Margaret Sullivan writes: He’s the false-equivalency president.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, the national news media’s misguided sense of fairness helped equate the serious flaws of Hillary Clinton with the disqualifying evils of Donald Trump.
“But her emails . . .” goes the ironic line that aptly summarizes too much of the media’s coverage of the candidates. In short: Clinton’s misuse of a private email server was inflated to keep up with Trump’s racism, sexism and unbalanced narcissism — all in the name of seeming evenhanded.
In a devastating post-election report, Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center concluded that media treatment was rife with false equivalency: “On topics relating to the candidates’ fitness for office, Clinton and Trump’s coverage was virtually identical in terms of its negative tone.”
That was a factor — one of many — that helped to put Trump in the Oval Office. [Continue reading…]