November 8, 2017 Last Updated 7:21 am

Democrats enjoy big day at polls, while newspaper endorsements dealt another blow

Morning Brief: The alternate universe of alt-right media is matched by the disconnect many newspapers appear to have with their readers, most of which endorsed the losing candidate in yesterday’s city and state elections

The two worlds of media were on display yesterday when CNN and MSNBC devoted their evening line-up to covering the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere, while Fox News did its best to avoid the subject altogether.

Despite the Murdoch network’s best effort, the election results were covered and it was hard not to see just how partisan the networks have become in their giddy coverage of Democrat sweeps.

Ultimately the problem we all have is that the bubble is getting harder and harder to prick. The two sides of the political divide each have their own news sources, but those are themselves becoming more partisan. For instance, while MSNBC reported the results of the Virginia elections there were no local Republicans to be heard from to give their view of what the election results meant. One would have thought, based on the reporting, that Democrats will now control the legislature, but that simply is not true as the GOP will still have a majority in the Senate, though their hold on the House of Delegates is at risk.

Beyond elections, it is also clear that there is a news divide even over obvious things, such as the shooting in Texas. While police were still trying to identify the shooter and his motive, right wing media was already reporting that the shooter was a Muslim convert and a member of an anti-fascist group. In the end, the shooter was identified as someone with a family grudge and a long history of mental issues.

Last summer, TNM launched a website to try and reflect on this divide in the media readers are exposed to. The idea was to present to publishers and journalists a snapshot of what both sides of the spectrum are saying. But Russian troll farms attacked the site relentlessly, though always predictably. Though the attacks were eventually mitigated, the site was shuttered when it became obvious that few wanted to really read about what both sides of the media world were saying. Our bubble is clearly very comfortable.

HuffPost, Dana Liebelson and Paul Blumenthal:

The Texas Shooter Was Called A Liberal, Antifa Communist Working With ISIS — Before Anyone Knew Anything

The speed at which these theories spread shows how propagandists take advantage of the information vacuum after a shooting to serve their own ends…

…The website YourNewsWire tweeted out an article making wild claims about the shooter’s connections to antifa. The story cobbled together photos from the Facebook page allegedly belonging to the shooter with a photograph of a different person holding an anti-fascist flag.

The article claimed that the shooter “vowed to start a civil war by ‘targeting white conservative churches’ and causing anarchy in the United States.” The story also included screenshots from a new guy: “Brian (cousin).” This person, Brian, supposedly “talked to some people who were inside.” That’s how Brian learned that two shooters entered the church, threw an antifa flag over the pulpit and then killed people who failed to properly recite verses from Karl Marx’s three-volume foundational critique of capitalism, Das Kapital.

There is zero evidence any of this happened. The byline on the story was “Baxter Dmitry.” No one in U.S. public records has that name.

Breitbart News, Joel Pollak:

Dem Wins in Virginia, New Jersey: Not a Repudiation of Trump, but a Warning

Pundits are calling Tuesday’s results a repudiation of Trump. That is more than a stretch: it is flatly contradicted by some of the data. Republican Jill Vogel, running for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, hitched herself to Trump and out-performed the GOP establishment candidate at the top of the ticket, Ed Gillespie, by tens of thousands of votes.

It would be more accurate to point out that, once again, the Republican establishment came up short. Someone in the Gillespie campaign actually thought it would be a good idea to campaign with Condoleezza Rice — who, for all her merits, is a relic of the George W. Bush administration. Gillespie belatedly embraced Trump supporters, but it seems clear from local results that there were more than a few conservatives who were reluctant to be seduced. A late conversion might have been possible for another candidate, but not one who had already run and lost statewide.



One could be forgiven to have not noticed that NYC had an election for mayor yesterday. America’s biggest city had its most forgettable election and those outside the city, and outside the distribution of the city’s tabloid newspaper, probably had no idea Bill de Blasio was so unpopular… with the tabs.

In the end, the election was not close, much to the dismay of the Post and Daily News. But those tabloids have, in recent years, become virtually irrelevant as news readers have moved to reading their mobile devices on city mass transit. DeBlasio ended up with 66 percent of the vote, versus 28 for his closest challenger, Republican Nicole Malliotakis.

CNN, Gregory Krieg:

De Blasio re-elected in victory for New York City progressives

For the first time in more than three decades, New York City, a national liberal stronghold that historically balks at ideological leadership inside its own narrow borders, has re-elected a Democratic mayor — one with unabashed progressive politics and an eye on Washington.

Mayor Bill de Blasio rewrote recent history despite having operated under near constant assault from the city’s boisterous tabloid newspapers, while doing little himself to smooth over sometimes testy relations with eye-rolling New Yorkers.



In both the Virginia and NYC elections there was something in common beyond that fact that Democrats won: in most cases, local newspapers endorsed the losers.

The losing streak of newspapers can no longer be ignored. Vast majority of newspapers endorsed Hillary Clinton in the fall, even if many of those papers endorsed Republicans in down ballot races. Newspapers, which are supposed to have their finger on the pulse of their communities, appear more and more to be out of touch. Or… as is likely, their owners have interests and concerns that are far different from their readers.

The Conversation, Jeff South, Associate Professor of Journalism, Virginia Commonwealth University:

Northam win in Virginia shows why newspapers should stop endorsing candidates

As Northam cruised to his nine-point victory over Gillespie, I couldn’t help but think that maybe it’s time for newspapers to stop telling their dwindling number of subscribers how to vote.

News organizations already have a credibility problem: Polls show that only 13 percent of Americans trust their local paper “a lot.” And while journalists swear there’s a wall between the editorial staff that endorses candidates and the reporters who write the news, many readers are skeptical: They suspect that a newspaper’s endorsement influences what should be objective coverage.

In my opinion, getting out of the endorsement game would help newspapers regain trust, fend off charges of bias and show respect for the public’s decision-making abilities.

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