Trump, The Media, and Bandwagons

For background, I’ll refer you to…:

The Huckabee Corollary the McCain Corolloary To Berg’s Eleventh Law: The Republican that the media covers most intensively before the nomination for any office will be the one that the liberals know they have the best chance of beating after the nomination, and/or will most cripple the GOP if nominated.

If you’re like me, you looked at the polls “showing” Donald Trump “leading” the GOP field and thought “Huckabee Corollary!”.

Nate Silver – fresh from playing a role in engineering the DFL’s “Bandwagon Effect” in the Minnesota gubernatorial election last year – notices the media blitz on Trump without, I suspect, getting the “Why“:

One of the few pieces of statistical evidence that we can look toward at this early stage of the presidential campaign is the number of media hits that each candidate is receiving. Apart from being interesting unto itself, it’s plausible that this metric has some predictive power. At this point in 2007, Barack Obama and John McCain were receiving the most coverage among the Democratic and Republican candidates respectively, and both won their races despite initially lagging in the polls.

In contrast to four years ago, however, when the relative amount of media coverage was fairly steady throughout the campaign, there have already been some dramatic shifts this year. Sarah Palin’s potential candidacy, for instance, is only receiving about one-fifth as much attention as it did several months ago.

In the past, I’ve usually used Google News to study these questions, but I’ve identified another resource — NewsLibrary.com — that provides more flexibility in search options and more robustness in its coverage. (One problem with counting things on Google is that the number of hits can vary fairly dramatically from day to day, for reasons I don’t entirely understand.)

(Another downside to Google News: it seriously overweights the left).

I’ve counted the number of times on NewsLibrary.com in which the candidate’s name appeared in the lead paragraph of the article, and a select combination of words appeared down in the article body. In particular, I’ve looked for instances in which any combination of the words “president”, “presidential” or “presidency” appeared, as well as any of the words “candidate”, “candidacy”, “campaign”, “nomination” or “primary.”

The idea is to identify cases in which a candidate was the main focus of the article (as opposed to being mentioned in passing) and when the article was about the presidential campaign itself (as opposed to, say, Mr. Trump’s reality show). The technique isn’t perfect — there are always going to be a few “false positives” from out-of-context hits — but it ought to be a reasonably good benchmark for the amount of press attention that each candidate is getting.

And the results?

So far this month, however, Ms. Palin has accounted for just 124 hits out of 1,090 total, or roughly 11 percent. Instead, her place has been taken by Mr. Trump, who has accounted for about 40 percent of the coverage.

The decline in media coverage for Ms. Palin tracks with a decline in her polling numbers. Whereas she was pulling between 15 and 20 percent of the Republican primary vote in polls conducted several months ago, she’s down to about 10 percent in most surveys now.  Mr. Trump, meanwhile, whose media coverage has increased exponentially, has surged in the polls, and is essentially in a three-way tie for the lead with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee over an average of recent surveys.

Hm.  What do you suppose the odds were that the mainstream media would pump the hell out of a buffoonish cartoon like Trump at the expense of the serious GOP candidates?

After the MN Gubernatorial election we noted that  the “Bandwagon Effect” is known to have an effect on election turnout,  shown in academic studies on the subject.  As studied, it’s a negative effect – people are less likely to turn out for candidates that the media says are getting drubbed in the polls (like the Humphrey Institute’s polling last fall, which showed Emmer near-tie race as a 12 point loss with all-too-convenient timing.

So why would the media not be building up Trump as a “force to be reckoned with”?  It’s a win/win for the Media and the Democrats (pardon the redundancy); as long as Trump is pictured as a contender, GOP candidates have to waste time and money fighting the strawman with the bad combover.  And if by some freak of fate he gets the nomination (he won’t, because he’s no conservative, but let’s run with it) the media will tear him down promptly, because – let’s be honest – that’s what he’s there for.

This blog will be watching the libs/media and their bandwagonning over the next year and a half.  It’ll be a growth industry.

