The news media were eager to declare that Democratic election victories this week signaled the beginning of the end of the Trump administration, and a public “repudiation” of all President Trump stands for, a new study finds.
The Columbia Journalism Review — a leading academic journal centered on journalism practices and produced by Columbia University — has declared the press to be too quick with their pronouncements.
“Sweeping conclusions about the frailty of Trump and the resurgence of the Democratic Party are premature. These were local elections settled by local dynamics — and while Trump was a factor, it’s impossible to divine a uniform ‘Trump effect’ across states,” writes columnist Jon Allsop in a new analysis.
“Editors and observers interviewed by Columbia Journalism Review paint a more complex picture than a Trump slump: The president was one consideration in elections that hinged on state-specific issues and personalities, filtered through particular demographics that don’t perfectly reflect the country as a whole,” Mr. Allsop said.
The media is “too thirsty for a narrative shift on Trump,” he noted.
“It’s okay for journalists to synthesize linked local events into a broader national pattern, and it’s okay for them to invoke Trump when doing so. But the instinct to confirm a presupposed trend is dangerous — and this week’s elections did not make for conclusive evidence,” Mr. Allsop concluded.