medical cost issues, but not so much the education cost issues. It’s not only important to target the messages right, it’s important to follow-up with real changes. Again, not blaming the Dems for it as in 2009 that was all the Dem party could have done given their make-up, but if they ever get the chance again they’d better learn from it.

          • Davis X. Machina

            These people are generally nice people in person but in the voting booth they are either Neo-Nazis or Good Germans. However, the Democrats need at least some of their votes.

            Cross-burnings in carefully selected locations is my suggestion. It might fly in the face of everything the modern Democratic party stands for, but hey, there are elections to win.

            • CrunchyFrog

              Yeah, that’s exactly what I suggested. Do I know you as one of the students I used to tutor in reading comprehension?

              • Davis X. Machina

                Look, this campaign came down to “He hates the same people I hate — hand me the goddam ballot.”

                Economics had little to do with it. Too many people who saw Braveheart and thought it was all real went to the polls.

          • Domino

            To me, the failure to do practically anything for the millions (I believe it’s around 9) who had their homes foreclosed on is a gigantic failure on the part of Obama and the Dems.

            Given a chance to hold people accountable, the administration essentially let everyone off the hook, except homeowners.

            Does that result in Hillary getting elected? I can’t say – but I don’t see how it hurts her chances.

          • efgoldman

            Talking about economic statistics and how good the economy is doesn’t wash when that economic boom is happening mostly in blue areas or oil/natural gas boom towns.

            Maybe the answer in those states was an old fashioned Mother Jones/Eugene Debs campaign against the corporate barons specifically and the rich generally. Let Loomis write the ads. Give them an alternative hate object.

    • So you’re saying that if she’d run more ads about the economy it would have changed media coverage of the election? ‘Cos that’s the only way it makes sense to exclaim “Balderdash!”

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        actually I found the use of “balderdash” the only interesting or remotely original thing he said, and mainly because I’m pretty sure no one has used that word even ironically since sometime in the early 1950s

        • sibusisodan

          Fiddlesticks!

          It was the 1850s.

          • Warren Terra

            We don’t see nearly enough use of “horsefeathers!”.

            • Gator90

              Poppycock!

              • Dave Empey

                Hogwash.

                • (((Hogan)))

                  Bunkum. Claptrap.

                • Tyto

                  Malarkey.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Confession: Horse feathers is the word I originally typed!

          • ThrottleJockey

            :-D. No now that is the word my father favors

        • William Berry

          Bah, humbug!*

          *Humbug is cool because it is a good reminder of how vulgar ordinary English slang could be even centuries ago.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Ok. So you realize that her surrogates focused on his bigotry and sexism much more than they focused on economics right? Those are people she controls. She should have pushed his failures as a businessman much much more.

  • BartletForGallifrey

    Every time I see people earnestly posting about how necessary the media is going to be, how much we must support it, subscribe to the Times right now or you’ll be responsible for Trump, etc etc, I’m like, Uh, I totally agree that a fair and free press is important and vital, but that ain’t what we’ve got, so…::cancel::

    • Steve LaBonne

      I follow Connie Schultz on FB and I frequently reply along those lines to her appeals to support journalism. Though I do need to drop a few bucks on Josh Marshall’s site, which is both really good and very important.

    • Warren Terra

      The Washington Post has its share of hacks, but it also has Marty Baron and David Fahrenthold, and as a matter of editorial policy didn’t go Full Metal Emails, or at least didn’t do so to the same degree as some of their peers, despite being the hometown newspaper of Comey and the House oversight committee he reported to.

      On the other hand, the New York Times should fire everyone who’s not a foreign correspondent or Paul Krugman and start over from scratch. If that bunch of assholes had a brain they’d play catch with it.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        I have a free WaPo subscription (.edu email), so I haven’t had to decide to cancel or not.

        They also have this guy though sooooo.

        • XTPD

          Thiessen and Cohen are worse. (Additionally, the NYT should also keep Charles Blow).

          • Warren Terra

            Both are columnists, not reporters. I don’t know whom either is intended to appeal to, but (especially for the former) any replacement targeting that audience would likely be equally awful (though possibly not personally responsible for endorsing torture while in government office)

        • Warren Terra

          Yeah, Cillizza alone would oversupply any newspaper’s “share of hacks”. But people who totally agree with him are running the show at The New York Times, and his worthlessness demeans but doesn’t really define The Washington Post.

      • The Lorax

        Yep. I canceled NYT and subbed to WAPO.

      • smott999

        Cilizža sure went full metal Emails.
        He’s an abomination. The worst combo of smug and stupid I’ve seen in ages.
        Only reason I don’t have a WaPo sub.

        • XTPD

          I don’t get the háček above Cillizza’s name. Serbia reference?

          That said, I’d ordinarily agree that he’s a better fit for the Chestnut Knights, but Shafer does the “nihilist douche” routine more completely than Chris. Of course, Cillizza’s existence meant that this degeneration was utterly pointless, and I don’t really know how to resolve this – aside, that is, from jettisoning them both into the sun.

    • Taylor

      There was an article by a NYT reporter about the top-down culture at the Times, that was revealing. Journalists sitting around in the morning waiting to hear what narrative they should write their stories around.

      Then you see tweets by Jacob Weisman and Dean Basquet, and it all makes sense.

      I won’t shed a tear when they close their doors.

  • nemdam

    This has more or less been my main takeaway about why Hillary lost. Of course there’s other stuff, but it seems impossible to ignore this as one of, if not the, main reasons she lost. So the questions then become how and why did this happen? And what can we do about it? I genuinely don’t know. Why was Obama treated relatively kindly by media versus Hillary, Gore, and Kerry? And why was Bill able to overcome this? I think one thing we should do is to start treating the MSM as the enemy like the right does. Assume they are stenographers and not journalists, and I think maybe some of this gets mitigated. But I really don’t know, and the problem is only going to get worse with Trump in the White House (I will never get used to saying that).

    • sam

      Bill came up at a time when the right wing noise machine (and 24 hour news at all) was still in its infancy – so he wasn’t fighting the same battle. A lot of that infrastructure was built as a reaction to the clintons.

      Obama was a genuine, once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, and also (as much as I think he is probably one of the best human beings alive), was the ‘shiny new thing’ when he arrived on the scene. Not to mention the fact that, in the primaries, he was running against the media’s chosen enemy, Hillary Clinton(!). So that helped.

