Bibliography of Articles on the MSNM’s Trumpfail

The unanticipated victory of Trump has left the MSNM in something of a quandary. Their scarcely concealed advocacy for Clinton, and contempt for Trump, for his supporters, even for pundits expressed the heretical speculation that he “might” win, have combined to produce the  spectacular shift from 85% odds in favor of Clinton (NYT) to 95% in favor of Trump in little more than 2 hours, once real returns started coming in Tuesday night.

In addition to the immense consternation Trump’s victory has caused, it has also produced some interesting introspection and self-criticism on the part of at least some journalists. Below is a preliminary collection of the articles that engage in this auto-critique. I welcome other suggestions, and annotations/comments on the articles themselves. Eventually, I’d like to compare the media failure with reporting the US Elections to their failure with reporting the Middle East conflict: the same “liberal” advocacy, narrative-driven reporting that ignored realities on the ground.

Brian Beutly, “Shame on Us, the American Press,” The New Republic, November 8, 2016.

Michael Cieply, “Stunned By Trump, The New York Times Finds Time For Some Soul-Searching,” Deadline Hollywood, November 10, 2016. Cieply worked for the NYT and has interesting things about the culture at the Times:

It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”

The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.”

Will Rahn, “Commentary: The unbearable smugness of the press,” CBS News, November 10, 2016.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.

This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’d be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

Tiffany Gabbay, “A Rebuke to the Media From Joe Scarborough,” Truth Revolt, November 11, 2016

When Mark Halperin suggested that there was a pathway for Donald Trump as president of the United States, I won’t name names because so many of them are my friends and there’s no need to name names now because the time for recrimination is over. But reporters at some of the best newspapers in the world, anchors at some of the best networks in the world, mocked and ridiculed — Mark Halperin, I want you to think about this. They mocked and ridiculed him not for saying that Donald Trump is going to be elected president of the United States. They mocked and ridiculed him for saying there was a slight chance that Donald Trump could be elected president of the United States.

Michael Goodman, “New York Times: We Blew it on Trump,”  NY Daily News, November 11, 2016

Had the paper actually been fair to both candidates, it wouldn’t need to rededicate itself to honest reporting. And it wouldn’t have been totally blindsided by Trump’s victory.

Instead, because it demonized Trump from start to finish, it failed to realize he was onto something. And because the paper decided that Trump’s supporters were a rabble of racist rednecks and homophobes, it didn’t have a clue about what was happening in the lives of the Americans who elected the new president…

As media columnist Jim Rutenberg put it in August, most Times reporters saw Trump “as an abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate” and thus couldn’t be even-handed.

That wasn’t one reporter talking — it was policy. The standards, developed over decades to force reporters and editors to be fair and to build public trust, were effectively eliminated as too restrictive for the Trump phenomenon.

The man responsible for that rash decision, top editor Dean Baquet, later said the Rutenberg piece “nailed” his thinking, and went on to insist that Trump “challenged our language” and that, “He will have changed journalism.”

Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Dean Baquet, “To Our Readers, From the Publisher and Executive Editor,” NYT, November 13, 2016

Jim Rutenberg, “News Outlets Wonder Where the Predictions Went Wrong,” November 13, 2016

How the Mainstream Media Missed Trump’s Momentum, PBS, November 13, 2016

Some earlier reflections when Trump won the nomination:

Nate Cohen, “What I got wrong about Donald Trump,” New York Times, May 4, 2016

Sean Trende, “The Value of Data Journalism,” May 12, 2016

Nate Silver, “How I Acted Like A Pundit And Screwed Up On Donald Trump,” Fivethirtyeight, May 18, 2016.


8 Responses to Bibliography of Articles on the MSNM’s Trumpfail

  1. Walter Sobchak says:

    It has been very droll. I think Nate Silver deserves recognition for some exceptional honesty in his predictioning for his essays before 11/8 that discussed the limitations of his methods and the probabilistic nature of his forecasts.

    As for the election itself, I think that it was not Trump who won and the media missed nothing in that respect. Hillary lost. The media should have seen what poor candidate she was, how her campaign was mostly against Trump, not for Hillary, and how ineptly she handled the e-mail and Clinton Foundation issues.

    Trump’s popular vote total will fall short of Romney’s, but only by a few hundred thousand votes. Hillary’s vote total is 5 million short of Obama’s. She could not get the Obama coalition to the polls.

    OTOH, her presence on the ballot motivated a lot of Republicans to vote for Trump, whether or not they approved of him. I this assertion is demonstrated by five big swing states (Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida) that Trump won. But, Trump ran well behind the Republican senatorial candidates in four of them (Grassley, Johnson, Portman, Rubio).

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      I agree. But wouldn’t it be more correct to say that Hillary lost because she could not get her own anti-Trump coalition to the polls? And that the MSNM’s TrumpFail was a big factor in suppressing that vote? — TrumpFail was really HillaryFail. And I suspect that Donald Trump was among the few who understood that from the outset.

