As the days leading up to Barack Obama’s final farewell and the inauguration of Donald Trump tick down, liberals are becoming increasingly inventive in cooking up excuses for why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the presidency. The latest bit of the-dog-ate-my-homework logic emanates from Politico, and it asserts that supermarket tabloids, like the National Enquirer, are to blame for Clinton’s loss.
Reporter Jack Shafer writes that the sheer volume of anti-Clinton reporting from tabloids, as well as from conservative media such as Fox News and Breitbart, was simply too great for Democrats to combat throughout the course of the election season.
A knockout from the article attempts to dismiss contrarian baggage in the form of an admission that no one really reads the tabloids. Shafer even cites a statistic noting that the Enquirer currently has a weekly circulation of only 342,071 issues, down markedly from the 5.9 million subscribers the publication boasted during the 1970s. Still, he argues:
[T]hat misses the importance of the constant cultural background noise it adds to American life. There are 37,000 supermarkets in America, with an average of about 10 checkout stands each, and many stands feature a wire rack displaying the Enquirer, the Globe, often the company’s other tab, the National Examiner, and celebrity magazines.
According to an industry study, American households make an average of 1.5 trips to the supermarket each week. Every customer passes by the checkout stand, which means that even people who never purchase a tabloid still absorb the ambient headlines, and those headlines can shape their view of the world.
That may well be true, but it is also a fact that the tabloids ran plenty of articles about Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump who was something of a headline magnet during the campaign season.
Not only that but Shafer conveniently overlooks other statistics that should have been beneficial to Clinton, such as a study by the Media Research Center, which found that 91% of broadcast network news coverage of Trump was hostile.
And when the mainstream media wasn’t attempting to paint Trump in a negative light, they were busy committing sins of omission. In one example, NBC News cut away from footage of a visit by Trump to a black church in Detroit just as the pastor was about to bless the Republican nominee.