The people of the United States and the rest of the globe have relied on the media to deliver accurate, unbiased, and robust analyses on the US Presidential elections. Unfortunately, political polarisation has also affected the angles of storytelling and the perspectives portrayed by the media. The media in the USA has become blatantly partisan and unfavorably biased to the extent that contexts, outlooks, and beliefs are besmirched by the myopia, silence, and doublespeak disseminated by the media.
The U.S. 2020 election is a pointer to the fact that the United States is not immune to the malaise that has troubled global media houses. The Media houses like CNN, Washington Post, and their counterparts have stretched distrust in recent polls and reports by enacting a single story of President Donald Trump, while also showing the people and the rest of the world, the empathic and resplendent side of President-Elect Joe Biden. The US media has created deceptive messages deliberately or unconsciously to the detriment of the Trump candidacy. The danger of media bias is that it spreads incomplete and inaccurate information that impedes a broad discourse, and disallows for a fully informed choice based on the wide berth of available perspectives and dispositions.
Donald Trump earlier lamented the media reports by CNN with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated on his Twitter handle that ‘Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the coronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.’ A Pew survey conducted in March also revealed that 62 percent of respondents stated that the news media had exaggerated the risks from COVID-19 virus.
The 2020 election polls has so far shown a significant margin between the contenders. Joe Biden had a total of 78, 975, 825 votes, while Trump followed with 73, 288, 034 votes. Although Trump was able to win three of the four biggest battleground states which are Texas, Florida, and Ohio; Biden won in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The results reveal that more than 47 percent of Americans voted Donald Trump. The vote for Trump couldn’t have been about die-hard supporters who just wanted him back in the White House as some media houses claim. The consistent support of Trump by 47 percent of the voters shows he made some laudable achievements during his four-year administration.
Donald Trump has been praised for his intervention in the freedom of economic enterprise, especially as regards the change in tax code. This was the largest overhaul made in the last 33 years. This led to the highest drop in the proportion of GDP which saw a slash in corporate tax rate from 21% unlike the one implemented by Obama which peaked at 35%. According to the OECD, the U.S. tax-to-GDP ratio fell from 26.8% to 24.3% between 2017 to 2018, while corporate tax revenues fell by 7%, alongside personal income tax revenues that dropped by 5%. This clearly shows that businesses thrived without the burden of over-taxation under the Trump administration.
Donald Trump also represented fundamental issues in American history that was not the core philosophy for liberal democrats. He approved the anti-abortion restrictions on U.S foreign health aid. The policy prohibited U.S funding of any family-planning groups who performed abortions. It also prohibited recipients from lobbying for liberalization of abortion laws; including non-governmental organizations who made educational materials on abortion as a family-planning method. Apart from cases related to rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, the policy prohibited health workers from referring patients for legal abortions. The restrictions stifled indirect funding for abortion which was in contrast to the Obama era that approved the abortion funding policy.
Besides, Donald Trump represented core moral values of heterosexuality. He defended and promoted America’s constitutional rights to religious freedom. He also reversed Obama’s administration policy to ensure that houses of worship receive the Disaster Aid. Religious groups were brought back to the fold as critical participants in policy-making process. These were some of the values that represented his administration and gained the approval of his supporters. But the successes of Trump’s administration were not taken into consideration by majority of the Media houses. They successfully bolstered the support base of President-Elect Joe Biden and drove prevalent issues that pitched President Donald Trump as a clueless, dictatorial President. The media centered on Trump’s alleged character and his reported weak management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues critical to American life were ignored.
On the contrary, Donald Trump seems to be the only President of the USA who began to advance a socioeconomic policy as a well as the diplomatic policy that asserted ‘America First’, as against trying to please international organisations and global market collaborations through policies that were at the detriment of the country. The media showcased this as a weakening of the global powers of the USA.
The American media and some Media houses across the continent continue to pursue sectarian interests. This is not an acceptable form of the press in a democracy. There is the need to rise beyond such a desperate, unprofessional position so as to present a broad and fair superstructure for the entire populace. The media’s refusal to provide context for news reports would lead to the spread of dangerous misinformation or inciteful misrepresentations. While many media houses rely on reportage as against critical analysis, it is important to note that media bias is seen not only in what is reported, but also in what is under-reported or silenced.
Photo Credit: New York Times