The upset might have been stunning, as most headlines tomorrow would say, but the media willingly ignored the strong undercurrent in favour of Donald J Trump and stuck its head out for Hillary Clinton. Trump had always cautioned his supporters: Don’t believe everything that they write about me. Agreed, he is full of contradictions, a misogynist and a xenophobe, but does it warrant for the media to adopt a partisan approach at a time when the country was deeply divided?
The US media traditionally endorses either of the two candidates running for president. But the divisive role played by the media in this election campaign meant that an endorsement turned into a fixation. Most media houses today will find it hard to come to terms with the result as newsrooms across the US would watch Trump’s victory speech in stunned silence.
Their headlines were loaded, reports from the ground were tilted heavily in favour of one candidate as they ironed the wrinkles and smoothed the edges. The collective will of the nation’s media failed to stop Trump from storming the Oval Office. Other than a few right-wing fringe media outlets, it is hard to pinpoint one media house that reported things as they were. Had they put their ear to the ground and listened to the voices, they wouldn’t have spectacularly got their predictions wrong.
If Brexit had taught media one thing, then it is that popular opinion is alive only in the bubble they live in. What they had failed to gauge is that America has voted against immigration, gender equality, affordable health care and raising the minimum wage. This vote is not for Trump. It is for what he stands for. It won’t resurrect the Klu Klux Klan, but will certainly embolden white supremacists. It will usher in a new wave of hatred and fear. Trumps’ efforts at polarising the electorate have fructified, with the white population voting in droves for his promise of building a wall and bombing countries that refuse to accept his proposals.
The Huffington Post carried a disclaimer at the end of every article, urging its readers to vote against Trump as he is a serial liar who incites violence. Now, they have removed the message in “respect” to the President’s office. They offered him a clean slate. It is time for the rest to fall in line and reset their counters to zero.