      Then of course, McCain, who hadbeen the previous media darling, was showing his age, and made really stupid, craven mistakes like choosing Palin, and well…

      Don’t forget – a lot of the trump coverage in that chart above wasn’t “positive” per se. A lot of it was about how awful he was. But it was coverage. And it drowned out everything else.

      • nemdam

        The thing about Bill though is that he was tainted by plenty of scandals in ’92. He was painted as an adulterous, draft dodging, America hating hippie. Bush made his whole campaign about character. Yet, Bill won in a landslide. Even after the right wing machine got started after he was elected, he won by an even bigger margin in ’96 and that is with Whitewater and the other classic Clinton scandals constantly in the news.

        I agree with your characterization of Obama and McCain, but I still don’t understand why it happened. Why were Obama and McCain media darlings and Hillary so hated even in 2008? I just have no idea.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          It’s a mystery. I can think of literally nothing that Bill, Obama, and McCain share but Hillary does not.

          • Taylor

            It’s funny how people just don’t want to admit it, isn’t it?

            Just as much on the left as on the right.

          • Steve LaBonne

            +XX chromosomes

          • Warren Terra

            People don’t like to talk about lingering discrimination against Americans of a homogametic persuasion.

          • Davis X. Machina

            “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

            Elementary.

        • CP

          Don’t forget just how badly Republicans had screwed the pooch come 2008, and how widely rejected they were. That’s important not only because the media was probably not quite as inclined to carry water for them, but also because people in general were more likely to ignore it if they did. Combine that with Obama’s genuine charisma and “new shiny object” phenomenon…

    • rea

      So the questions then become how and why did this happen?

      (1) Media ownership likes far right positions for personal reasons–tax cuts!

      (2) “Man bites dog” is a better story than “dog bites man”. HRC acting normal and sane was not as “newsworthy” as Trump being Trump. Obama, in contrast, being a black man running for president with a chance of winning, was “man bites dog”.

      (3) Covering policy is hard work.

      • Warren Terra

        (3) Covering policy is hard work doesn’t happen.

        Fixed that for you.

        Seriously: to the extent policy gets covered at all, it’s usually worse than useless. This is especially the case for Republican claims to have health care ideas, and Republicans’ descriptions of the distributive effects of their tax plans.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Or stories about how every expert in America agrees that Social Security and Medicare need to be severely cut now to eliminate any risk that taxes might have to be raised to maintain benefits 50 years from now.

    • Warren Terra

      I’m not going to argue whether Obama was treated kindly, but he wasn’t (successfully?) Swiftboated like Kerry was, and The War On Gore was real, and was (unsurprisingly) led by The New York Times. On the latter, Bob Somerby may be logorrheic, and endlessly repetitive, but he’s not wrong, and it’s worth reading him on the subject until he starts to repeat for the third or twelfth time.

      • Taylor

        Gore at a townhall described how a kid wrote to him about Love Canal, and in response he started hearings. The point was that an individual citizen, a kid, can make a difference by writing to Congress.

        Kit Seelye reported it as, Al Gore claims credit for Love Canal.

        • Scott Lemieux

          And Seelye, Dowd, Rich et al still have their phoney-baloney jobs.

        • sam

          and let’s not forget, of course, how Al Gore invented the Internet.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Assume they are stenographers and not journalists, and I think maybe some of this gets mitigated.

      When hasn’t this been true? Even at my age I think it’s been true the entirety of my life. We like to idolize Woodward and Bernstein but they were always the exception.

      • smott999

        Bottom line, Dems have to find someone who is a media darling.
        I don’t know who’s out there who could fill that reqmt but it’s obviously become essential.

        This of course, assumes we’ll continue to have a press.

        Or elections.

        • J. Otto Pohl

          Loomis? ;-)

  • rm

    Reports of the death of glib, supremely confident arguments about MESSAGING have apparently been exaggerated.

    (Edit — meant as a response to TJ, obviously).

    • ThrottleJockey

      Hey man! I genuinely enjoyed the discussion the other day about Antebellum Christianity. I hope we get to continue it.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    I’m going to give a non pro- or anti-HRC reason to blame the FBI:

    What’s to stop them from sabotaging the 2020 nominee? Especially if Trump makes a few…suggestions?

    • Steve LaBonne

      I want to see a brutal primary campaign that will weed out any candidate who has vulnerabilities of the type that could “justify” a bogus Federal investigation. We need an absolute Boy or Girl Scout. Who is also telegenic. A tall order!

      • rea

        That obviously can’t be the answer–look who won.

        • This illustrates at least as well as anything else the truth of IOKIYAR. By traditional standards you couldn’t have found a more loathsome and tainted candidate to run than Trump, and yet all of the crap that clings to him like a second skin ended up being irrelevant. Clinton, on the other hand, actually is more honest than most politicians/presidential candidates and there was little or no substance to the most persistent knocks against her “character,” but she is the one who spent the campaign having to deal with made up controversies while Trump actually handed the press new controversies daily and ended up being untouched by them.

        • Steve LaBonne

          It is the answer for only one side, of course. One step at a time!

      • CaptainBringdown

        It pains me to say so, but it might be wise to limit it to a Boy Scout.

      • EliHawk

        I want to see a brutal primary campaign that will weed out any candidate who has vulnerabilities of the type that could “justify” a bogus Federal investigation. We need an absolute Boy or Girl Scout. Who is also telegenic. A tall order!

        Except a ‘brutal primary campaign’ is just as likely to lock in a metric ton of negatives that then hamper the candidate in the fall, right when a bogus ‘federal investigation’ shows up.

        Really, Dem Proportional delegates + Small donor $ kind of terrifies me. The last two Dem primaries defaulted into one-on-one fights to the end that resulted in one person winning a majority, but the uncertainty is that just because a r ace with HRC was always going to devolve into Clitnon v. Anti-Clinton or if that’s the natural rate of Dem equliibrium. If it’s the former, you’re sleepwalking towards a ‘contested convention’ because small donor cash and proportional delegates means nobody can land a knock out blow.

      • Dave Empey

        Michelle Obama 2020?

      • Davis X. Machina

        Not a Girl Scout. That dog won’t hunt.

      • efgoldman

        A tall order!

        LeBron!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, one of the silliest reasons for giving Comey a pass is “but what good will it do?” Uh, the 2016 campaign is never going to be run again, but the FBI ain’t going anywhere.

  • sibusisodan

    Chicken-egg question: are the larger media organisations leading or following their audience in this?

