Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race against President-elect Donald Trump in November, and a Friday report from Politico asserts supermarket tabloids are to blame.
Media reporter Jack Shafer asserts that the sheer volume of anti-Clinton reporting from tabloids, Fox News and Breitbart was just too much for Democrats to fight effectively during the course of the campaign.
Shafer acknowledges that no one really reads tabloids like The National Enquirer and The Globe, citing the fact that Enquirer only has a weekly circulation of 342,071 issues, down significantly from the publication’s height of 5.9 million issues during the 1970s.
“But that misses the importance of the constant cultural background noise it adds to American life,” Shafer argues. “There are 37,000 supermarkets in America, with an average of about 10 checkout stands each, and many stands feature a wire rack displaying the Enquirer, the Globe, often the company’s other tab, the National Examiner, and celebrity magazines.”
“According to an industry study, American households make an average of 1.5 trips to the supermarket each week,” Shafer continues. “Every customer passes by the checkout stand, which means that even people who never purchase a tabloid still absorb the ambient headlines, and those headlines can shape their view of the world.”
Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, but lost several states in the Midwest and Florida, forcing her to fall short of the 270 electoral votes needed to defeat Trump in the general election. Trump earned 306 electoral votes compared to Clinton’s 232.
Clinton also took a break from campaigning during August, the month after she received a huge bump in polling numbers after the Democratic National Convention in July.
The Clinton campaign also decided not to campaign in states like Wisconsin and Michigan, believing reports that those states were safely Democratic.
Democrats quickly provided other causes for Clinton’s loss, saying that racism and white supremacy won out, or that economic stress forced working voters to head to the polls for Trump. Still other writers asserted that fake news, or lack of party loyalty were to blame.
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