BALTIMORE — It was Wednesday, November 9, 2016— the day after Election Day. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and looked at my phone and saw that I had already received text after text expressing shock and disappointment. I had no time to fully process what had just occurred because, unfortunately, I had to get to work. I got dressed in a frenzied state, headed out the door and barely made it to Baltimore-Penn Station to catch the 7 a.m. MARC train to Washington D.C.
It was only after I was seated on the train, staring out the window at the fast changing scenery as the sun rose that I realized that the world hadn’t come to an end. Needless to say, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had that expectation when Donald Trump was declared the new President-elect.
In June 2015, when Donald Trump launched his campaign for the presidency as a Republican candidate, I burst into a fit of laughter. I thought that his campaigning for the most coveted and powerful position in the world was an act of senile delusion. I initially viewed it as a testament to the bravado, arrogance and spoiled desire to feed the large ego of a businessman who has found success many times over.
Trump, the real estate mogul with properties around the world, a reality television star and boisterous personality was now the opposing competitor to disrupt one half of a political dynasty— Hillary Clinton and a political establishment that could not stop this unforeseen force.
The campaign for the presidency was an assessment of character more than an assessment of the integral parts of policies to be be implemented, which would be advantageous to the average working American. It was a test of integrity, honesty and believability. For Clinton, the issue was the mishandling of classified information over a private email server. For Trump, it was his alarming divisive rhetoric about the harm of increased immigration and his blunt blows directed towards Mexicans, Muslims and African-Americans.
Unlike any other election that I’ve seen before, the media had no qualms in picking Hillary Clinton as the worthier of the two candidates despite her sudden change in stance on same-sex marriages, despite using a private e-mail server as Secretary of State, despite the accusations that the Clinton Foundation was being investigated for corruption, and despite her vote in favor of the Iraq War.
The New York Times, The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic and even Vogue magazine were unwavering in their support of Mrs. Clinton.
Trump didn’t have the same showing of public support, but instead experienced a bevy of attacks from the media that sought to taint his chances of being viewed as a viable candidate.
The New York Times conveniently posted an article on October 1, 2016, showing Donald Trump’s tax history of avoiding paying taxes for nearly two-decades, a loophole that could only be done by the one percent.
Additionally, a 2005 recording of a vulgar conversation between Donald Trump and “Access Hollywood’s” Billy Bush about sexual conquests was leaked. Despite the unsavory scandal and a seemingly low public opinion, it didn’t have any impact on Trump’s march to victory.
In a society, where access to information is readily available on multiple devices by the touch of a button, it’s interesting that the damning views continuously made by newspaper publications and television news anchors against the Donald Trump train did the opposite of what was intended.
Perhaps, what is more telling is that the media, no matter how hard it tried, could not override the desperate need for change, a different flavor, something unusual, something new.
To his benefit, Trump marketed himself as an outsider of sorts. Someone who can easily identify with the rage from unfulfilled promises made by politicians, the politically correct way of addressing issues on the surface, or the over-policing of world, whilst moving at a snail’s pace in making decisions to fix problems at home.
Donald Trump won in the end because of the ferocious points he made and his blunt way of communicating to the common man, which made him far more believable. Though contentious, he took a stand on what he believed in and could care less what anyone thought about it.
His rowdy approach to what could never be said beyond the confines of one’s own home was alluring to those who needed a change. He struck at the hearts of the working class and the middle-class whose frustrations were palpable in a transitioning economy where wages are stagnant while the cost-of-living continues to rise. Ironically, he marketed himself as being a filthy-rich businessman with nothing to lose.
What can be plainly said is, perhaps the media has little or no impact when bitterness lies within the masses for not seeing better outcomes in their day-to-day lives. The same ole’ same ole’ was just not going to do— not this time around.
Maybe, for once, the media can find a way to accept this loss and take into account that what they said just didn’t matter.
Morgan Reid is a graduate of Temple University with a B.A. in Film & Media Arts and English minor. Hailing from New York, Reid has gained experience working in the entertainment industry in both Philadelphia and Los Angeles. She currently works as a freelance writer in the Baltimore area.