    I suspect the answer is probably ‘if they covered policy/Clinton even-handedly, their audience would wear it’.

    But there are structural factors pushing against anyone who does that…

    So, yes, the larger media organisations chose to cover it this way, but it was the least difficult of the options available to them. That’s the problem to be solved.

    • Warren Terra

      Just by looking at the covers in the supermarket checkout, it would appear that the most easily exploited audience is thoroughly steeped in a really ugly, right-wing world view. I don’t know whom the mainstream news media (broadsheet newspapers, network news) target, but they have to be far more than merely aware of that dynamic.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I dunno, I’d say the fact that the primary scandal that was hung on Clinton was about her fucking email management precludes the argument that it was market-driven.

        • Warren Terra

          But it wasn’t really about “her email management”. It was about “30,000 missing emails”, and what’s she hiding, and isn’t she the most corrupt politician ever, and Eve ate the apple, doncha know?

          I don’t really know why it was the emails rather than Benghazi or something else entirely concocted new for the purpose. But it’s not like the coverage of Her EMAILS! actually delved into the substance of the allegations or consisted of a quick survey of email server maintenance.

          • Manny Kant

            My Dad, who is a lifelong Democrat who’s been getting much more conservative as he gets older, and who wrote-in Biden because he couldn’t stand voting for either Clinton or Trump, would constantly bring up the 30,000 missing emails as proof that Clinton was doing something nefarious.

            • Domino

              Did he have a response to the millions of emails the Bush administration deleted, after have them hosted on a server owned by the RNC?

        • tsam

          Doesn’t that confirm Warren’s suspicions, though? They’re trying to sell advertisement in their media, and the most responsive consumers seem to be people who want their psychoses validated/confirmed. There is Fox, who is blatant about it, and MSNBC who tries to appear even handed, even liberal at times, but basically sells the same garbage the rest of them are selling, but with the “Select” label that’s meant to give the appearance of being an upgrade from the howler monkey set at Fox.

          • XTPD

            JoeScar acted as a Trump advisor, for example.

            • tsam

              Right–then there’s
              Hayes and Maddow, who seemed to be fighting a losing battle from the start
              Chuck Todd, who is an absolute mess

              And of course the one black, female intellectual who was doing some good work there got fired, so….yeah. MSNBC is all manner of fucked up.

              • Manny Kant

                And yet still, astonishingly, the best of the three…

                • XTPD

                  Don’t forget Joy Reid.

                • tsam

                  Yeah–and if THAT’s as good as it gets in the big 3, we got a real fuckin problem.

                • tsam

                  Don’t forget Joy Reid.

                  Ah–you’re right–though I haven’t watched MSNBC since they fired Melissa Harris-Perry. That was it for me. So I can’t comment on Joy Reid.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Aside from Morning Joe MSNBC is a card carrying member of the left. If you think they’re merely even handed… CNN tries (overly hard) to be even handed and that means they tend to normalize Trump but I think the MSM is mostly a good depiction of America. A bit skewed demographically ( being more male and white) but I’m not sure it’s all that more conservative (because white women vote republican).

    • tsam

      Chicken-egg question: are the larger media organisations leading or following their audience in this?

      This was a question I agonized over. Given that they’re profit driven, the latter seems most likely.

  • King Goat

    “Some of this was negative”

    This seems like a pretty big possible stumbling block for the argument…Without knowing how much of the coverage it makes for a different argument having to be made.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Negative to us, not necessarily to the deplorables.

      • tsam

        Right–“LOL check out that crazy Trump!” has a negative connotation, but also a Kardashian show vibe that draws attention. We love our Kimye, even if they’re rotten assholes.

    • JustRuss

      I agree this needs more analysis, but from my observation, there wasn’t much pushback against Trump by the media until August/September. Prior to that they pretty much just gave him a platform, letting him phone in to any number of talk/news shows, and broadcasting his stump speeches in their entirety.

      • EliHawk

        Right. The coverage of his rallies was just straight through message. It may have been terrible (and the press tell themselves that to allay these complaints: See, the coverage made him look nuts!) But there was no filter: If he looked nuts, it’s because you thought he looked nuts. Whereas almost anything Clinton did got the filter “She’s corrupt.” That was the key difference. The media let viewers get Schrodinger’s Trump vs. Crooked Hillary.

        • JustRuss

          The media let viewers get Schrodinger’s Trump vs. Crooked Hillary.

          Worse than that, their wall-to-wall coverage legitimized him. If candidate A is on TV all the time and candidate B is on only occasionally, the implication is A is more important and serious than B.

    • Scott Lemieux

      This seems like a pretty big possible stumbling block for the argument

      Given that attention focused on Clinton exclusively on negative information, not really. Even the two candidates being treated equally negatively would be a huge win for Trump, and it was almost certainly worse than that.

      • urd

        Weren’t we told she could handle this? Weren’t we told that Sanders would get a similar treatment, but that we should support Clinton because she had been dealing with this for years and could effectively fight back?

        I love how this item, which was presented as one of the clear reasons to support Clinton over Sanders, is now being used as an excuse for why she lost.

        Clinton’s campaign cannot fail, it can only be failed.

        • TroubleMaker13

          You know, your fixation on this election having been a referendum on Hillary Clinton, and thus the outcome hinging on her personally is pretty telling. It’s very authoritarian of you.

          The point is, this election was never about Clinton per se. Lots of folks here (myself included) supported Bernie in the primary. He didn’t win though. Once Clinton was the candidate, anyone and everyone who had half a brain and the slightest shred of a moral conscience should have seen that was imperative to get behind the Democrats and defeat Trump. Trump was clearly the biggest threat to progress, and to vulnerable low-income and people of color, that we’ve faced in this country in our lifetimes.

          So yes, the failure to defeat Trump represents an abject strategic and moral failure of the left.

  • CP

    Whether this was intentional or not, assertions that it didn’t matter are just unserious.

    From the MSM, it may or may not have been.

    From the FBI, it absolutely was.

    • Slothrop2

      Really? Is there any support for this claim? Rural whites were voting at historically high levels before the publication of the Comey letter

      • CP

        This has to do with whether or not the FBI’s leaks were intentionally done to affect the election because…

      • Manny Kant

        Look at the late decider numbers.

        • urd

          And this proves what exactly?

      • JustRuss

        Comey’s treachery may or may not have juiced Trump voters, but it likely encouraged the “they’re both terrible!” voters to stay home.

