Election 2016: Mainstream media proved itself disconnected
Something happened to the vaunted mainstream media world of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Peter Jennings on the “Road to the White House” in 2016: it became irrelevant. Dan Gainor of Media Research Center says it has been replaced by social media.
“People trust what is referred to them on Facebook by friends and family a lot more than they trust traditional media,” he begins.
Even his opponents were forced to admit that Donald Trump had such a large Twitter following that he was able to control the message about his campaign despite being the target of an admittedly hostile media.
Gainor says this may have been the first truly digital-age election, but it won’t be the last. “It will be a new era dawning four years from now,” he offers. “This is a rapidly moving field. Twitter just had its tenth anniversary. Facebook a little bit before that.”
And when The New York Times and other major media outlets decided they were so important that they just simply could not, in good conscience, cover this election fairly, Gainor says they failed to see that they were shouting into the empty space left when their former audiences fled to the new digital frontier.
“The new reality is we’re divided up in a way mass media no longer means the ‘masses’ it used to,” he explains. “And the major media, that means they’re not the ones in charge of what we think.”
The Times was roundly criticized by conservative media watchers following its public confession about its plan to report on Trump unfairly. But was “The Gray Lady” listening? Late Friday, NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger wrote a letter to readers in which he implied the newspaper was changing direction – he used the phrase “turned on a dime” – and rededicating itself to “report America and world honestly, without fear or favor ….”
According to Joe Concha at The Hill, a review of the NYT’s website on Sunday proved that declaration “to be hilariously hollow”:
“… When it’s impossible to find one headline out of 19 on the [New York Times‘] homepage that can be deemed positive [about Trump], that shows without ambiguity the Times has no plans to be remotely balanced any time soon.”