Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In

Media didn’t understand Trump or their proper roles in U.S. election campaign

By Angelo Persichilli      

If media were right in describing Trump as such an evil man, it means that 50 per cent of Americans are evil, too. And if that’s the case, America has a much bigger problem than Donald Trump.

Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix on Oct. 29, 2016. Angelo Persichilli writes that journalists were campaigning against him rather than reporting objectively on him or Hillary Clinton. Photograph by Gage Skidmore
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

TORONTO—Losing an election is always painful; losing to Donald Trump is a humiliation.

The defeat of Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential race was: the defeat of the American media, which was campaigning for a candidate instead of reporting news; the defeat of pollsters, who were telling their clients what they wanted to hear; and, ultimately, the rejection of the establishment, which was trying to impose the status quo while Americans were craving change.

Let’s start with Clinton. Her defeat is the rejection of an entire personal political life lived through expediency to appease borderless ambitions, the exploitation of friends, and acquaintances’ popularity to hide an otherwise manifest incompetence and ruthlessness, and the support of the establishment to feed greed and bank accounts.

But in her fall, Clinton is not alone. She also dragged down most of the media, pollsters, and the establishment. People who deserve praise and respect should have been more prudent in putting their reputations and political capital at the disposal of a person whose deficiencies they had rightly denounced in the past. I am referring to the Obamas and the Bushes.

I understand Barack and Michelle’s Democratic duties, and Bill Clinton for obvious reasons. But I have difficulties justifying the Bush family, whose support for Clinton was based on their need for personal revenge against Trump for defeating one of them during the primaries. This kind of pettiness has no place in a presidential campaign.

There were many and serious reasons for voting against Donald Trump. But by winning the White House despite his huge deficiencies, it speaks volumes about the slightness and smallness of Hillary Clinton.

While I hope that the defeat will finally help retire Clinton, whose manipulations have infected American politics for almost three decades (including the Arkansas years), I hope that this is also a lesson for media and pollsters who are meddling with politics, eliminating the borderline between facts and opinions.

The credibility of the polling industry has been crushed and I hope that pollsters stop telling their clients what they want to hear. Most importantly, I hope they start learning to use the new technology. Buying new computers to collect numbers doesn’t make anyone a pollster, just like buying a Formula One car doesn’t make someone a Formula One driver. 

For almost a year, major media organizations have radicalized the debate and demonized one of the candidates. We all know Donald Trump’s deficiencies, but media have gone well beyond the duty of reporting them. They have campaigned against him, deliberately ignoring facts and huge mistakes made by his opponent.

Instead of understanding why 50 per cent of Americans were ready to make Trump their next president despite his deficiencies, media decided that Trump was not to be elected and declined to write about the real concerns of millions of Americans about the status quo.

Rightly or wrongly, millions of Americans are concerned about terrorism, but those who were expressing these concerns were labelled anti-Muslim. Millions of Americans are concerned about immigration, but those who were expressing these concerns were labelled racists. Those concerned about the state of the economy were silenced with the accusation of being against the poor.

There is no doubt that in America, like everywhere, there are racists, Islamophobics, and uncaring people. But trying to justify the defeat of Hillary Clinton with these explanations, as media have done, it is misleading, dangerous, and, most of all, false. If media were right in describing Trump as such an evil man, it means that 50 per cent of Americans are evil, too. And  if that’s the case, America has a much bigger problem than Donald Trump.

Fortunately, even if the deficiencies in Trump’s character are huge, I believe that it is more important that media go back to their mandate which is reporting fact, not to be confused with opinion, and, most importantly, reporting fact to help people to make decisions, not making decisions on their behalf.

Americans were laughing at us when we made that mistake in the Toronto campaign against Rob Ford and ignored the concerns of voters. Reporters didn’t understand that the problem was much bigger than the late mayor and was really about the disconnect between people and their institutions. And now they have Donald Trump as president of United States.

Angelo Persichilli is a freelance journalist and a former citizenship judge for the Greater Toronto Area. He was also a director of communications to former prime minister Stephen Harper and is the former political editor of Corriere Canadese, Canada’s Italian-language newspaper in Toronto.

The Hill Times

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning

Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Ottawa should declare northern flights essential as ‘decimated’ service puts Inuit at risk of losing ‘only link’ to key services, says ITK

The government said it is committed to ‘maintaining a focused, safe and reliable air transport network for these communities.’

Wage subsidies ‘critical,’ a ‘lifeline’ for businesses to survive pandemic, says Chamber of Commerce president

News|By Mike Lapointe
'This subsidy will make a real difference in your lives and help everyone affected bridge to better times,' said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday, March 27.

Food supply, emergency vehicle repair: keeping Canada-U.S. trade open key to fight against COVID-19, say stakeholders

The 'biggest point of concern right now' is 'making sure that we keep those shipments of fresh vegetables and other commodities rolling in by truck across the border, truck or train,' says John Manley.

Refusing to commit to firm timeline, Trudeau says it’s ‘realistic’ measures will last until July

The government is working to recall Parliament to consider passing what the prime minister has cast as the 'biggest economic measures' in Canada’s history.

Introduction of electronic, remote voting not called for yet, but should be re-examined by House committee, say some MPs

Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie says she doesn’t think such a reconsideration is warranted yet, but could be if COVID-19 keeps Parliament away into the fall.

Lobbyists clamour to get voices heard on COVID-19

The number of lobbying files connected to COVID-19 has exploded in the last week, with 90 registrations for 55 organizations outlining plans to push federal officials on issues ranging from policy to funding.

Feds to spend $2-billion to scale up production of medical supplies, equipment, as it braces for anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases

'We need a sustainable and stable supply of these products, and that means making them at home, and we’re optimistic that they will be available in the coming weeks,' says Prime Minister Trudeau.

Canadian authorities in talks about COVID-19 tracking apps

In Canada, separate projects are underway that would combine phone location data with positive COVID-19 diagnoses to notify individuals about potential exposure in what their creators say are privacy-friendly ways.

Budget 2020, election promises in question amid COVID-19 global pandemic crisis, say McKay, Delacourt

‘It is going to blow a hole in the government’s legislative agenda,’ says Liberal MP John McKay.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.