  • Slothrop2

    Wait a minute – I thought this was about race? So, it’s the media’s fault because all of that coverage influenced white people – especially white women – to vote for Donald Trump? What’s the connection? Hint: There is no connection.

    I cut the cord about 10 years ago, but as far as I can tell traditional radio and television, along with cable, constantly reported Trump’s racism, misogyny, swinish behaviors.

    Also, had Millennials voted, HRC would’ve won in a landslide. And Millennials overwhelmingly get their news from social media, as do most adults; so, your claims are completely unsupported – if traditional media influenced anyone, it was probably really old people. And again, they were treated with Donald-Trump-is-a-pig trope.

    Your analysis of the election results is all fucked up.

    • BartletForGallifrey

      You have literally no idea how social media works, do you.

      • Warren Terra

        Add “social media” to the list. To the long, long list.

        • Slothrop2

          Enlighten me, dickhead.

          How people understand the world via newsgathering is incredibly diffuse. So the biggest problem is that people are willfully misinformed.

          She just plain sucked.

      • Slothrop2

        The fact that individuals sequester themselves in social media intranetworks in which they hear echoes of their own voices, and in which news is targeted to individuals, further undercuts the view that “the media” radically influenced the election outcome.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          You have literally no idea how social media works.

          • TroubleMaker13

            He knows how it works for him!

      • urd

        It’s not clear the Clinton campaign did either.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          Ah, so you don’t know either. Sad!

          • Slothrop2

            Also, your claims about media effects are made even more ridiculous when you consider that in the Democratic primary, Sanders received much more positive reporting than did HRC.

            Arguing for strong media effects was an excellent idea in, say, 1940.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              Yes, you’re correct: Clinton has been getting unfair, awful media coverage since the primary.

              • TroubleMaker13

                Yes, you’re correct: Clinton has been getting unfair, awful media coverage since the primary 1992.

                Fixed that for you.

          • urd

            Actually , I do.

            As one example:

            Clinton’s campaign failed to muzzle their surrogates, official and unofficial, that hurt their cause with inflammatory and/or stupid statements. The fact they didn’t seem to care, or were very slow in responding, demonstrates they didn’t understand the sometimes viral nature of social media.

            And this is just one example.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              What does that have to do with media effects?

              • urd

                It was a response to your statement that I didn’t know how social media works. You might want to keep up with your own questions.

                Are you really not getting this? Clinton’s own campaign helped to drive up her negatives (unforced error) due to their lack of social media experience.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  It was a response to your statement that I didn’t know how social media works. You might want to keep up with your own questions.

                  My statement had the context of the previous few posts.

                  Clinton’s own campaign helped to drive up her negatives (unforced error) due to their lack of social media experience.

                  Do you have evidence of this somewhere?

            • TroubleMaker13

              Clinton’s campaign failed to muzzle their surrogates, official and unofficial, that hurt their cause with inflammatory and/or stupid statements.

              This would have never happened to Bernie.

              And this is just one example.

              Yes, perhaps the stupidest one you could have offered.

              • urd

                I never made that claim. This was an issue for Clinton because she already had historically high negatives. Adding to those numbers made a bad situation worse.

                Great job of refuting my argument. Shows how little attention you paid to the primaries and the general election.

    • urd

      I think he has now moved onto the see what sticks approach.

      Actually, that might be a little unfair. But in light of some good postmortems that refute his positions, this continual harping on items that were not core issues for her loss is getting a bit tiresome.

      • Scott Lemieux

        in light of some good postmortems that refute his positions

        [cites omitted]

        this continual harping on items that were not core issues for her loss

        [argument omitted, distinction between “core” and “non core” reasons for loss transparently stupid]

        And I’ll note again that urd is making sweeping assertions about what definitely decided the election, but thinks it’s unusual that the Republican candidate won white women — that is, he has no idea what he’s talking about.

        • urd

          Oh I’ve given plenty of cites in the past; The Intercept, Naked Capitalism, NY Times, etc. But after various purity tests have been applied as to why those source are invalid I’ve stopped (at least on this area of discussion).

          Argument omitted because I’m tired of repeating myself, as much as I’m tired of seeing you dress up the same Comey/media scapegoats as the reasons for Clinton’s loss.

          And I’ll note again that you make specific claims based on questionable data and spurious assumptions. As for the GOP winning white women being unusual; in this election, yes. Unless you just want to forget all the statements during the campaign that indicated all women would favor Clinton over Drumpf. But I guess that is what cherry picking data is all about.

          The more you you go on about this, the more it demonstrates you have no idea. It’s your choice to ignore what’s staring you in the face.

          • (((Hogan)))

            all the statements during the campaign that indicated all women would favor Clinton over Drumpf

            Wow, the inside of your head must be a marvelous and fascinating place.

          • TroubleMaker13

            Yeah, it’s not surprising that the outlets that chose to spend the election cycle relentlessly attacking Clinton are now working furiously to focus blame for Trump’s win on Clinton herself. Or really anyone other than themselves.

            It’s your choice to ignore what’s staring you in the face.

            Indeed, urd. It’ll be there in your bathroom mirror every morning.

            • urd

              And exactly why should those outlets be sharing the blame for Clinton’s loss? The Clinton campaign had one job: win the election.

              If her campaign expected the websites I listed to support her “just because” then they are as foolish as you. Why is it their fault she made so many unforced errors? Why should they be responsible for her campaign’s tactical mistakes? How is this loss not the fault of her campaign?

              Funny, I’m not the one who is in denial.

              I guess you are okay with this shit happening again in 2020. Me, I’d really like to avoid that.

  • Gone2Ground

    While I’ve been saying for months that the media needs to be charged with war crimes for their antics and fundamental lack of interest in Trump’s very long public career (as opposed to their obsessions with Hillary’s public career….), I would like to see this very same graph confined to just television outlets. Of the sources noted on the graph, 5 are print sources. Two are online.

    The only TV outlet listed in the analysis is Fox News….and I would bet that if all and only cable TV presentations were analyzed, the skew would be even more pronounced and horrifying. And, as this past cycle as shown quite definitively, TV coverage is what matters, 100%.

    • XTPD

      Actually a bit surprised they felt the need to include The Weekly Standard, as I’m pretty sure at this point its general reputation – even among VSPs – is the Magazine That’s Wrong About Everything. (Incidentally, associate editor Ethan Epstein was one of the worst Trump stenographers his cycle).

