Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
August 16, 2017
Donald Trump succeeded in shaping the election agenda.
Coverage of Trump overwhelmingly outperformed coverage of Clinton.
Clinton’s coverage was focused on scandals, while Trump’s coverage focused on his core issues.
Attempts by the Clinton campaign to define her campaign on competence, experience, and policy positions were drowned out by coverage of alleged improprieties associated with the Clinton Foundation and emails.
Coverage of Trump associated with immigration, jobs, and trade was greater than that on his personal scandals.
Immigration and Muslims/Islam were the two most widely covered substantive issues of the campaign.
Immigration emerged as the leading substantive issue of the campaign.
Initially, the Trump campaign used a hard-line anti-immigration stance to distinguish Trump from the field of GOP contenders. Later, immigration was a wedge issue between the left and the right. Pro-Trump media sources supported this with sensationalistic, race-centric coverage of immigration focused on crime, terrorism, fear of Muslims, and disease.
While coverage of his candidacy was largely critical, Trump dominated media coverage.
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