Monday, September 05, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Laboring for Headlines (with Updates)

Labor Day being the traditional campaign kickoff, news media stories are laboring for hot contest headlines. Trump cuts into Clinton’s lead as crucial stretch begins screams the Politico headline.  But an NBC analysis shows that Trump isn't cutting into anything--Clinton's numbers have gone down slightly in some polls but Trump's have not gone up.

The Politico story correctly emphasizes the importance of the debates, which are scheduled to begin in late September.  But the WPost wonders whether the Donald will show up for all or any of them.  Though it seems Trump should be happy with at least one of the moderators.  Update: Trump said Monday that he will participate in all three debates.

One thing that is true is that Labor Day begins the most active campaigning, especially for Hillary who has devoted much of August to fundraising.  Good news for her fans in this Boston Globe report suggesting she's hitting her stride as a campaigner.  (Plus the latest state polls look good--an 8 pt.lead holding in PA, 4 points in North Carolina.)

But Josh Marshall continues to raise the alarm that coverage is disproportionate to the benefit of Trump (especially in the NY Times, he asserts.) See here and here. The Clinton Foundation gets scary coverage, but Trump's documented attempted (and apparently successful) bribe of a Florida official is pretty much ignored.

Later on Monday in the NYTimes, Paul Krugman agreed with this assessment, asserting that news media is pushing images of Clinton akin to how the media distorted Al Gore in 2000.

Reporters keep picking at the smallest oddities of the Clinton email investigation while missing the overall picture, which is--according to Kevin Drum:"... this report is pretty much an almost complete exoneration of Hillary Clinton. She wasn’t prohibited from using a personal device or a personal email account, and others at state did it routinely. She’s told the truth all along about why she did it. Colin Powell did indeed advise her about using personal email shortly after she took office, but she chose to follow the rules rather than skirt them, as Powell did. She didn’t take her BlackBerry into her office. She communicated with only a very select group of 13 people. She took no part in deciding which emails were personal before handing them over to State. She had nothing to do with erasing information on the PRN server. That was a screw-up on PRN’s end. She and her staff all believed at the time that they were careful not to conduct sensitive conversations over unclassified email systems. And there’s no evidence that her server was ever hacked."

But I have to say the media mis-coverage that fills me with the most despair isn't about the political race.  As I posted prominently--and as two British papers reported prominently--during President Obama's visit in China, the US and China announced they were both ratifying the Paris climate crisis agreement--so far the most significant international effort to save the planet.  But is that what the WPost chose to emphasize?  Naaaah.  An argument at the airport between minor Chinese officials and (significantly I suppose) the American press led the story: Obama’s China visit gets off to rocky start, reflecting current relations.  More evidence reflecting that we are indeed too stupid to live.

How about the Senate and the House?  WPost teases with a headline, though the actual story is a report about a few races with no answer to the question.  But Politico reports on races in Indiana and North Carolina and opines that the Dems chances of retaking the Senate "just keep getting better."

Monday pm updates: Why bother with a new post?  Trump makes a fool of himself--again--over that supposed snub in China.  But in more substantive news, the WPost reports: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are probing what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.

Finally, a capable summary of the state of electoral play on Labor Day from Ed Kilgore.  His assessment doesn't vary much from my earlier take on the conventional wisdom but he has more info.

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