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Media-Manufactured Horse Race Ultimately Gave Us Trump

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It’s hard to imagine that the 2016 Presidential race began just a year and a half ago. For many, the race carried on for what seemed like years. I followed every twist, turn, high and low. At times, the election season felt like a bad reality show that would see no end. But we were comforted by the belief that America would never elect Donald Trump, that come November, the national nightmare would be over. The outcome rendered me and 66 million other Americans completely shocked. How did Trump win? This race seemed so in the bag for Hillary. How did she lose this thing?
The truth is, there’s plenty of blame to go around for Clinton’s stunning loss. There’s Russia, the FBI, Wikileaks, Bernie, misogyny, John Podesta,  Anthony Weiner, Bill, Obama, and of course Clinton herself. All have a share of the blame. They all contributed to the shocking defeat. However, none of that would have mattered had the media not torn Clinton down to give us a horse race in a desperate need for ratings. Had the media covered Clinton accurately, this race would never have been close. None of the leaks or interference or political missteps would have mattered. Hillary would have easily walked away with this election and this country would be better off for it. The media and their desperate need for ratings manufactured a horse race and gave us Trump.
How do I come to this conclusion? How do I lay such blame on the media? Let’s look at the facts. When Hillary entered the race, she had a 52% favorable rating and only a 38% unfavorable rating.  She was well liked and respected. The democratic party was happy. Independents were happy. There was no fractious left. She was seen as experienced and qualified and the apparent heir to the democratic throne. She was the diligent warrior who put her “team” ahead of herself. She had done everything right. It was her time. She was the democratic “Queen in waiting”. But that’s a boring story. No one wants to tune into a coronation. It’s not exciting and it doesn’t bring in ratings. So the media turned on Clinton.
They turned on her by turning a bullshit story about emails into a criminal investigation, a witch hunt. They crucified Clinton. According to a study by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on media coverage, in all of 2015, Clinton received more negative coverage than any candidate running, Democrat or Republican. In fact, she only had one month the entire year in which she received more positive headlines than negative ones. Some months, an astounding 85 percent of her coverage was negative. The media went on and on about Hillary’s emails. Never once breaking from their destructive narrative. Never really explaining that the server was not illegal, that it was not unprecedented, that this was not nearly the first time government business had been handled this way. They never offered defenses to Republican narratives. They never explained that yes she had 13 devices…but not at one time. She used one device and switched it every few months & then followed security protocol and destroyed the old device. Facts didn’t matter. The narrative & horse race was what mattered. It was an easy story that got clicks and ratings. She was a liar, she was disliked, she couldn’t be trusted, she was secretive, she was above the law, she was calculating, she was nefarious. They shoved a negative message down our throats in a blatant attempt to tear Clinton down. For ratings, they had to. She crushed every single candidate running.
In contrast, corporate Media literally gave us Trump. They covered his every move. They fell at his feet. They chased him down every rabbit hole. They were absolutely obsessed with him? Why?? Because he gave them ratings. He brought millions of dollars into their struggling coffers. Budgets that had been in the red were suddenly dancing in the black. He was new and different and people ate him up. Who cared that he was dangerous? Who cared that he was tearing this country apart and pitting racial groups against one another? Who cared that he was a sexist, bigot? Who cared that he had no idea what he was doing or that every other statement out of his mouth was a lie? The media, who are supposed to be the 4th estate, who are supposed to protect us and hold people in power accountable, turned a complete blind eye to Trump out of a desperate thirst for money and ratings. The well-being of this country be damned.
By the time the nominations were clenched and the General election was beginning, the media had the horse race and narrative they wanted. This was the hate election. These were the 2 worst candidates ever. This was the “anybody-but-them” election. The racist and the criminal. The hold-your-nose-and-vote election. The gutter election. And even though most of it was untrue, the media steadfastly held onto the narrative they created. They falsely equated Clinton with every horrific thing Trump did. Every time Trump seemed to shoot himself in the foot, the media had to drag Clinton through the mud again.
Trump attacks a Gold-Star family and somehow Hillary’s emails come up. Trump calls for Hillary’s assassination and somehow the focus is still e-mails. Trump gets caught lying about his foundation and an entire week is spent on a made up story about donors to the Clinton Foundation that the AP retracts 2 weeks later. False equivalence after false equivalence all to maintain the race. To keep it close. They’d let Clinton get a little bit of a lead, and then suddenly they attack for a week and bring it back to par. They played fast and loose with the facts and never veered from their created narrative.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not think that journalists wanted Trump to win. I think most journalist were opposed to him. I think most media outlets were opposed to him. They appreciated the ratings he brought, but most found Trump dangerous. I think they simply believed Clinton would win in the end. But as they say, when you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned, and boy did we get burned. They played fast and loose with the facts and they gave us Trump. I hope their ratings and their manufactured horse race were worth it. They put greed and money ahead of the well-being of this country. They absolutely failed their intended purpose. They truly have blood on their hands.
Welcome to the 2017 Hunger Games! With him in the Oval Office and Republicans in control of every branch of government, may the odds truly be ever in your favor.

Thomas McAbee is one of the original members of Bros4Hillary and a Senior Advisor to Bros4America. Thoughts or comments about it? Contact Bros4America below.

Thomas McAbee was one of the original founding members of Bros4Hillary, and serves on the Bros4America Executive Board as a Senior Adviser. He is a political activist, commentator and business owner who currently lives in North Carolina.