A look at the various media used to reach and inform voters during elections -- as well as the impact of new media and media ownership on elections.
Elections and Media
As the country’s most powerful newsmaker and the person in charge of a government that’s been aggressively pursuing antitrust cases against big tech companies, President Donald Trump does have leverage over Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. So the chief executive officer could be forgiven for flattering President Trump.
Powerful technology companies are expected to face increased scrutiny no matter who wins the Nov. 3 election, but President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden differ on some of the problems posed by Big Tech and how to solve them. President Trump and his appointees likely would maintain—and possibly accelerate—the broad-scale regulatory scrutiny of technology companies that marked his first term.
Top House Democrats outlined aspirations to tackle broadband issues in 2021 under what they hope is President Joe Biden. “I promise you all we will restore net neutrality and make our broadband networks more competitive,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), who chairs the House telecom subcommittee and envisions continuing to do so. If President Donald Trump wins re-election, the digital divide will widen, Chairman Doyle added.
For the 2020 American Views survey, Gallup and Knight polled more than 20,000 U.S. adults and found deepening pessimism and further partisan entrenchment about how the news media delivers on its democratic mandate for factual, trustworthy information. Many Americans feel the media’s critical role of informing and holding those in power accountable is compromised by increasing bias. As such, Americans have not only lost confidence in the ideal of an objective media, they believe news organizations actively support the partisan divide.
Facebook will prohibit new political advertisements in the week before the US presidential election in Nov and seek to flag premature claims of victory by candidates, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said.
Facebook moved to clamp down on any confusion about the November 2020 election on its service, rolling out a series of changes to limit voter misinformation and to prevent interference from President Donald Trump and other politicians. The social network, in one of its most sweeping sets of election actions, said it planned to bar any new political ads on its site in the week before Election Day. It said it would also strengthen measures against posts that try to dissuade people from voting.
As COVID-19 has shifted life online, residents of towns like Monterey (MA) — they lack internet at home — have had to drive to public Wi-Fi hot spots to stay connected. Disparities in internet access took center stage during the Aug. 18 Massachusetts US Senate debate between incumbent Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and his challenger, Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA).
Listen, liberals. If you don’t think Donald Trump can get re-elected in November, you need to spend more time on Facebook. Since the 2016 election, I’ve been obsessively tracking how partisan political content is performing on Facebook, the world’s largest and arguably most influential media platform. Every morning, one of the first browser tabs I open is CrowdTangle — a handy Facebook-owned data tool that offers a bird’s-eye view of what’s popular on the platform. I check which politicians and pundits are going viral. I geek out on trending topics.
As the Republican National Convention kicked off, the Trump campaign touted 5G among the president’s second-term goals, specifically stating he would “win the race to 5G and establish a national high-speed wireless internet network.” This phrasing is a head-scratcher given the Trump orbit’s past flirtations with nationalizing 5G, an approach taking multiple forms over the years and deeply opposed by many at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill.
Social media companies say they’re preparing for a protracted battle against online misinformation come Election Day, particularly given there may not be an immediate winner. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity, said his nightmare scenario for the election is that bad actors use any delays in the outcome to stoke “fear, uncertainty and doubt” online. Unprecedented problems for an unprecedented election: “When we talk about the election, we talk about the leadup to election night, we talk about election day as a pivotal moment. This year is different,” Roth said.