Are the media repeating the same mistakes as in 2016?

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We have been telling you for a few days: we are in the last sprint of the presidential campaign. With their eyes riveted on the polls, several observers, still marked by the surprise victory of 2016, hesitate to commit.

Joe Biden enjoys a stable lead nationally, and the gap between him and Donald Trump in a few key states is beyond the margin for error. So, why not venture out to predict a Democrat victory? Just like in 2016, there are fears that the president’s supporters are under-represented in the polls’ samples and – not to be neglected – there are concerns that the media coverage will mislead us.

In a text published on The AtlanticJames Fallows is concerned that the media has never adjusted to the Trump phenomenon. This president is unlike any other in the history of the United States, and he uses media channels better than anyone to serve his cause.

Despite apparent bias, almost all media are keen to allow both camps to express themselves. We give comparable airtime or a number of articles to Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The latter exploits this situation well.

While it is true that we want to achieve a balance, the trap for the media is to give as much importance to the lies of the president as to news or announcements worthy of the name. For more than three years now, it’s groundhog day. Donald Trump chirps or chirps on nonsense or conspiracy theories and everyone in the media is getting carried away.

The temptation is strong (I know something about it) to report all the unacceptable remarks of this president, but, in doing so, American journalists contribute to the promotion of this candidate and waste considerable resources which one could invest in journalism investigation. A journalism which would make it possible to flush out the real designs of this administration. Stunned by the rudeness of the words and the parallel world in which Donald Trump seems to operate, we are guilty of negligence.

Viewing and studying the president’s diversionary attempts sometimes gives journalists the impression of objectivity. To present a fanciful Donald Trump denial on the same footing as a verifiable fact is unhealthy. When the current tenant of the White House trumpets nonsense, they must be treated for what they are and not as a valid answer or a real option.

Because Donald Trump is generally associated with the right in the United States, any criticism leveled at him is often associated with this option. How many times have I read, in the comments of his supporters, that I must necessarily be on the left since I dared to expose on my blog the lack of logic in his argument?

A falsehood is not left or right, it is just that: a falsehood. No matter how hard I make an effort, no one, among the Democrats or on the left, conveys as many inconsistencies or enormities as the current president. I can evoke the influence of the “woke” movement, the hold of a radical left on the Democratic Party or the violent gestures of demonstrators linked to antifa, we are still far from the account by comparing this to the abyssal stupidity of the allegations of Donald Trump. There are limits to denying reality …

The president is well acquainted with the functioning of the media and he relies on this indirect complicity to dominate all information cycles. Will journalists continue to play his game? Will the strategy remain effective?

For the moment Donald Trump is not changing his approach and the media are reproducing their behavior from the last election. The president is omnipresent and any far-fetched statement is considered news. Even his most recent, where California will extricate itself from the fires that are ravaging the state because the climate will eventually cool.

One element, in my opinion, can be a game-changer, even if the media do not correct the situation: voter fatigue. The president’s hard core will follow him blindly until the end, but it is quite likely that a considerable number of Americans will feel great weariness over the repetition of the script.

For my part, I would like to focus a little more on the basic issues and on the Republican and Democratic platforms. Sadly, the Republican agenda comes second behind the controversial figure. We are for or against Trump, but what ideas do we support? Focusing everything on Trump’s one person also distracts strategists and journalists from another important task: exposing Democratic divisions and the shortcomings of certain Biden options.

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