Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New study is a Powerful Indictment of the Media’s Role in Donald Trump’s Rise

I've written repeatedly — and self-righteously — about my belief that ascribing the rise of Donald Trump in the Republican primary race to media complicity is ridiculous. And I believed every word.
But, a new study by Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University casts serious doubts on my position as it documents not only the outsized coverage Trump received — from TV and digital media — in the early days of his campaign but also how overwhelmingly positive that coverage was.
Let's go through a few of the most important findings from the study, which is based on "an analysis of thousands of news statements by CBS, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post" during 2015.
First, it notes that Trump received considerable media coverage during 2015 despite the fact that he was neither a leader in polls or in the fundraising chase — two indicators of uneven media coverage of candidates in past races, according to the Shorenstein study. As the study reports:
When his news coverage began to shoot up, [Trump] was not high in the trial-heat polls and had raised almost no money. Upon entering the race, he stood much taller in the news than he stood in the polls. By the end of the invisible primary, he was high enough in the polls to get the coverage expected of a frontrunner. But he was lifted to that height by an unprecedented amount of free media.
That analysis offers a direct correlation between the amount of media attention Trump received in the early days of the race with his ability to rise in the polls. And not only that. It also puts a price tag on just how much Trump's free media attention was worth to his campaign — and how it compared with the free media his rivals received.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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