(Jacobin) — The factors contributing to Donald Trump’s election are legion — racism, nativism, and misogyny; social media’s growing power as a political instrument and a source of misinformation; economic malaise caused by Republican and Democratic administrations’ neoliberal economic policies.
But the news media deserve special scrutiny for their role in enabling Trump.
Media institutions help set agendas and frame political debates each election cycle. But with Trump, they helped normalize and legitimize a candidate who never should’ve come close to attaining such power. Through false equivalence and a lack of substantive policy coverage, the media elevated a far-right politics that should’ve been delegitimized the moment it reared its head.
News media’s constant coverage boosted Trump’s visibility and popularized his message.