28 thoughts on “Trump, The Media, and Bandwagons

  1. I am so sick of Trump and his ego, I could puke! He is another blue dog republican!

    If anyone has looked into how the Dimwit, I mean the Donald made his millions, they would see that he’s just another elitist. Michelle Malkin sums it up nicely in her article on Townhall today.

  2. I think everything you wrote makes sense, but I wouldn’t discount the sheer laziness factor. It’s a lot easier to write about Trump because you don’t have to waste column inches explaining who he is. And since he fills a notebook better than anyone, he’s a natural for coverage, especially if your job is to maintain a narrative rather than tell people something new.

  3. Mr. D said:

    “but I wouldn’t discount the sheer laziness factor”

    Neither would I, especially since the majority of MSM reporting seems to be “Trump just said this” without much in the way of “in comparison to what hes said previously”.

    But the current uncritical relation of sound bites that would normally be ridiculed to death does fairly scream “I hope they back this loser”.

    Oh, what’s the shorthand for citing Berg Law 11?

  4. I’m not sure that you can pin this down to the Democratic-Media conglomerate alone.

    Trump is the most colorful character in a biege field. They are probably tired of running the same “Palin sees Russia from her house” story and want to get to somebody else who says the things that they can inflate.

    Trump is also doing an excellent impersonation of Guilliani or Mitt, flip-flopping like a Northern Pike on ice around all of the social issues that NE Republicans have to hold in order to be taken seriously at cocktail parties but condemn you in a National race for Republican Primaries.

    The one positive about the Donald running I see is that with Trump in Bloomberg is out. However, at this point I see Bloomberg taking the more sensible Democrats away from Obama than I see Right leaning Independents rushing to Bloomberg.

  5. To quote Headley Lamarr: “Rest your sphincters!”

    The Media* is simply playing with a new toy, that being a blowhard with a lousy comb-over named Donald. They will tire of him.

    One benefit of having him around is that it will split the RuPaulians…remember THEM? They’re still around, and their tinfoil hats are polished and ready to roll. If Trump really DOES get into this, he will eventually settle into the same clownish roll as RuPaul, splitting them into an even more fractured bunch of loons.

    (* Wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat party)

  6. Enough of this. I’m starting my Big Push to nominate Dennis Kucinich. Democrat, Independent, I don’t care. He’s the only real option the Left has.
    Hope. Change. Kucinich.

  7. Tim,

    You’re really just a Republican doing a parody of an ignorant Democrat, aren’t you?

  8. Trump is a train wreck waiting to happen, and the MSM counting on all of us being there to watch.

    Hey Timmy, a little imprecation for you: “A donkey shall violate him, a donkey shall violate his wife” (Deir el-Bahri Graffito No. 11, Dyn. 20)

  9. Yes, Timmy, when research has proven that over 86% of the Media* are DemoncRATS and support DemoncRAT officials…yes…we do believe that they are trying to drive the narative on this. Go listen to Hour 1 of Hugh Hewitt last night and his take-down of the Birthers.

    Lastly, to you idiot Birthers (who really need to have a lobotomy and become DemoncRATS), The One is a US citizen based on the simple fact that THIS MOTHER WAS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN!

    Get over it! Move on! Get a life!

    (* Wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat party)

  10. I still wish that Bush would have let ICE deport his aunt about one month before the election. After the way Obumbler and his ilk crucified him then and continue to attempt to do so now, he would have been within his rights to do it. But, no. He had to be a tolerant lefty and let aunty stay in the squalid slums of Boston.

  11. Timinnutville is always trying to be the biggest nut-case moon-bat.

    Speaking of moon-bats, Mitch, your man-hater far-left-wing ‘friend’ over at PenisBlog seems worried sick over what migh happen in the next election:
    “Happy Earth Day 2011. Stop putting the stupid in charge, vote against the right in 2012.”

    Mitch, have you been force feeding her dogs poison?

  12. Tim never fails to amuse. He is amusing. In the sense that “muse” means to think, and adding the prefix A indicates the lack of thought. I can picture him actually struggling to put toothpaste back in the tube.
    Really, Tim. You are that dumb.

