A TALE OF TWO MEDIA SOURCES: Donald Trump’s last minute decision to change the venue of a political rally in Mobile, Alabama has caused some outlets in the mainstream media to fully reveal their inability to report simple facts without mind-numbing spin. CNN, to their credit, seems to have (mostly) resisted the urge with “30,000 turn out for Trump’s Alabama pep rally“:
The event was previously planned to be held at the nearby Civic Center but was moved to the 43,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium — a venue normally home to high school football games — to accommodate the crowd. The City of Mobile confirmed late Friday that 30,000 people attended.
At least CNN accurately reported the 30,000 attendance. But they failed to mention that Trump’s campaign team altered the venue late Thursday from Mobile’s approximately 2,000 seat Civic Center to the 40,000 Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Notice also that the CNN reporter couldn’t help but snark that the stadium was “a venue normally home to high school games.” While the stadium does host some of the bigger local high school football playoff games (and high school football is very big in Alabama), it is actually principally a college football venue, being the home stadium of the University of South Alabama football team and the GoDaddy Bowl.
The New York Times, as usual, couldn’t resist spinning and twisting the facts in its effort to make Trump (as with all things GOP) look as bad as possible, its headline reading “Donald Trump Fails to Fill Alabama Stadium, But Fans’ Zeal is Undiminished”:
Before Donald J. Trump arrived at a college football stadium here on Friday evening, the colorful guessing games that often accompany his campaign were very much in the air.
Would Mr. Trump actually fill all of the tens of thousands of seats at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the home field for the University of South Alabama Jaguars? How would one of the largest cities in one of the country’s most conservative states respond to a candidate whose bombast and brashness can sometimes seem limitless? Would Mr. Trump wear a “Make America Great Again” baseball hat, perhaps to conceal the effects of the wilting Gulf Coast heat and humidity on his much-remarked-upon mane?
As usual, the answers — no, loudly and yes — came amid the trademark gusto of both Mr. Trump’s personality and his evolving campaign for the presidency.
“Now I know how the great Billy Graham felt, because this is the same feeling,” Mr. Trump, referring to the celebrated evangelist, thundered from a stage built for the night’s rally, where the vast stretches of empty seats indicated that attendance had fallen short of the more than 30,000 people he had predicted.
Aside from the fact that the New York Times reporter, Alan Blinder (apt name), didn’t realize that his piece had asked three questions but proceeded to answer only two “no, loudly and yes,” he answered his initial, irrelevant question about filling the stadium “no.” Mr. Blinder felt the need to go even further and “report” that there were “vast stretches of empty seats” and that “attendance had fallen short of the more than 30,000 people he had predicted.”
The title of the New York Times’ piece and its failure to mention the last-minute venue change leaves the reader with the distinct impression that Trump had planned a rally in a large stadium all along, and had miserably and embarrassingly failed to fill it. This, of course, is 180 degrees from the actual truth. Can you imagine how the Times would have slobbered all over itself if Hillary Clinton had scheduled a rally in a 2,000 seat venue and, due to overwhelming interest, had changed the venue at the last minute to a 40,000 seat stadium, filling 30,000 of the seats? The Times would have been so excited it would have wet itself.
Look, whether you’re a fan of Trump or not isn’t the point here. The point is that, love him or hate him, the man is drawing unexpectedly large crowds, which is something no other Democrat or GOP candidate is doing. When reporters can’t seem to report this simple fact accurately, we all realize (once again) that we are being treated like little children who need to be “protected” by those who think they know better.