News stories might have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — real stories from Manhattan, not fake stories from Macedonia. That’s the major takeaway from a new content analysis of media coverage of the 2016 campaign that the Columbia Journalism Review published on Tuesday. Despite the media’s intensely negative coverage of Trump, they still believe journalists were too hard on Hillary and didn’t spend enough time explaining why liberal policies (especially Obamacare) were the obvious choice for voters.
Study authors Duncan Watts and David Rothschild … claimed they found “roughly four times as many Clinton-related sentences that described scandals as opposed to policies, whereas Trump-related sentences were one-and-a-half times as likely to be about policy as scandal. “
…These 65,000 sentences were written not by Russian hackers, but overwhelmingly by professional journalists employed at mainstream news organizations, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. To the extent that voters mistrusted Hillary Clinton, or considered her conduct as secretary of state to have been negligent or even potentially criminal … these numbers suggest their views were influenced more by mainstream news sources than by fake news.