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Post-Election 2016 Recap & Resources

After a difficult and contentious 2016 election, this guide creates a supportive virtual space to explore, learn, and discuss ideas brought up in the election and the ideas we grapple with after.

The Digital Age

Media played a huge role in the election. As America (and frankly the world) processes Donald Trump's victory, a question that keeps coming up is "How did the media get this so wrong?" There seemed to be a sense (or overconfidence as some say now and Saturday Night Live portrayed in a recent sketch) that Hillary would win. We can see it in this Atlantic article from October 11, 2016 when author David Graham said Clinton had a double digit lead. Or try the challenge on the Electoral College page and see what happens when you Google a "Final 2016 electoral college map."  

With 24/7 news channels, live debate updates, Twitter updates, countless memes, and Facebook's "handy" news feature, it wasn't hard to find information on the candidates, their stance on the issues, and election predictions. We can even see the importance of media through the digital footprint President Obama has left (and the ways in which the White House will preserve his image once his time in office is over). However, with ALL this information, how do we sort and filter and decide what is "right?"

Challenge

We often assume/hope/want our media to be neutral. To present both sides equally, fairly, and accurately.

This doesn't happen.

We challenge you to look up two articles on the same topic related the election. This could be Trump's selection of Steve Bannon as chief strategist, the candidate's view on a particular issue (environment, abortion, immigration, etc), why Hillary lost, or something else. Find an article on one website and then, using the chart below, find a similar article on a website that has a different political leaning from the first website you used.

Ideological placement of each source's audience for various major news outletsRead both articles and then reflect on the following questions:

  • How much was the information the same? What was different about the articles?
  • Did either of the articles cite facts and statistics? If so, did they give credit to where those numbers came from?
  • How might the political leaning the website impact how the article was written and the point of view?
  • Any other observations?

Share your reflections below and if you'd like, a librarian can respond to your reflection.