I should absolutely say Prof.Kennedy’s six lectures are happening during a perfect timing with comprehensive presidential election and journalistic ethics discussion from a slightly different angle based on book. Of course during the six classes, he talked about a lot of cases containing ethic concerns, and of which, I think the media coverage of the presidential campaign is one of the most interesting topics, and also can be applied to my ethical coverage blog post few days ago.
People are stunned by the results that Trump won the election with a great advantage comparing to Clinton, while multiple news organizations had predicted that Clinton should won the election of a much higher chance. After the election, not only American media became the main target of sending the blames attributing unequal coverage of the two candidates regarding the results by people, mainly Clinton’s supporters. Even foreign media commentators, like Chinese media practitioners, have written tons of articles criticizing American media’s missteps in a society which has been claimed media have high degree of freedom of speech.
Media does play a huge role in the whole election period, and yes, there are a lot of failures that American main stream media has made on covering the election which directly and indirectly cause foreign media doing the same thing – because the sources are borrowed and translated here and there. As we discussed in the class that we do think media has failed in a lot of ways: like Prof.Kennedy said in his piece on WGBH that he recommended us to read, that television executives, especially those in cable news, gave Trump way too much unfiltered airtime early on in the mistaken belief that they could use his celebrity to drive up ratings without having to worry that people would actually vote for him(Kennedy). Personally speaking, I pretty much agree that media indeed provided a false equivalence between the actions of Trump and Clinton, from my experience of engaging with both Chinese and America media on covering the election: both countries have a lot more coverage of Trump’s scandals, but on the contrary, much less political coverage for Clinton – the U.S. citizens would rather vote for a bomb-thrower, who is a total political outsider making bold political plans and speeches, than continue with the status quo. Yes, I do believe because media didn’t keep a good balance of the two candidates, both the quantity and contents of coverage, which result in such a post-election social turbulence – look at all those anti-Trump protests in universities and major cities in the U.S., and all those videos and speculations of the possibility of Trump’s impeachment – if the media can keep a better balance on the coverage and fair polling of the election, I don’t think Clinton’s supporters would be in such great anger.
As Clinton and Trump are often known as the least favorable nominees in the U.S. presidential electoral history, the misstep of the coverage of these two unique candidates doesn’t give a surprising result of Trump’s victory, while it is not all media’s faults. But considering media as the primary source of people getting information from, media practitioners, as well as we future journalists, should really reflect on this presidential campaign and post-election protests and disputes going on right now. Trump’s victory, political administration shifts and controversies are certainly journalistic outliners but it’s the time for the journalists to draw all those missteps this time and correct the way of covering political issues next time, as Prof.Kennedy said, “Unlike the weather, you can do something about the media.” (Kennedy)
Kennedy, Dan. “Yes, The Media Could Have Done Better. But No, They Are Not To Blame For Trump’s Victory.” WGBH, 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016