  13. Even though I believe Obama was born in Hawaii on the date he says that he was I am becoming more sympathetic to the birthers complaints.
    This is because so many people who don’t like the birthers use shoddy tactics when they try to refute them.
    In the CBSNEWS poll Timmy cites the story says that birthers “incorrectly” think that Obama was not born in the United States. This is not unbiased reporting; it’s hard to imagine any other political poll results that would be reported as “incorrect”. It’s an opinion poll, fer God’s sake.
    Medved & Hewitt hate birthers. Medved is just plain dumb when he says you have to trust documents issued by the state of Hawaii, and as for Hewitt, the citizenship of Obama’s mother has no bearing on where Obama was born.
    Hawaii became a state in 1959. Obama was born in 1961. When I moved here in 1989 many of my older friends and relatives in MN — not republicans by any means — believed that Hawaii was a foreign country or a territory. It is entirely possible that many people — again not necessarily Republican voters — believe that Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 but was born in a foreign country.
    Why is it that in these polls we never hear how many Democrats believe Obama is not a citizen or was born overseas? The story egan with Clinton supporters. The lack of a number mentioned for D Obama birthers is an indicator of media bias.

  14. Kermit, Hawaii has one of the largest populations (per capita) of naturalized citizens in the US. I know that in the early 1960′s (and later) it was not unheard of for Naturalized or born US citizens with strong ties to other nations (philipinos & indonesians, mostly) to go to the home country and be given an infant child to bring back to the US. Once back on American soil the citizens would claim the child as theirs and say that he or she was born at home. It happened. Not a big deal.
    What is a big deal is assuming that a PDF issued by the State of Hawaii (always high on the list of corrupt US states and run by Democratic machine for the last half century) is somehow definitive. For a picture ID? Yes. For the highest office in the world? No so much.
    Real, objective journalists would be more skeptical of proof like the CLB produced by Obama and “birth announcements” placed in the distant capital of what was then (and is now) in many ways a third world country.
    What I do not understand is why journalists take Obama’s pronouncements at face values? Does he remember the occasion?

  15. And just to restate my position, Kermit, I believe that Obama is a natural born US citizen.

  16. The Messiah’s mom was a citizen. That makes Him a citizen. There really is not much else to say. Unless we are going to apply sharia law, then all bets are off.

  17. Arnold is a citizen, but he can’t become president.
    You see what I mean, Kermit? These arguments about Obama’s qualifications to be prez may bee foolish and conspiratorial on the birther side, but shoddy responses — such as that Obama is a legal citizen, or the State of Hawaii says that he is, based on a record no one can see — don’t help.

  18. Yes, but Arnold’s mom was not a citizen, and therefore could not confer it on him. Obama’s mother was. John McCain was born in Panama, and no one was carping about his legal right to run for governor.

  19. Kermit, if it turned out that there was something not right about contemperaneous accounts of Obama’s birth in the state of Hawaii’s records, he would remain in office and he would be re-elected. There are many more people who will believe no evidence that Obama is not a natural born citizen than are people who will not believe evidence that he is a natural born citizen.
    If it could be shown that Obama claimed, as an adult, to be an Indonesian citizen that could cost him the 2012 election, whether his claim was legal or not. If his birth certificate said that he was white, or that his father was someone other than Barack Obama Sr. or was unknown that would embarrass Obama and make people question his integrity.
    I would like a thorough investigation of Obama’s past.
    After all, the MSM went back over thirty years to question Bush’s TNG service, despite the fact that Bush had a valid honorable discharge.
    Questions are being raised.

  20. It does not matter. The Obama Mama was a US citizen. There is no case to be made.

  21. Kermit is right about the citizenship. That’s the end of the story, but Terry is correct that there’s a lot we don’t know about Obama’s past.

    It’s moot at this point, since he’ll be evaluated on his performance in office, but if the MSM had devoted even half the resources they airlifted into Alaska to vet a Vice Presidential candidate, perhaps things would have been different.

    Of course, McCain was a lousy candidate, so maybe it wouldn’t have been any different.

  22. If any “interesting” surprises come out about Obama’s past, it won’t be the MSM, Medved or Hewitt that discover them. It will be the birthers.

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