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Blotting Out the Sun

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Last year, Charles Pierce wrote about being at a Trump campaign rally the day of James Comey’s Most Principled Act of Integritude:

The Comey story broke on a day in late October while I was driving through New Hampshire between a Trump event in Manchester and another one way out in the boonies, and I can tell you that the story blotted out the sun. By the time he got to the small mill town, everybody in the gym at the little Christian school knew so much about the Comey letter that Trump only had to make a head-fake toward it to get the crowd to bringing the roof down.

That moment turned the campaign for good. There’s no point in denying it. For more than 25 years now, it was the Times that wrote the Clinton Rules and brought them down the mountain as surely as Charlton Heston brought the tablets of the law down Mount Horeb. This is a great newspaper with people who do great work, but one that somehow leaves its greatness between the cushions of the sofa when it comes to dealing with one family in our politics. It’s truly weird.

And the 5 A1 stories in 2 days the Times wrote about the FBI finding some emails that were redundant and immaterial to an issue that would be a 1 day back-page story for any other candidate ever wasn’t even the best example of the sun-blotting. The level of coverage on cable news was astonishing. It won’t be a surprise, but Phillip Bump has some useful data on this:

In addition to the extraordinary quantity of coverage the Comey letter, another striking thing here is the evidence for the hack gap Dan discussed below. Fox News covered Trump’s admission of serial sexual assault less, but none of the 3 major news networks covered it much during this period, all all three networks gave the Wikileaks hacks and John Poesta’s incredibly boring inbox more coverage although Fox did hype them more. Also note that such fascinating stories as “what does Neera Tanden really think about David Brock?” and “what is John Podesta’s risotto technique?” got more coverage than a foreign country’s efforts to ratfuck the election. But the most remarkable finding of the study is that CNN did more Comey letter chicken-fucking than the Republican propaganda network, and MSNBC didn’t do a lot less. That’s a yooge advantage for Trump, and as things broke was probably an advantage that put him in the White House.

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