The profound effect of media on the election

Antonio Pequeño IV, Staff Writer

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The 2016 presidential election stands alone in comparison to cycles of years passed. From the primaries to election night, this race had everything from mudslinging and flurries of memes to allegations and divisive scandals.

No matter who you supported or how involved you were, this election was exhausting in every way possible. It seemed as soon as we digested one piece of information, we were immediately forcefed the next big development in election news.

The facilitating force behind the distribution of said news developments can be attributed to nearly every facet of media there is, whether it be print, television, radio or internet. With that said, it raises the question, what influence did media have on the way people interacted with the presidential race?

It’s important to recognize just how much significance the internet plays in everything. Unless you take actions to prevent it, the internet tracks you. It tracks every search, video watched and purchase made, down to every last click.

What’s crucial to understand is that internet tracking leads to curation of content that will be more interesting to you as a result of gathering your digital information. Chances are, if you’ve engaged with democratically affiliated pages on Facebook, your feed will be primarily filled with posts that contain things you support or agree with.

Because of this, the average user tends to live within an isolated digital area, resulting in them rarely seeing ideas or candidates that oppose their personal views. This, in a way, is the internet’s version of tuning into certain cable news networks to hear a more liberal or conservative bias.

In effect, when people lack the practice of engaging the other side of the political spectrum, vulgar arguments often spawn and the divisive gap between people widens.

Another distinct part of this presidential race was the appeal to emotion and the stunning, end result. As expected, every outlet of media is destined to shoot the story that evokes interest from consumers.

Most of the elite media focused their coverage on Trump and Clinton’s controversial faults. Correspondingly, it became more and more common for people to abandon a large portion of their ideology and choose their preferred side based on how the media portrayed each candidate.

With media becoming so heavily invested in controversial headlines of our candidates, they allocated much less airtime and attention to addressing the idea of a possible Trump presidency.

Most networks were initially telling viewers the high probability of a Clinton victory but barely touching on the possibility of a Trump upset. The combination of pollster predictions and media networks taking those predictions as near-facts, aided in the magnitude of shock that accompanied Trump’s winning of the presidency.

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