Last year’s presidential election was one of the most controversial, with each party trying to find something to blame the results on. Often this blame falls on the media, but did it really have a substantial effect?
Kevin Lyons, news editor for the Northwest Herald, thinks so, but only to a point. He believes that most people were predisposed to voting a certain way. He said that what people watched, such as news channels, were picked because of which way they already fell in politics. For example, if someone was generally a liberal, they would be watching a more liberal station versus a conservative one.
Even though he thinks most people already had their mind made up, he still thought the media had an impact when it came to undecided voters. This group was likely the deciding factor in an election as close as this one.
He thinks that those who weren’t sure at first could’ve been swayed by what the media put out there and played up, especially when it came to the entertainment factor of Trump. He continued to say that the fault in Hillary’s campaign was that she wasn’t Trump, which may have not been enough for some people.
Overall though, he believed that the media only played a small part and most people were already going to vote a certain way. While this is very probable, not everyone thinks so. Some people I talked to think that it played a huge role.
It seems that even Trump thinks it was a big deal by constantly pointing out what he calls “dishonest media” when things were against him. Some of this media backlash by the man himself could be due to him not winning the popular vote and thinking that with liberal and dishonest media, people only saw the bad and voted against him. This could also be true.
Some voters also thought that there was way too much media in favor of liberal views, but this should be taken with a grain of salt as this area is typically conservative. Since it can’t really be measured, we don’t know exactly how much of an impact the media had on this election, but we do know there was definitely some.
As Kevin Lyons said, “The media always has an impact on presidential elections,” and how much differs by the individual.