Throughout the course of the 2016 campaign, numerous leaked emails have shown a disturbing level of coordination between the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and the media. In February, emails obtained by Gawker showed that the Clinton campaign was literally allowed to ghost write portions of the influential “Playbook” newsletter published by Politico. Emails released last week seemed to indicate that CBS News agreed to not ask current Secretary of State John Kerry about the ongoing Hillary Clinton email scandal at the White House’s request.
The most recent treasure trove of emails released by Wikileaks purports to be the contents of several email inboxes owned by Clinton campaign chair and longtime Clinton ally John Podesta. Attached to one of these emails is a memo from Clinton allies to the DNC dated April 7, 2015 discussing possible coordination opportunities between the DNC and a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. According to the memo, the Clinton campaign sought to enlist the help of the DNC to encourage the media to treat the campaigns of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Donald Trump seriously, in an attempt to damage the rest of the Republican field:
Pied Piper Candidates
There are two ways to approach the strategies mentioned above. The first is to use the field as a whole to inflict damage on itself similar to what happened to Mitt Romney in 2012. The variety of candidates is a positive here, and many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right. In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more “Pied Piper” candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to:
• Ted Cruz
• Donald Trump
• Ben Carson
We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.
Throughout the course of the primary campaign, studies showed that the media gave eventual Republican nominee Donald Trump a disproportionately large amount of air time relative to his standing in the polls and at the ballot box.
According to a study by Media Research Center, the media divided their coverage of the Democratic candidates roughly in accordance with their performance in the race, spending approximately 58% of the time they dedicated to Democrats on covering Hillary Clinton, versus 42% on covering Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton ultimately received 57% of the Democratic primary popular vote, compared to 43% for Bernie Sanders.
However, on the Republican side, the media spent 60% of their time between January 1, 2016 and April 30, 2016 covering Donald Trump, in spite of the fact that Trump had only received 35% of the Republican popular vote at that time.