Browsing the various news websites online has become an arduous task in 2016. Watching news stations on TV is even more unpalatable. Trying to stay informed is important, but a very fine line has developed between awareness of current issues and receiving the massive media spin on everything. Has 2016 really been that bad a year for the world? No, but I believe we’re not only becoming far more aware of the terrible things, but also fascinated by them. For the majority of Americans, their news comes through their preferred syndicated source’s filter, as they are simply being spoon-fed whatever that news station decides is important that day.
The news media has power, but it might have more than it should. With regard to the current political climate, the relationship between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and virtually all of the major news outlets — barring Fox News Channel — has been worse than most relationships any of us will have to endure in our lives. The almost-daily dialogue between Trump and certain papers (The New York Times and The Washington Post being his favorite targets) has approached comical levels of bickering and squabbling. And all for what? I understand Trump’s political tactic of always trying to stay in the news cycle; in fact, I think it’s a brilliant way to obtain massive amounts of free publicity and TV time. But at this point in the election, isn’t it time to take on a more traditional (i.e., proven to work) approach? One with less yelling of absurdities and provocative late-night tweets?
No. From the original conception of Trump’s presidential run, the “rule book” for how to properly run a campaign was heaved out the window, so what makes people think he’s going to suddenly change things now? Although I do not think this part is intentional, I do believe the vast majority of the media worldwide is avidly against Trump. It’s quite obvious, actually. But I do not believe this will have any negative effect on Trump’s chances of winning. In fact, I think it just might help him.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald compared the Trump-vs.-the-media battle to Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union. Greenwald stated, “the mistake the U.K. media and U.K. elites made with Brexit is the exact same one that the U.S. media and U.S. elites are making about Trump.” Greenwald described the pre-Brexit vote climate as the media and elites simply “reinforced each other” and only really talked among themselves and those who agreed with them. What resulted was the appearance of an obvious “stay” vote, since virtually every media outlet and famous person was for it. The reality, however, turned out to be just the opposite once the people hit the booths. Both British and global media were shocked by such an outcome. If the entire media feels one way, that means most regular citizens do too, right? Wrong.
I agree with Greenwald when he says those voting for Trump in November do not care about any media spin against him. The media can keep showing poll after poll with Clinton ahead of Trump, but they are only deceiving themselves and maybe a few other people who place all their faith in mainstream media. I cannot say who will win in November, as this election has proved me wrong a multitude of times, and I have given up trying to predict anything. But doesn’t it feel wonderful to know that this dumpster fire is almost put out?
Donald Trump is the ultimate political wild card and I would not be surprised at all if, just like Brexit back in June, the world the media sees and the world the regular people see prove to be vastly different.
Andrew Hall is a UF business administration junior. His column appears on Fridays.