Friday, 30 November 2018

Midterms: How Much Did the Partisan Fake News & Tech Giants Aid Democrats?

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What impact did the anti-Trump, anti-GOP bias of the Fake News media complex, together with the leftward tilt of the Google-Facebook-Twitter complex and deep-pocket Democrat donors, have on the recent midterm elections? It’s difficult to say with any precision at this point, since data regarding many aspects of these factors are not yet available.

But what is evident thus far is that Big Media, Big Tech, and Big Money dramatically aided the Democrats — and the more liberal-left Democrats, at that — in many races. Despite these huge advantages in the form of support from the “mainstream” media and the social-media titans, along with a historic fundraising frenzy that saw Democrats dramatically outspending Republicans, the party of Obama-Clinton-Pelosi-Schumer failed to pull off the “progressive” Blue Wave that many so-called experts predicted. Yes, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, & Co. are going to be back in control of the House of Representatives come January, which is, undoubtedly, a frightening thought to millions of Americans. The Democrats picked up almost 40 House seats. However, considering historical precedents and the predictions of even bigger GOP House losses than actually occurred, President Trump was not out of line in declaring the results to be victory. It is more usual than not for the party in control of the White House to lose seats the House and/or Senate in the midterm elections. In the 1994 midterms, Bill Clinton lost 52 House seats, and Barack Obama lost 63 in the 2010 midterms. And this time around, the Trump GOP increased its Senate majority.

Considering the relentless demonization of Trump and the GOP by Big Media and Big Social Media, and seen in historical context, Trump’s House losses are relatively modest. According to a tabulation of evening newscasts of the three major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) during the eight-week pre-election period of September 1 through October 26, media coverage was overwhelmingly anti-Trump and anti-Republican.

“Not only was network coverage of Republicans far more hostile (88% negative) than that meted out to Democrats (53% negative), but we found nearly ten times more negative statements about Republicans and President Trump (97) than all of the Democratic candidates combined (10),” the Media Research Center (MRC) reported on October 30.

“In fact, coverage of the entire field of Democratic candidates would have been 67 percent positive if it hadn’t been for negative comments in stories about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test,” the study noted.

Far from being surprising, these latest findings of extreme media bias not only confirm the daily experience of millions of news consumers, but also confirm the findings of previous MRC studies. On October 9, for instance, the MRC released a study under the title “Economic Boom Largely Ignored as TV’s Trump Coverage Hits 92% Negative.”

The study reviewed “all 1,007 evening news stories (1,960 minutes of airtime) about the Trump administration on ABC, CBS and NBC from June 1 to September 30, tallying the coverage of each topic and all evaluative comments made by anchors, reporters and non-partisan sources (such as voters or experts).”

“The results show,” says the MRC report, “that, over the past four months, nearly two-thirds of evening news coverage of the Trump presidency has been focused on just five main topics: the Russia investigation; immigration policy; the Kavanaugh nomination; North Korea diplomacy; and U.S. relations with Russia. The networks’ coverage of all of these topics has been highly negative, while bright spots for the administration such as the booming economy received extremely little coverage (less than one percent of the four-month total).”

Details of the MRC report include the observation that “once again, the ongoing Russia investigation received more evening news coverage (342 minutes) than any other individual topic. This does not include the 86 minutes spent on the Michael Cohen investigation and guilty plea, except for a few minutes talking about the possibility that Cohen would cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.”

That network coverage was 97-percent negative, even though Mueller’s “investigation” has produced nothing to back the claims that Trump or Team Trump colluded with Russia.

“Since the beginning of the Trump administration,” the MRC report continues, “the three networks have spent 1,975 minutes — nearly 33 hours — on the Russia investigation, or nearly 18 percent of all of their coverage of the Trump presidency. As we have previously reported, virtually all of that coverage has been negative, while almost none of it has focused on any of the controversies involving Mueller or his investigative team.”

This non-stop negativism by the press, portraying President Trump as evil incarnate, has produced multiple effects, most of which redound down-ballot to the advantage of the Democrats. Besides helping them motivate donors to chip in enormous sums of campaign cash, it has helped the Democrats field a historically large contingent of well-funded challengers. It also has helped stoke the fires of the violent, far-left Antifa protesters, as well as swell the ranks of Democrat voters and volunteers from the perpetually propagandized high-school and college students.

 

This article appears in the December 10, 2018, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.

The blatant anti-Trump, anti-GOP, anti-conservative bias of the three main network broadcasters is echoed by much of the rest of the “mainstream” media, and is often even worse. CNN, MSNBC, NPR, PBS, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Time, Newsweek, etc., all seem to be competing to outdo one another in media’s 24/7/365 anti-Trump hatefest.