  • urd

    You won’t give up on this will you?

    I’ll grant you it had an impact, just like Comey had an impact. It wasn’t the deciding factor.

    Repeating this ad infinitum won’t change the reality that your theory has already been debunked multiple times.

    At any rate we were told she could handle the media…the fact it was in the tank for the GOP shouldn’t be a surprise or an excuse for failing.

    • postmodulator

      At any rate we were told she could handle the media…the fact it was in the tank for the GOP shouldn’t be a surprise or an excuse for failing.

      Eh…I’d be willing to accept this as a fair description of blogosphere discourse, but you continue to not understand that blogosphere discourse had zero impact on the outcome.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I’ll grant you it had an impact, just like Comey had an impact. It wasn’t the deciding factor.

      Given the margins, this wrong on its face.

      Repeating this ad infinitum won’t change the reality that your theory has already been debunked multiple times.

      LOL.

    • I’ll grant you it had an impact, just like Comey had an impact. It wasn’t the deciding factor.

      What does it actually mean to say that “it had an impact but wasn’t the deciding factor”? As far as I can tell, it can mean one of two things.

      1) It wasn’t the only factor that arguably affected the result

      2) On its own, this factor was not important enough to actually change the overall result.

      (e.g. say there is evidence that 500 votes were cast improperly in an election but X won by 10 000 votes, we could say that there was improper voting, that it had an impact on the election results but did not actually change the outcome)

      If #1, you are misrepresenting Scott’s “theory”, which in no way resides on the assumption that there were no other determining factors

      If #2, to “debunk” this theory one would need to be able to measure the impact of media coverage on the election precisely enough to determine that its impact was not sufficient to change the outcome.

      Do any of the numerous “debunkings” to which you refer actually do this?

      • At any rate we were told she could handle the media…the fact it was in the tank for the GOP shouldn’t be a surprise or an excuse for failing.

        If the OP were meant primarily as an excuse for Clinton, this point could have some merit. Since it is in fact framed as an indictment of the media for malpractice, your point misses the point. Saying that Clinton ought to have handled the media better in no way absolves the media when it comes to the charge of malpractice.

        • postmodulator

          A further point…the reason Democratic candidates can’t “handle the media” is that we haven’t been willing to work the fucking refs for forty-odd years. Because as soon as someone starts working the refs on our side, some left-leaning organism like urd slithers forth to inform us that it shouldn’t really matter.

      • Manny Kant

        I think the key mistake is the idea that there is but a single “deciding factor”. Especially in a close election, there will always be numerous necessary-but-not-sufficient factors for whatever outcome.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          +everything

        • TroubleMaker13

          I think the key mistake is the idea that there is but a single “deciding factor”.

          That’s not a mistake, it’s a tactic calculated to avoid responsibility for his/her role as one of those factors, having worked to undermine support for Clinton and the Democrats.

    • TroubleMaker13

      You won’t give up on this will you?

      You first, asshole. Start with an apology.

      I’ll grant you it had an impact, just like Comey had an impact. It wasn’t the deciding factor.

      Scott and others have been pretty circumspect about the plethora of factors that contributed to this outcome, including Clinton and the DNC itself. Yes, Comey and the media bias against Clinton *definitely* had an impact and Scott has presented empirical evidence suggesting that it was probably sufficient to tip the election to Trump (as any of a number of other factors might have).

      It’s also pretty clear that attacks on Clinton from the left (in which you participated) had an impact, as you can see in the vote totals for Stein in WI, MI, and PA. A deciding factor? Probably not, but an undeniable contributor.

      Here’s the thing though. There is one factor, one group of people, who are clearly blameless in this outcome. Like, thoroughly, unequivocally, 100% blameless. One group of people who can hold their heads high knowing that they absolutely did the right thing for progress in this country and the world. You know who those people are urd?

      People who voted for Hillary Clinton in the general election.

      This includes many of the people posting here, myself included. Scott, LGM, and the commentariat here spent the past two years discussing the importance of this election. We saw clearly what was at stake; the problems that Clinton (as well as Bernie) posed as a candidate; the dishonest and manipulative nature of attacks on Clinton from all sides; the manner in which the left and mainstream media were being manipulated by fake news, foreign provocateurs, and Trump himself. We had to debate all of this with dumbfucks like you and try to warn you about the obvious outcome that would follow from your ridiculous, nihilistic “strategy” of undermining the Democrats.

      Now here we are.

      And here you come, presuming to tell us something. You’ve proven yourself worthless to any progressive movement committed to real change. You’ll stab us in the back to pursue your narrow, parochial, and apparently nihilistic goals. You’ve been wrong and offensive your whole time posting here.

      I mean, if you want to be taken seriously, you can START with a sincere, heartfelt apology for your contribution to this nightmare reality that the rest of us now have to pick up the pieces from.

    • (((Hogan)))

      At any rate we were told she could handle the media

      We were told that she wouldn’t curl up in the fetal position when the media went after her. And she didn’t. We weren’t told that she would force the media to give her coverage equal or comparable to what they gave Trump, because who the fuck would tell you that?

    • JMP

      Do you not know what “debunked” means? Because a theory that is demonstrably true has not in fact been debunked multiple times.

  • jeer9

    Hillary was an excellent candidate who ran a powerful and moving campaign against a preposterously unqualified and mentally unhinged opponent who openly bragged of grabbing women by the pussy but she was done in by a media that didn’t sufficiently cover the details of her policy initiatives. Had the media done its job and hammered home her superior public service experience, her legislative continuance of the Obama status quo, the obstructionism of Republicans which is the source of gridlock, instead of focusing on the silliest of non-scandals, one hundred thousand Blue Wall “undecided” citizens might have grasped the important distinction and voted more thoughtfully.

    Ehhh. Maybe.

    • gmack

      This article seems relevant: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/12/the_myth_of_the_rust_belt_revolt.html

      The authors don’t make this point, but it seems to me that their data are consistent with the idea that Clinton’s negatives ended up hurting her more than Trump’s did, at least in the key rust belt states. I am willing to accept that she might have done more to try to mobilize white working class who traditionally vote for Democrats (note: this is different from saying she could have done things to “flip” Trump voters; the article makes it clear that such vote flipping was not the issue in Clinton’s loss). But any such efforts were hampered by the media coverage that made it (a) difficult for her message to be heard, and (b) made it difficult for her message to be received (if she’s an unlikeable liar, why would I ever listen to her policy proposals?).

