Mainstream Media Does Some Soul-Searching in Light of Trump Win

By A.J. Katz 

The United States has a new president-elect this morning, and his name is Donald Trump.

There has already been a lot of head scratching and “Wednesday morning quarterbacking” from those in the mainstream news media, with many journalists and pollsters trying to understand “how we got it wrong,” and conclude that perhaps they’re simply out of touch with a large swath of America and the white working class’s collective frustration with government. Few in the mainstream media felt a Donald Trump victory in the electoral college was feasible coming into the night. There was also a good deal of talk by many journalists from mainstream news outlets about a broken Republican party as recently as in October. That obviously isn’t the case, considering the GOP not only won the presidency last night, but also kept their majority in the House and Senate. Here’s some of the chatter from this morning:

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times writes News Media Yet Again Misreads America’s Complex Pulse:

The news media by and large missed what was happening all around it, and it was the story of a lifetime. The numbers weren’t just a poor guide for election night — they were an off-ramp away from what was actually happening.
No one predicted a night like this — that Donald J. Trump would pull off a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton and win the presidency.

The misfire on Tuesday night was about a lot more than a failure in polling. It was a failure to capture the boiling anger of a large portion of the American electorate that feels left behind by a selective recovery, betrayed by trade deals that they see as threats to their jobs and disrespected by establishment Washington, Wall Street and the mainstream media.

The media didn’t want to believe Trump could win. So they looked the other way, writes Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan:

To put it bluntly, the media missed the story. In the end, a huge number of American voters wanted something different. And although these voters shouted and screamed it, most journalists just weren’t listening. They didn’t get it.

They didn’t get that the huge, enthusiastic crowds at Donald Trump’s rallies would really translate into that many votes. They couldn’t believe that the America they knew could embrace someone who mocked a disabled man, bragged about sexually assaulting women, and spouted misogyny, racism and anti-Semitism.

It would be too horrible. So, therefore, according to some kind of magical thinking, it couldn’t happen.

In his The Daily 202 column for the Washington Post, James Hohmann writes Why Trump won — and why the media missed it:

President-elect Donald Trump was right all along. He had a silent majority. The media, the pollsters and Republican elites never saw it – even though it was right in front of them the whole time.

Looking back, there is so much anecdotal evidence. All those guys at the bar in a hollowed out Ohio steel town who did not know a single Clinton supporter. The two dozen independents at a Pirates-Reds baseball game in Pittsburgh who talked how much they love Bill but loathe Hillary. The conservatives in rural Selma, North Carolina, who said they stayed home four years ago but would vote for Trump.

CNN’s Dylan Byers writes How politicians, pollsters and media missed Trump’s groundswell:

In a country where faith in government and trust in the media are already at historic lows — especially among Republicans — the failure of so-called experts to adequately account for the extremely high turnout of Trump supporters is likely to only fuel Americans’ opposition to the political-media establishment.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity reveled in his candidate’s victory, and predictably took to social media to go after mainstream news outlets: