Media bias and Donald Trump

A couple of belated points I wanted to make about the coverage of the Trump rally.

1) A whole bunch of my liberal friends shared a link to this Rachel Maddow report that basically implied Trump just couldn’t handle all the protesters and gave up when he couldn’t take it any more.  Just so wrong.  As I mentioned in my original post, clearly Trump and the audience were reveling in the protesters.  While it is noteworthy for a presidential candidate to face so many protesters during a speech, to suggest poor Trump just couldn’t take was a complete (and seemingly willful) misreading of the situation.  Interestingly, I was at the kids’ dentist today (turned out he saw me there and he definitely had to make clear he was there out of curiosity rather than a Trump supporter) and he brought up on his own how much Trump clearly enjoyed the protesters.

No doubt Maddow is smart as hell an far smarter than the typical conservative blowhard, but on some level she’s just the opposite side of the same coin, which is why I’ve never really been a fan.  Her shtick is as much about making liberals feel good about their “team” as it is educating her audience.  (On a side note, Steve Benen who runs her blog is terrific, but I don’t read him so much now that that is his home base).

2) The NYT report was also very much about the number of protests:

“Why didn’t you take them out the nearest door instead of walking them through the whole place?” a clearly annoyed Mr. Trump said.

Other incidents were less peaceful. A man with his hair pulled back into a bun and sporting a scraggly beard began shouting loudly, peppering accusations of fascism with profanity. He was forcefully shoved into a metal barrier by a Trump supporter, before officers quickly grabbed the shouter and escorted him out.

At first, the supporters in the crowd of more than 7,000 – drastically outnumbering those protesting – seemed on guard, ready to defend their candidate with shouts, shoves and boos, or, their favorite tactic, blocking demonstrators’ faces and bodies with numerous “Trump” campaign signs.

But by the end of the rally, they seemed simply annoyed. One man, clad in a checkered peacoat, started shouting, “Love, not hate! We’re not a fascist country!” People around him glanced at him, one woman nearby saying, “Shut up, dude,” as he got through about four rounds of his chant. Eventually, a guard grabbed him by the arm and pulled him through the crowd. People just stared at him as he went by.

The protests appeared to wear on Mr. Trump.

Again, totally at odds with my sense.  But I will tell you how this is a classic case of media bias and it has nothing to do with Trump or ideology.  The media is hugely biased in favor of conflict.  Trump going to Raleigh and saying the same things he always does is just not that interesting or newsworthy.  A whole bunch of protesters getting thrown out of a single rally is new and different an, of course, hugely conflictual– even if, in reality, Trump loved it.  The NYT reporter was in now way out to get Trump due to ideology, but that’s how it will surely come across to many.  But this is a great example of the real bias– negativity, conflict, and the novel, not ideology.


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