      But let me leave aside the question of why Clinton lost the electoral votes in PA, MI, and WI. What Scott is showing here is that there was massive media malpractice, and it deserves significant criticism. Comey deserves even more criticism, and indeed, I would say that his actions are so troubling as to warrant a resignation.

      • Nang Mai

        Media malpractice was clear from the start. Another way to interpret this graph is that Trumnp’s team was superior in knowing how to manipulate corrupt, stupid and lazy media.

        Clinton’s campaign bought a lot of tv ads but nobody watches tv any more. She went on the campaign trail to win people’s hearts but she lacks the charisma to pull that off. She needed to do something new and creative and her PR team failed her. Here’s an idea: she could have taken the millions she raised and given it away to struggling communities. That would have bought a ton of goodwill, guaranteed headlines and beaten back some of her credibility and trust issues.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          She went on the campaign trail to win people’s hearts but she lacks the charisma to pull that off.

          This is false and again ignores the fact that rallies and speeches don’t work if they’re not covered.

          Here’s an idea: she could have taken the millions she raised and given it away to struggling communities.

          https://www.clintonfoundation.org

          • Nang Mai

            Sure, they have a foundation that does some work in the US. I was suggesting something different and a lot more newsworthy but going with your foundation idea do you know what it does domestically or how effective it is? I don’t and I would guess that is representative of most people. That is a PR fail. The things I do know about the foundation are all negative. I do not like Trump at all but I do recognize he understands how to manipulate modern media. Clinton’s PR team didn’t pull it off.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              The things I do know about the foundation are all negative.

              Yes, that’s rather my point. She does good things and somehow all you hear about is bad things.

        • mnuba

          Here’s an idea: she could have taken the millions she raised and given it away to struggling communities.

          Yeah, no. Do this even once and every single Republican and most of the mainstream media would be screaming from the rooftops 24/7 about CROOKED HILLARY BRIBING VOTERS CROOKED HILLARY BRIBING VOTERS CROOKED HILLARY BRIBING VOTERS. Or, maybe, if they’re generous, “Is Hillary Clinton bribing voters in poor communities?”, or maybe “Accusations of bribery cast shadow over Clinton’s charitable efforts.”

          • sam

            Aside from the exaggerated hay the GOP would make over it, it would probably actually be a violation of campaign finance laws to simply “give away” the money raised for a political campaign.

            And the Clinton Foundation has done massive amounts of good work around the world, saving millions of lives, particularly of HIV-infected children in Africa. Which has all been overshadowed by the gross innuendo this campaign season. If they could take a great organization like the CF and do that to it, what do you think they would do with something less noble, like the one-step-removed-from-vote-buying scheme being suggested here?

      • postmodulator

        This article seems relevant:

        Nothing against you personally, but at this point it is still possible to find a reputable, reasonable-seeming article arguing just about any side of how demographics broke in this election. I’m not going to start taking any of them seriously for another Friedman Unit or so.

        • gmack

          Fair enough. I’ll even amplify your point: unless you’re a political consultant (shudder) or a political scientist interested in defining various demographics and predicting their behavior, none of this should be all that important for us. I’m an academic and a sort-of activist (who is becoming way more activist in the aftermath of this election). As an academic, I have a broad interest in understanding the broad narratives and cultural assumptions/identities that Trump invoked and developed; as an activist, I have an interest in dissenting from his presidency and trying to block his agenda. Neither of those interests require me to know exactly how this or that target demographic broke in the last election.

      • Manny Kant

        It seems really hard to me to look at the numbers in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Erie Counties, and think that blue collar white Democrats did not switch to Trump in significant numbers, at least in Pennsylvania. Maybe a bit less clear in Michigan and Wisconsin.

        • gmack

          I would guess that it was a combination of a variety of factors, but as postmodulator says above, it’s probably too early to figure out the various factors for certain.

    • randy khan

      Or 100,000 (or 200,000) people who would have voted for her but stayed home would have voted.

      But, really, that’s not the argument. The argument is that the media decided that they wanted to cover only two things – Trump (and reactions to Trump) and the emails – and that’s all they covered except when forced to do something else.

      I was sort of amused at the assertion by somebody above that Clinton surrogates went on the TV and talked only about Trump. I suppose that’s true as far as it goes, but when someone is asked to go on the air, 99.9% of the time the network says “Here’s what we’re talking about today, so be ready to talk about that.” There’s not a lot of free-lancing on the guest’s topic of choice.

      There is no doubt that the Clinton campaign failed, although in a very specific, kind of peculiar way (winning the popular vote by now better than 2% and losing the EC is nothing if not peculiar), and by the same token, the Trump campaign by all accounts did not think it was going to win even the morning of the election, and certainly none of the prediction sites thought he would win.

      I’m sure that, today, the Clinton folks are pondering what they could have done to move those 100,000 or 200,000 voters that they didn’t do, and maybe more positive messaging is the right answer. Maybe it’s better polling to identify the voters they needed to move – although considering that it looks like basically every professional agreed with the Clinton campaign’s polling, maybe that wasn’t it, either. I don’t pretend to know the right answer, and I don’t think that claims that she ran a bad campaign or was a bad candidate, both of which you impliedly make, are particularly on-point either.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hillary was an excellent candidate who ran a powerful and moving campaign

      The strawmen in your lame, content-free routine are certainly escalating quickly.

      • jeer9

        Straw man?

        This really should be the death of glib, sublimely confident arguments that changes in MESSAGING could have easily put Clinton over the top.

        If you agree that her campaign could have been more powerful and moving, that no one is arguing that it was perfect, you seem to engaging in a bit of lame, content-free trooferism yourself.

        Comey’s letter was despicable (and ultimately goes back to Obama which you occasionally cite), and the media coverage, as usual, was bad and deserves criticism. There were lots of necessary but not sufficient causes for the loss. And Clinton’s campaign deserves some of the blame, not none as you argue.

  • jpgray

    I’m confident a candidate like Trump would have dominated news coverage regardless of his opponent, as we saw during the GOP primary.

    If that’s true, and if as you argue this media disparity is decisive, then nobody can beat Trump. Our only hope in that case is to change the eyeballs-based news media, which is impossible.

    To me that’s just foolish fatalism – we barely lost in the EC and convincingly beat him in the popular vote.

    Rather than argue it was impossible for any message to defeat Trump, I’d argue that a candidate unburdened by universal media suspicion/dislike, or with a better message, could win the EC despite this disparity in coverage.