  2. Igor Foukzon says:

    There should be a certain caution in the comparison between the Trump case in its relation to the (pseudo)liberal media, and the Israeli – Arab conflict. With all the respect to the president-elect for his overcoming both the political rivals and the hostile press, the intentions and values he claims to represent are neither clear, nor actually tested. All that was proved meanwhile is that you can make with the leftist totalitarianism a draw in a “populist mode” – and then to win in a blitz.

  3. Barry Meislin says:

    The proverbial elephant in the room is Obama, his execrable, dishonest policies, his execrable, dishonest administration, and the execrable, dishonest Democratic Party which supported him on his execrable, dishonest mission (which is not yet over—which has two months to go, and which will continue even beyond 2017 if he is ever appointed to a position of leverage from where he can continue to exert his pernicious influence) of “fundamentally transforming” America.

    True, Hillary was an execrable, dishonest, incompetent candidate.

    And a crook to boot (Comey had the audacity of not looking—entirely—the other way, as he was expected to do).

    So that this was not a defeat merely for HRC: the entire Democratic Party was eviscerated at all levels of government.

    All of them. So that this catastrophe cannot be laid at the feet of Hillary alone.

    This evisceration, this total wipe-out, this absolute crack-up, along with all the internal and foreign policy disasters spanning his disastrous presidency (along with the ramifications down the road), is, in fact, Obama’s true legacy.

    To be sure, the dishonest, corrupt media ran interference for her all the way, just as they meticulously defended Obama for eight long years….

    …Which is why no one, except those who subscribe to the same bubble of prejudices as the MSM, believes them any more.

    (So should one add the evisceration of the media to that of the Democratic Party?)

    And this is precisely similar to the way the MSM has been reporting on Israel. The narrative on Trump was (and to some extent still is): he is everything evil—a racist, mysoginistic, homophobic, xenophobic, rapist. A Nazi.

    The narrative on Israel has been—and will continue to be: Israel is mostly if not entirely responsible for the impasse in the Middle East. Hence, it will be continue to be vilified and slandered—for the best of reasons, to be sure (viz., to “persuade” that terrible, apartheid, Nazi country “to opt for peace”).

    Hence, the Palestinians, as they have since Oslo made them a “partner in peace”, will be given a pass to say whatever they want, spout whatever lie they wish, incite violence as much and as often as they can, and kill and maim and murder…with total impunity.

    Until a “peace” agreement is reached. Until the “occupation” is ended.

    But since the “occupation” is, for the Palestinians, the goose that lays the golden egg (in terms of delegitiming Israel and in terms of the personal enrichment of its elites); and since “peace” for the Palestinians means the eradication of the Jewish State, then no possible “agreement” is reachable, and the “occupation” will be—must be—perpetuated until it becomes clear to the Palestinians that the Jewish State is on the verge of elimination. Of extinction.

    And yes, the narrative must—and will—go on. And on. And on. Until that verge is reached….

    Just as it was only Trump’s impossible victory that has prompted the execrable, dishonest MSM to admit, grudgingly, that it may not have addressed the whole story, that it may have missed something here or there; so only with the eradication of Israel, will the MSM (possibly) admit that it may have missed something here or there….

    …and if they did miss something, well then it was “all for a good and moral purpose”: to end the unethical, criminal Israeli “occupation”.

    You see, they are doing all this lying, besmirching, misrepresenting and slandering of Israel for Israel’s own good (just as they lied about Trump for the good of America).

    Of course, should Israel not be able to stand up to the onslaughts of its “partner in peace”; should it somehow not be able to defend itself, well then, “Too bad. A pity. We tried to warn her but she refused to listen. She absolutely REFUSED to allow us to help her”….

    How do you spell, “double down”?

  4. Ben says:

    Wow. Incredibly well said, Barry. Bravo.

  5. mika says:

    Journalists? Where? Stop giving these propaganda hacks the credibility they do not deserve. Call them for what they are and never be shy about it. These people are scum, and willing co-conspirators to massive and repeated mass murder campaigns.

  6. Alexi says:

    Actually, very few people got the story right. Even this well intended piece misses the real story. Part of the story is that Trump LOST the popular vote by approx 2.5 Million votes. Who did voters pick? They chose Clinton. It simply didn’t win her the election.

    My take is that quite a number of the States Trump won, he won because the American Voter has been systematically disenfranchised by the Republican party through a multi-pronged effort at voter suppression aimed at traditionally Democratic voters.

    Most of it’s here:

    That’s the REAL story. Like with the Palestinians, the REAL story isn’t about the settlements, or “Apartheid” or Checkpoints, or the changes at Temple Mount, it is about the Arab/Muslim racist, selfish, irrational denial of the most basic RIGHTS of Jews to exercise Self-Determination AT HOME.

    Just like the denial of Voting Rights and Gerrymandering keep the Republicans on top where they don’t belong, the Arabs remain positioned on top in the battle of Cognitive Warfare.

    Everybody is lost in trees, while the forest remains a mystery. Misdirection will do that.

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