The Media Gets It Wrong After Debate: Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Was Never Sinking


A popular storyline in the mainstream media after the Democratic debate is centered around how Hillary Clinton righted her campaign with a strong debate performance, but the reality is that Clinton has been trending upwards for weeks, and her campaign was never sinking.

The New York Times framed the debate as a comeback for Clinton, “On Tuesday night, after months of political heartburn, things finally started cutting Hillary Rodham Clinton’s way. Her performance at the first Democratic presidential debate was so commanding that even her greatest vulnerability — the lingering controversy over her private email practices as secretary of state — ended up redounding to her benefit.”

Politico praised her debate performance as, “Not only was Hillary Clinton on the receiving end of the night’s biggest gift — her rival, Bernie Sanders, declaring it time for people to shut up about her email scandal — she also delivered some of the evening’s most stinging retorts. The Democratic front-runner showed renewed energy and comfort on a presidential debate stage where she, but none of the others, had been before.”

MSNBC got a little closer to the truth, but not quite, “Clinton reasserted herself as the strongest candidate in the Democratic field, living up to sky-high expectations and clearly demonstrating why she has almost cleared the field of primary opponents. Her campaign struggled through the summer, but many Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief after their party’s most likely standard-bearer showed why so much of the party’s leadership has already rallied behind her.”

See how the mainstream media is spinning the story? The Clinton campaign was struggling. Hillary Clinton lacked energy. Clinton reasserted herself as the strongest candidate.

The problem is that reality doesn’t match up with the story that the media is selling. Hillary Clinton has been trending upwards ever since the negative media coverage of the email story died down. Her popularity jumped in the last couple of weeks after she started attacking Republicans and the Benghazi Select Committee.

As I wrote when the three latest polls of Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada were released, “The CNN/ORC poll found that without Biden in the race Clinton leads Sanders 70%-20% in South Carolina, and 58%-36% in Nevada. African-American voters make up the majority of the primary electorate in South Carolina, and Bernie Sanders is struggling to get their support. Black voters support Clinton 84%-7% without Biden in the race. Clinton leads Sanders among whites 48%-47%. With Clinton also leading in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll of Iowa by 11 points, a clear picture of the race is beginning to emerge.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was not in trouble coming into the first Democratic debate. The media is more interested in telling their own horserace story instead of looking at what is really going on with the Democratic primary electorate. Hillary Clinton leads in three of the first four states by double digits. She all other Democratic contenders by huge margins nationally.

Bernie Sanders deserves credit for the success of his campaign, but the idea that Clinton was in dire straights coming into the first Democratic debate is a media myth. Hillary Clinton came into the debate as the Democratic frontrunner, and she left as the Democratic frontrunner. The numbers don’t agree with the story that the political press is trying to sell.

26 Replies to “The Media Gets It Wrong After Debate: Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Was Never Sinking”

  1. Hillary is doing just fine. And I think she was the Clear Winner last night. She was well prepared and came off as being Presidential.

  2. …Battle o’ the Titans between Hillary and Bernie…Bernies demand that people knock it off about the e-mails is gonna be in the history books…{At least those books NOT printed in Texas}
    I never thought Hillarys campaign was deep-6ed, nor did I underestimate Bernie…ONE o’ them will be our Candidate…

  3. Wishful thinking on the part of the media that HRC’s campaign was sinking. As usual, they have to misrepresent anything good on the Dem side. Scoundrels.

    It was great to hear real issues discussed in a civil manner last evening. It is sooo obvious what side has the adults.

  4. I don’t know how Obama and Hillary stand the press at all…they are always after ‘a story,’ not the truth. Hillary will be the nominee, and she is more than prepared to take on whichever KKKlown Preibus and Rove decide upon. We will have our female President at last. Now, let’s make sure she has a chance to do good, and take back the House and the Senate for liberty!

  5. Despite all the money spent, the markers cashed in with U.S. mass media, the taxpayer funded witch hunt of Hillary Clinton, the e-mail non-controversy being peddled as a huge controversy, GOP-water carrier, M$M, and congressional Dem-witch hunters on the GOP side have failed.

    Hillary Clinton remained and remains strong and she’ll only get stronger as we close in on January 2016 when elections begin.

    I have no doubt that after all is said and done, Hillary Clinton will be our next president in January 2017 and Dems will ride her coattails to taking back the Senate.

  6. I don’t think it ever looked as though her campaign was sinking. It was hitting a few bumps in the road with the e-mail BS and she was having some trouble defending it because some people were commenting that “she wasn’t saying it the right way” or she “wasn’t taking it seriously enough”, which itself was BS. Now that the “investigation” has been shown (to those who had blinders on) to be a totally political stunt, she’s actually looking better than before. Senator Sanders has a big hill to climb now and he knows it. He’ll come out well whether he wins the nomination or not though because he’s doing it with class and honorably.

  7. What Big Media got wrong was that Hillary Clinton won the debate. In poll after poll during and after last nights debate the public has been saying the same thing: the clear winner, by a large margin was Bernie Sanders. Slate gave the win to Clinton, while it’s own public poll, at the bottom of the story shows Bernie as the winner. The same thing happened over at the Telegraph, CNN, etc. Here’s an overview of several of media coverage versus voters:

  8. Duh. The “news media” needs conflict, drama and a “horserace” in order to sell ads and clicks. VOTE HILLARY & DEMOCRATS ALL THE WAY!

  9. They were both but since there will be no revolution his only policy to casino capitalism is to break up the too big to fail banks which BTW out of the top 10 only 2 are US owned. His other main point was to brink back Glass-Steagall but Dodd Frank has address a lot of those issues and we have the Volker rule
    Volcker Rule

  10. DJ, I saw that, (last week, I think), at the grocery store. The Enquirer’s headline: Hilary Clinton has only 6 months to live or something like that…I just laughed and shook my head. Un-freaking believable!!

  11. Yeah. This morning on NBC they were like “Clinton has big debate night,” “Sanders and Hillary spar over Guns and Trade,”

    BUT right now we are going to Khloe Kardasian and Lamar Odom blah blah blah CRAP!

    I was just gobsmacked! Who gives a flying monkey droppings about Khloe and Lamar!!!

    AGH! Weapons of mass distraction indeed.

  12. Agree. Time to start talking about HILLARY & STRAIGHT PARTY TICKET!

    We need candidates that are smooth and tough to expose the Moron Meth Heads of the Reich Wing for what they are… freakin’ crazy!

  13. le Hunt wrote:
    “I’ll never vote for clinton. She stinks”

    Then watch another GWBush/Cheney-Type-Team take back control of America!

  14. If you follow the focus groups rather than the media, she’s dead in the water.

    And that includes focus groups run by repubs.

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