News Coverage of the 2016 General Election: How the Press Failed the Voters

22 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2016

See all articles by Thomas E. Patterson

Thomas E. Patterson

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: December 1, 2016

Abstract

Criticism dogged Hillary Clinton at every step of the general election. Her “bad press” outpaced her “good press” by 64 percent to 36 percent. She was criticized for everything from her speaking style to her use of emails. As Clinton was being attacked in the press, Donald Trump was attacking the press, claiming that it was trying to “rig” the election in her favor. If that’s true, journalists had a peculiar way of going about it. Trump’s coverage during the general election was more negative than Clinton’s, running 77 percent negative to 23 percent positive. But over the full course of the election, it was Clinton, not Trump, who was more often the target of negative coverage (see Figure 1). Overall, the coverage of her candidacy was 62 percent negative to 38 percent positive, while his coverage was 56 percent negative to 44 percent positive.

Suggested Citation

Patterson, Thomas E., News Coverage of the 2016 General Election: How the Press Failed the Voters (December 1, 2016). HKS Working Paper No. RWP16-052, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2884837 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2884837

Thomas E. Patterson (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9926 (Phone)
617-495-8696 (Fax)

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