Maybe none of it mattered. Maybe the media’s widely derided coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign had little effect on where we stand days before this horror show comes to its merciful conclusion.
Consider: A Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll released Friday evening showed Clinton with a four-point lead—identical to President Obama’s margin of victory over Mitt Romney in 2012. As New York Times columnist David Brooks said Friday on the PBS NewsHour, “Everyone is dividing based on demographic categories. And, sometimes, you get the sense that the campaign barely matters. People are just going with their gene pool and whatever it is.”
But even if voting patterns are largely preordained in this hyperpolarized era, that’s no reason to let the media off the hook. Journalists have an indispensable role in our political system. They have a responsibility to provide us with the information we need to govern ourselves in a democratic society. And they have let us down.