The media’s power has never been more evident than during the 2016 election season. The race for the presidential office has been notably different than previous elections. The coverage of presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been especially troublesome.The businessman has been a combative figure in the media. The coverage of his campaign has been closer to an advertisement for a new trashy, reality television show than reliable coverage of the candidates and their policy proposals. The coverage of Trump has been very soft, and many reporters have not pressed the candidate on his controversial stances. However, the first week of June 2016, the media seems to have turned a corner on its coverage of Trump.
The Republican national convention is just over a month away and the first week of June represents the first time in Trump’s campaign coverage that the media began holding him to task for his statements. It is the first time since the candidate went from potential comedy gold to the presumptive nominee that the press has suddenly remembered how to do its job. The first instance was during a press conference where the businessman was defending claims that he had raised $6 million dollars for military veterans including $1 million of his money. The media investigated his claims and found no records supporting his statements. Reporters pushed Trump on the issue to the point that he finally donated $1 million to a charity only after pressure from the media, “The Washington Post” reported.
The list of what the media has let Trump get away with has gotten to be too long to transcribe. It was shocking that his refusal to show his tax returns did not garner any strong reaction from the press. Since the self-proclaimed billionaire has made a point throughout his campaign to talk about his finances as a point of differentiation between he and his opponents. Other candidates in the past have not gotten off so lightly with making statements and claims that are not supported by any facts. Now the media is slowly beginning to push the candidate on his statements. The candidate has repeatedly made racists comments, and his speaking events have turned into dangerous and threatening places for those opposed him. However, his recent statements about an American federal judge of Mexican heritage not being able to do his job because of his ethnicity finally got some pushback from the press. Of course, the real estate mogul has never answered a question directly. In an interview with Jack Trapper on CNN, Trump was continuously pressed regarding his statements that a Mexican judge could not try his case. His response was embarrassing as he continually repeated his plan to build a wall on the southern border of the U.S. as being motivation for the judge to treat him unfairly. If irony was a word in the Republican candidate’s vocabulary, he might have been able to hear himself and recognize how the policies he is proposing his unfair to most of the country he hopes to lead.
As the party conventions near, Trump is gaining more support among the Republican party despite his continued negative tactics. “The Washington Post” published a story headlined: It’s official: The GOP is now the Party of Trump. Since Trump can be likened to a racist, misogynist, sexist and a liar; then can the GOP be described in the same manner for either being supporters or pacifists in not opposing the new face of the GOP? The next turning point in the media should begin to show how broken the Republican party has become, and not just because Trump has pulled down their mask.
It is ironic that an outsider candidate like Trump won support because his followers believe he will change a broken system. However, what seems to have happened is that he revealed how the political system is more like a season of “The House of Cards,” where political favor can always be purchased either financially or with promises of power. There has to be a turning point where the public and the media can not only say that politicians are playing politics, but that the ideals their candidate believes are the same ideals they want to see upheld in policies and agendas that shape a diverse nation.
By Gichele Cocrelle
The Washington Post: The Media Have Reached a Turning Point in Covering Donald Trump; He May Not Survive It
The Wall Street Journal: Trump says Judge’s Mexican Heritage Presents ‘Absolute Conflict’
Real Clear Politics: Reid Rips “Spineless” McConnell Republicans for refusing to condemn Trumps “Racism”
Time: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Tangle Over His Veterans Donations
Top and Featured Photo By Ed! at English Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Photo Courtesy of Nathanmac87’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License