The Sunday Edition

How the media is shaping the 2016 presidential election

Media coverage of this election has fostered a dark and perhaps even dangerous evolution in political discourse in the United States, according to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the co-founder of FactCheck.org and the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference before touring the Iowa State Fair on August 15, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Listen21:49

Donald Trump, a bombastic, attention-seeking real estate mogul and reality TV star, clearly understands that the media can create political stars, and he knows how to use the media to his advantage.

He gets wall-to-wall news coverage for his every tweet and utterance, and as the Donald knows as well as anyone, free coverage amounts to free advertising. 

Donald Trump became a self-fulfilling news cycle of his own. - Kathleen Hall Jamieson

But public perceptions about Hillary Clinton are just as much a creation of the media and her uneasy relationship with the press, says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the the co-founder of FactCheck.org and the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

She says Clinton's strained relationship with the media comes from decades of facing "ongoing hostile press scrutiny, driven in large part by the opposing party." 

Clinton's distrust of the press leads her to strictly limit access — which often makes her relationship with reporters all the more antagonistic. 

"If you have very limited access as a reporter, you're going to use that access to be as aggressive as you can," says Jamieson. "Her wariness of the press also creates a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Jamieson argues that coverage of this election has been instrumental in the Trump phenomenon and fostered a dark and perhaps even dangerous evolution in political discourse in the United States. She spoke to Michael about the difficulties of fact-checking candidates in 2016 and whether elections journalism has gotten better or worse in recent years. 

Click the button above to hear Michael's conversation with Kathleen Hall Jamieson. 

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