US Election coverage

November 9th 2016

Parts of the traditional media in the UK and US should be worried.

Nearly 60 million Americans have just voted for Donald Trump as President. He has won on an anti-establishment platform. His victory reflects a deep dissatisfaction felt by very many people in both the UK and US that politicians and the wider establishment do not reflect their concerns or their interests. In short, established people in positions of influence and power have become increasingly privileged, rich, self-absorbed and insensitive to what life is like for many voters.

Whatever you think of Donald Trump’s campaign, the overall tone of coverage of the US elections from much of the main stream media has shed much more heat than light on what has been happening. More time has been given to reaction to the controversial things he has said than to searching out why he has been gaining so much support.  

Even on November 9th – the morning his victory was announced in the UK - the papers, printed before the final outcome was known, leant in the direction of a Clinton victory. Out of date pictures revealed that assumption. The Guardian led on a picture of Hilary Clinton looking pleased. The BBC’s Today programme managed to drum up only one pro-Trump voice on the day he won the Presidency. It felt as though the producers were ill prepared for a Clinton defeat. Hilary Clinton’s request that everyone should approach the new President with an Open Mind, seemed to fall on deaf ears. Papers around the world were high on emotion and low on explanation.

If you were a Trump voter, you could be forgiven for thinking that much of the main stream media was all too keen to cover the outrage and offence - often voiced by establishment figures - and gave too little time to searching out why Trump’s campaign garnered such a surprising amount of support.

In light of the result, we need to work harder to find ways to reflect and debate the views of so many voters who are fed up and want change.

Jerry Timmins

Managing Director, GMT Media Ltd