Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trump Implodes!!?

In this presidential campaign, the things the media say are even more interesting than the things the candidates say, if that's possible. Most of the action has been on the anti-Trump side, because of his wacky pronouncements and because Hillary is already a known quantity.

Candidates have probably been coordinating with their media allies behind the scenes since the Adams-Jefferson race, but it's becoming much more brazen. It helps that reporters are younger and dumber than they've ever been (because we refuse to pay for news now.) They're too lazy to even think up their own words, so when flacks feed them words like "dark" and "imploding," they just regurgitate it into their copy. Journalism schools apparently don't assign "In your own words..." questions.

The word of this week is "imploding." Yes, you've seen it many times already. In fact, I made this handy graphic showing various, but by no means all, times Trump's campaign has been characterized as imploding, along with an average of a bunch of nationwide polls comparing Trump (red) to Hillary (blue) in a head-to-head race.  The red numbers on the plot indicate a time the media said Trump was "imploding" - using that exact word or a form of it.

1.     2/3/16 “Donald Trump implodes campaign by being a sore loser” – Washington Examiner
2.     2/25/16 “Is This the Moment When Trump’s Campaign Imploded?” Power Line
3.     3/15/16 “A Timeline of the Implosion of Donald Trump’s Biggest Media Backer – Mother Jones
4.     3/29/16 “The Last Pro-Trump Argument Implodes” – Commentary
5.     6/6/16 “Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign is Completely Imploding”
6.     8/1/16 “Donald Trump Continues to Implode Before Our Eyes As…” PoliticusUSA
7.     8/5/16 “Trump Implosion? New Polls Signal Deep Trouble” – Newsmax
8.     8/15/16 “John Oliver Gleefully Mocks Trump’s Imploding Campaign” – Fortune
9.     10/9/16 “Donald Trump’s Implosion” – The Atlantic

10. 10/10/16 “Donald Trump Implodes” - Politico

To most people, "imploding" means something is undergoing irreversible, catastrophic damage. Obviously, there has not been anything like an implosion - note that the vertical scale only runs from about 35% to 55%. Only three numbers (1, 5 and 9) out of 10 occurred prior to a significant downturn. Two months of steady improvement followed number 4. Numbers 7 and 8 came during Trump's recovery from Hillary's post-convention bounce. 10 is just from today.

Words mean things. My guess is that most journalists know what implode really means, but they read so much clickbait that it's infected their professional writing. If it's not jaw-dropping, stunning, hidden or secret, it's not worth reading.

If you want to oppose Donald Trump, a good place to start is to quit fooling yourself about how badly he's doing.