    Next time ’round especially since Trump will be tied down to actual policy rather than vague generalities.

    • Steve LaBonne

      People talk as though around 80,000 votes in three states is some kind of tidal wave of support that nobody can overcome. Many of the people who made up that difference may not even bother to vote in 2020.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        They’re already getting upset with him breaking promises about locking her up. What’s going to happen when they realize he won’t be deporting the Mexicans, putting the Muslims in camps, and holding weekly lynchings in the Blue Room?

        • farin

          He’ll just have someone fill out their ballots for them.

      • randy khan

        You keep bringing up these fact things as if they matter.

      • random

        Those 80k votes in three states happened in states where almost every single poll inside that state said she was going to come out ahead by a few points. It’s not comforting.

      • JMP

        Considering the demographics of Trump supporters, many of the people who made up that difference may no longer be alive in 2020.

    • Scott Lemieux

      then nobody can beat Trump

      Given that he needed the constant intervention of the FBI and a nearly perfect distribution of the minority vote to win, this obviously isn’t true. Clinton probably would have won had the election been held on most of the days of the campaign. The media coverage didn’t guarantee a Trump win — it made it close enough that he could draw an inside straight.

      • jeer9

        Love the poker-playing analogy. Good stuff.

      • jpgray

        Oh absolutely – if Comey’s last email grenade had been primed and defused before the last debate, instead of two days before the election, I think HRC would’ve won it. But the reason it was that close has to come down to the media, and I don’t see how we escape that trap.

        Screen candidates likely to get Gored? I don’t think that would work out very well in practice given how reactive the media can be to GOP frames without much run-up – witness 2004. They would have brutalized Bernie, no doubt.

        So it’s easy to be wrong deciding on that basis and more than that… who wants Chris Matthews’s leg and the thrills that run up it to decide anything?

        • ASV

          That sort of candidate screening also just isn’t practical. Electability is already something voters (and invisible primary participants) take into account, but “the press is going to propagandize candidate X into mush so let’s nominate candidate Y instead” isn’t likely to be persuasive to anyone not already persuaded.

    • random

      Next time ’round especially since Trump will be tied down to actual policy rather than vague generalities.

      I don’t see how this wouldn’t also require us to change the eyeballs-based media. And I certainly I don’t see any valid reason to believe that these goons are going to let us just vote them out in 4 years.

      • jpgray

        Because people blame presidents for things over which the president has no control. Witness 2012 vs. 2008 – every vague buzz of discomfort with “politics” and “government” is laid by the low-information voter at the feet of the big known targets: “both parties,” sure, but also specifically at the president. “Thanks Obama!” is funny because it’s true – even unprecedented obstruction from exactly one party was frequently blamed on him!

  • Brien Jackson

    I’ve been thinking a bit amongst the 24 hour fervor over the Trump surrogate claiming “facts don’t matter” that a) she’s right, and b) this, and Trump, are sort of the logical endpoint of the cablefication of the media for at least the last 8 years. The programming model of filling time with surrogates shouting at each other with no journalistic integrity and completely washing out any isolated attempts at real journalism have, indeed, made ours a fact-absent politics, especially in the mediasphere. It’s hardly a surprise that Trump was able to normalize himself in an atmosphere where his campaign people were completely able to counterbalance any neutral attempt to point out his ignorance, unfitness, fascism, whatever.

  • synykyl

    The news media were awful, and Clinton’s campaign might have been better, but the real problem is the American public. Collectively, we suck.

    • BartletForGallifrey

      No. Collectively, we’re fine. It’s when split up into states that we suck.

      • synykyl

        A public that prefers Hillary Clinton is better than one that prefers Donald Trump. But 46.4% voted for Trump, so I still say we suck. Besides, even in recent history, electing Trump is not the only awful thing we have done.

      • Origami Isopod

        We’d suck marginally less if we valued each voter’s vote the same, instead of letting those who inhabit massive, sparsely populated tracts of land punch above their weight.

  • Sebastian_h

    “This really should be the death of glib, sublimely confident arguments that changes in MESSAGING could have easily put Clinton over the top.”

    Your approach to this is entirely circular. You’re now arguing that because Trump got more coverage, Clinton’s bad messaging (or as you seem to suggesting messaging who knows if it is good or bad) couldn’t have been a factor in the election.

    Getting the media talking about your message is part of how messaging works and is a huge part of the job of a good politician.

    “This just isn’t true. Coverage of the 2012 campaign was, in fact, nothing like this.”

    Yes, and a good politician was running in the Democratic spot in 2012.

    You say that we can’t judge messaging until we see who loses, and that YOU can’t tell good from bad messaging.

    But then you turn right around and try to say that this proves that messaging wouldn’t have mattered. But by your same logic, it could just mean that she is horrible at messaging. The wheel goes round and round.

    And we haven’t even begun to talk about how much of that coverage was negative coverage–the news media has never been so clearly against a candidate as they were against Trump (which is entirely appropriate to be clear).

    A much better argument is that a big part of being a good electoral politician is using various techniques with the media to get your message out.

    Trump was very good at that. Clinton sucked at it.

    ADDITIONALLY, the news media is very much in infotainment mode. Trump saw that and leveraged it to his advantage.

    We absolutely should work to decrease the amount of infotainment that passes for news. But it isn’t news that infotainment is a thing.

    The problem with you using this as an indictment against ‘messaging’ it isn’t clear which way this evidence cuts on the question.

    • efgoldman

      the news media is very much in infotainment mode.

      Refuted your own argument. See, again, the long Moonves quotation above.
      If she danced naked on the Capitol steps, maybe she could sort of get the media to cover it. Negatively, of course.

      We absolutely should work to decrease the amount of infotainment that passes for news.

      If you don’t own a network or a newspaper/website, how?
      The right answer is to get in your time machine and go back to the 80s, and reinstate broadcast ownership and cross-ownership limitations.
      Which will happen at about the same time I get an NBA contract.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Trump was very good at that. Clinton sucked at it.

      ADDITIONALLY, the news media is very much in infotainment mode.

      But this doesn’t suggest that “messaging” was the key factor, it was that Trump was a reality tv star who consumed an enormous amount of media attention from the second he entered the race. Maybe every single Republican politician who ran against Trump is terrible at messaging too. But the vastly more plausible explanation is that Trump was always going to to consume an enormous amount of media attention and short of being a reality TV star yourself there’s not much else you can do.

