With Election Day less than two weeks away, corporate media are making a full-court press to drag former Vice President Joe Biden across the finish line. By hook or by crook, the nation’s journalists intend to ensure that the Democratic presidential candidate is victorious in November. As part of its mission, the Fourth Estate is publishing headline after headline supporting Biden while throwing jabs at President Donald Trump. But are they making the same mistake they did in 2016?
Polls, Polls, and More Polls
A close look at the reportage coming from establishment media outlets reveals two distinct trends: hyperfocus on polls and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has plagued the Trump administration since earlier this year. Left-leaning media outlets prominently feature polls demonstrating that Biden is trouncing Trump, especially in key states. A cursory look at The New York Times front page, for example, shows headlines emphasizing the near inevitability of a Biden victory:
“Trump Heads to Pennsylvania, a Key State Where He Is Trailing”
“Voters Prefer Biden Over Trump on Almost All Major Issues, Poll Shows”
It is the same with other high-profile left-leaning media outlets. Journalists clearly want their audiences to believe that Trump doesn’t stand much of a chance of winning re-election. And the remainder of their reporting consists of brazen attacks on President Trump
This Just In: Orange Man Bad!
The establishment media seem to be set on using their platform to drum up any scandal to afflict the Trump administration. CNN recently published a piece detailing every time the president stated that the coronavirus will “disappear.” Other outlets have published similar pieces, using the pandemic as a political attack against the president.
USA Today, which has never endorsed a presidential candidate, recently announced that its editorial board is backing Biden. “We don’t do this eagerly,” said editorial page editor Bill Sternberg. “We hope we don’t have to do it again, but it seems like one of those break-glass moments where there’s a clear and present danger and there’s a clear choice.”
News organizations like MSNBC also have used an all-too-familiar attack: accusing Trump and the GOP of voter suppression. The outlet published a report titled “How the GOP’s voter suppression attempts have backfired on Trump,” in which it simultaneously claims that the GOP is suppressing black votes while black Americans are voting early in record numbers.
These are only a small sampling of the myriad reports specifically designed to criticize the president and the Republican Party. It seems that, at this point, the establishment media have thrown off all pretense of objectivity and are actively campaigning on behalf of Joe Biden.
Are the Media Repeating Their 2016 Mistakes?
The overemphasis on Biden-friendly polling is the same failed tactic the corporate press used in 2016, when it went overboard in selling Hillary Clinton as the obvious victor. Many have pointed out that the 2020 polling is very similar to 2016’s — and we all know how that turned out, don’t we?
Voter turnout in 2016 was at its lowest point in 20 years. Some of this drop was attributed to lack of enthusiasm for either candidate. But it is also worth pointing out that nobody expected a Trump presidency to materialize. Clinton was perceived as a sure thing largely due based the polls.
Given the fact that voter enthusiasm for Biden is far lower than for Trump, is it possible that the Fourth Estate has failed to learn from its egregious miscalculation during the last presidential election? After all, Biden’s campaign has repeatedly warned that the polls showing him to be leading Trump by double digits are erroneous. Perhaps it knows something we don’t.
The media have also published stories acknowledging that the two candidates are in a dead heat in states like North Carolina and Arizona. It seems they are banking on the possibility that Democrats want Trump out of office so badly that fixating on the polls won’t deter voters but give them hope. It is a gamble, for sure. But one thing can be certain, at this point, the race could go either way.
Read more from Jeff Charles.