Media’s Role In The Election And During Trump’s Presidency

This election may have been good for the profits of conglomerates that own TV networks, including cable news networks,” says media critic Jeff Cohen. ”It wasn’t very good, in my view, for the electorate.” 

Michael Hayball

Lee Wilkins

Media have been skewered by an angry public for the past 18 months for the way they covered the presidential campaigns.

The truth is everything you knew about the candidates — good and bad — you knew because of the media. And yet media organizations must be open to the possibility that they could have done better, or focused on more important issues, or written stories differently.

What needs to change as media change gears from covering a campaign to covering a presidency?

Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson speaks with two prominent media critics about these questions. 

Jeff Cohen is a professor at Ithaca College and founder of FAIR, a national media watch group. He’s also a Detroiter who attended the University of Michigan.

U.S. elections are still dominated by one medium, in spite of the rise of social media. Television, in my view, is still the most important,” says Cohen. ”And television, in my view, performed horribly. There’s always coverage of the horse race and the gaffes and very little on policy.”

This election may have been good for the profits of conglomerates that own TV networks, including cable news networks,” he continues. ”It wasn’t very good, in my view, for the electorate.”

Henderson also speaks with Lee Wilkins, a professor and chair of the Department of Communications at Wayne State University.

There were some news organizations I thought did a fabulous job,” says Wilkins. “Among them were the New York Times and the Washington Post, who did what I consider to be in-depth, investigative, interpretive journalism about multiple candidates.”

One of the things that I think the Trump presidency is asking us to do as a profession is to stop doing the exclusive man-bites-dog news,” she continues, ”and to start looking at what are sort of the longer-term impacts or what are the things that are underneath the news?’

Click on the audio player above to listen to the entire conversation.

Image credit: Cheyna Roth/MPRN

This post is a part of 2016 Elections: Issues & Candidates.

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Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.  

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