      I’m also curious what “messaging” you think could have stopped the media covering the Comey letter like the Kardashian sisters were nude on Saturn. A speech favoring single-payer?

  • “This really should be the death of glib, sublimely confident arguments that changes in MESSAGING could have easily put Clinton over the top.”

    Your approach to this is entirely circular. You’re now arguing that because Trump got more coverage, Clinton’s bad messaging (or as you seem to suggesting messaging who knows if it is good or bad) couldn’t have been a factor in the election.

    Need I point out that denying that “changes in MESSAGING could have easily put Clinton over the top” is not the same thing as saying that “Clinton’s bad messaging […] couldn’t have been a factor in the election?”

    It is very easy to say she should have done this differently or that differently. We don’t know for sure what would have made a difference. But the idea that it was a simple and easy matter to decide what message would work in this environment, and, more importantly, to get it out in a context where there was virtually no media coverage of policy, is to indeed engage in “glib” reasoning.

    • Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste

      Engineers deal with this all the time.

      After a bridge fails, it’s (relatively) straight forward to identify the bolt that sheered and to order an inspection regime for analogous bolts in structurally related bridges.

      Much more difficult is the prospective work of designing bridges that are unlikely to sheer such bolts, without amplifying other modes of failure through ill advised tinkering.

      This is why I am disgusted by all the Monday Morning Quarterbacking we endure after elections, and especially all the hand grenades lobbed by those supposed leftists who sat out the election (when it might have made a difference) because their precious feelings were hurt.

      The most Left action anyone can take, in today’s environment, is to fight like Hell to keep the Republicans away from serous power. Yes yes yes the Democrats are boring and disappointing, but we can fix that over time – provided the Republicans are not given free reign to blow up the world.

    • ASV

      I agree. It’s amazing to me that marketing (and not just political marketing) still exists as a professional field given the millions of amateur experts always available to offer their skills.

  • Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste

    Just to belabour the obvious, none of this has anything to do with Clinton’s (alleged) status as a right wing stooge and a corporate whore sellout shill.

    Which detracts from the force of the argument, which we keep hearing, that this loss proves the Democratic Party to be hopelessly on the wrong track *AND* that Bernie would have won in a landslide had the DNC not conspired to defraud him of the nomination.

    Let us keep these lessons in mind for the next round, shall? No sense in endlessly reinventing the horse, the language, and the wheel.

    • jpgray

      Bernie GE would be really difficult to game out, but my feeling is that new but unexpected GOP frames would drive media coverage to crushing effect as in 2004, just as old and anticipated frames drove it this year.

      Whether Bernie would win or lose, or what the frames would be, I can’t really predict.

      “Soviet honeymoon something something stole electricity something never had a real job something something atheist something something commie,” maybe?

      • farin

        “Why is he so hostile to minorities?”

      • CrunchyFrog

        Given that the 2004 media happily went along with painting a 3x purple heart recipient as a draft dodger and the draft dodger as a military hero, I’m sure the 2016 media would have had no trouble at all convincing 51% of America that Bernie Sanders was something horribly worse than even Trump.

        The real question is why they didn’t go along with the right wing memes regarding Obama. I really think race is the issue here. The Washington media aren’t the frothing-at-the-mouth wingnut Nazis, they are the Brooks/Broder Republicans. “Just keep cutting our taxes and having fun bombing other countries for entertainment, but let’s all be civil about it and don’t be mean to our token minorities in our group – we need them to make us feel good about ourselves”. Sure, it’s okay to pile on about Gore or Kerry or the Clintons, but not the token black guy. Well, at least not in public.

        • Denverite

          I think it’s more that with the collapsing economy and the Iraq debacle still so fresh in everyone’s minds, those elephants were just to big to ignore. Also, Obama was a lot smarter than Kerry and Gore, and a lot more self-controlled than Clinton.

          • ASV

            Obama is also, to be blunt, the kind of cool, urbane guy that you would expect the world-weary nerds of the Washington press corps to fawn over. He’s an alpha but not an asshole; like, you don’t want to be a sycophant, but if you were, that would be the kind of guy you’d hope to be sycophanting for.

          • CrunchyFrog

            True, but they were nice about him for all 8 years. Even Dubya didn’t get that treatment. So it wasn’t just about the conditions of the country when he first ran.

            In 2012 the MSM ignored the BENGHAZI!!!! nonsense despite the GOP doing everything they could to push it. If that’s Clinton (either one) I’ll bet there would have been a half a dozen front page NY Times stories raising “clouds of doubt” on the topic in the weeks before the election.

            • Darkrose

              they were nice about him for all 8 years

              You must have been watching a different MSM than I was. Obama was described as detached, aloof, and even arrogant. More times than I can count he was insufficiently bipartisan. Oh, and he failed to lead.

          • Origami Isopod

            and a lot more self-controlled than Clinton.

            Clinton is plenty self-controlled. Your CDS is showing, as it’s been over the last week in other threads.

        • smott999

          Obama was the cool kid that they wanted to be like.
          The smart kid who was cool enough to show up late to class, sit in the back, and still get straight As.
          Clinton was the nerd girl who got to class early, sat up front, took notes and put up her hand first to answer questions correctly.
          They HATE that.

          They wanted Joe Cool.

          I’ll say it again : Dems need another media darling. That’s now obviously a huge part of the puzzle.

          • Denverite

            Obama was the cool kid that they wanted to be like.

            When my wife first met him (spring 2004 at a fundraiser at a bar in Lincoln Park), she immediately asked me if he was married. Fortunately, I had worked with people who knew Michelle pretty well, so I was able to dash those hopes and dreams real quick.

          • CrunchyFrog

            Dems need another media darling.

            Thinking of a 1980s comic series Dreadstar. Realizing they need to inspire the people in their fight with the galactic empire they create an android designed to do just that – right looks, right mannerisms, right slogans and catch-phrases.

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  • Bloix

    The first name you heard in the morning and last before going to bed was “Trump.” The clock radio clicked on at 6 – Trump. A morning TV show at 6:30 – Trump. Get in the car at 7:10 – Trump. Taking a flight? At the gate, a cable channel is on – Trump. You hear a talk program in a taxi – Trump. Turn on a late night comedy show – Trump.
    It was not a question of who had “more coverage.” Trump saturated the airwaves: the constant repetition of his name, image and voice went on month after month, round the clock.

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