This media onslaught against Trump, the GOP, and conservatives was not restricted to the House, Senate, and gubernatorial races. Even a liberty-minded state legislator who is outspoken and demonstrates strong leadership qualities can end up getting the full smear treatment from the national and international press, as Representative Matt Shea of Washington State found out. In our article on Representative Shea (page 21), we note that he was the unenviable recipient of a full-blast smear campaign that included hit pieces from not only local and statewide media, but also from the Associated Press, Newsweek, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, The Hill, the New York Daily News, The Guardian (U.K.), Al Jazeera, and the Irish Times.

Despite this extraordinary media ambuscade, Shea won reelection, taking 58.3 percent of the vote.

Zuckerberg Admits: “Extremely Left-leaning”

Then there’s the Google-Facebook-Twitter complex and its social-media comrades in Silicon Valley. With more and more people getting their news through social media rather than the dinosaur media, the controls exercised by the Big Tech titans have become a major concern. It may be remembered that billionaire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged during testimony before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees last April that the tech industry in Silicon Valley is an “extremely left-leaning place.” But, he assured the senators, he tries to make sure his firm doesn’t “have bias in the work that we do.” Facebook, he said, is “a platform for all ideas.”

Senator Ted Cruz was not convinced. “Mr. Zuckerberg, I will say there are a great many Americans, who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,” Cruz said.

Senator Cruz went on, citing specific troubling cases, out of “numerous instances” of Facebook censoring, blocking, and suppressing conservative voices. “In May of 2016,” Cruz stated, “Gizmodo reported that Facebook had purposefully and routinely suppressed conservative stories from trending news, including stories about CPAC, including stories about Mitt Romney, including stories about the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, including stories about Glenn Beck. In addition to that, Facebook has initially shut down the ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’ page, has blocked a post of a Fox News reporter, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and most recently, blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page with 1.2 million Facebook followers, after determining their content and brand were, ‘unsafe to the community.’ To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias.”

“Do you agree with that assessment?” Cruz asked the Facebook CEO. “Senator, let me say a few things about this,” Zuckerberg began. “First, I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place. And this is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company is making sure that we don’t have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about.”

However, after making these empty assurances, Facebook has gone on a rampage in the months since to boot hundreds of websites off of its platform.

Is it simply an extraordinary coincidence that a great many of these sites happen to be of a conservative, constitutionalist, libertarian, or pro-life bent, and that they are supportive of President Trump and/or many of his policies? And is it another huge coincidence that this “deplatforming” of conservatives began during the months leading into the critical midterm elections? Facebook is not alone; the other major social-media platforms have followed suit.

Most notable in this regard is the all-out deplatforming of Alex Jones and his Infowars media empire by Facebook, Apple, YouTube (owned by Google), Spotify, and others.

Reality seems to be clashing with the denials of Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley denizens that they are engaged in political partisanship and censorship of views opposed to their “extremely left-leaning” agenda. As we reported online in October (“Big Tech Employees Spend Wildly on Dems Ahead of Midterms”), Federal Election Commission filings show that the employees of the three most influential tech companies — Google, Facebook, and Twitter — contributed millions of dollars in the recent midterms, with over 90 percent of it going to Democrat candidates. In other words, the GoogFaceTwit activists gave more than nine times as much to Democrats as Republicans.

Big Money-Dark Money Funding Radical Dems

“Democrats ride monster fundraising to take the House, GOP successfully picks its Senate battles.” That’s the title of a November 7 post-mortem of the midterms by OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics. Far-left Democrat Representative Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, campaigning as a populist who eschewed Big Money donors, was the champion spender for the midterms, raising almost $70 million (as of October 17) in his effort to unseat Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Despite outspending Cruz nearly two to one, and despite enjoying millions of dollars more in free publicity from an adoring media that presented him as a rock star and a romantic idealist, Beto lost to Cruz.

The Democrats’ cash tsunami did, however, significantly influence a number of House races. Money isn’t everything in a campaign, but it does matter.

“In what was the most expensive midterm election ever, a cash advantage didn’t always translate to success at the polls for congressional candidates,” the Open Secrets report notes. “Still, the candidate with more money won most of the time, and fundraising and outside spending trends appear to match up with election results.”

Open Secrets reports that “Democrats soundly took the House while outraising Republicans by more than $300 million. Republicans picked up several seats in the Senate despite being outraised overall, but in key toss-up Senate races in red states, candidate fundraising and outside spending totals were generally close.”

“Eighty-nine percent of House races were won by the biggest spender, compared to 84 percent of Senate races,” the report continues. “When factoring in outside money and fundraising, the House candidate supported by more money won 91 percent of the time and the better-funded Senate candidate won 84 percent of the time.”

And the “progressives” who are always hollering about “Republican Dark Money” in elections, are shown once again to be masters of dark money funding. Michael Bloomberg, George and Alexander Soros, Tom Steyer, Herb Sandler, Bernard Schwartz, Rob Reiner, Norman Lear, and other deep-pocket donors have shoveled out hundreds of millions of dollars to Democrats in the midterm election cycle, both directly and through their secretive dark money spigots, such as the Democracy Alliance. They are getting keyed up for an even bigger cash attack on our electoral system in 2020.

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