Accuracy in Media

Despite some criticism in the mainstream media of the Iowa primaries and whether the state’s demographics are relevant in today’s diverse political world, the fact remained that it is still one of the first primaries in the presidential campaign cycle and it could weed out legitimate presidential candidates from weaker candidates. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and her presidential campaign are at a crossroads, struggling to gain traction over the summer among a crowded primary field.

Harris’s campaign announced it will cut staff and move other staffers from its headquarters in Maryland and other primary states to Iowa “for the home stretch of the caucus campaign.” The only state where her staff will be unaffected is South Carolina.

The mainstream media published articles and analyses on Harris’s campaign struggles, which were a stark contrast to previous coverage of Harris as a candidate. For example, the media whiffed on describing how Harris rose to power in California, primarily due to her connections with the political elites and wealthy. Also, CNN neglected to mention how Harris’s campaign struggled after one of the presidential primary debates, when fellow candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) criticized Harris for misrepresenting her record as California’s attorney general.

ABC News, CNBC, and the Associated Press covered the Harris campaign staffing cuts and ABC News framed it as “the latest example of how the senator is doubling down on winning big in the Iowa caucuses.” The Associated Press was slightly harsher on Harris, noting her campaign’s “middling quarterly fundraising hauls” and lack of fundraising in her home state of California. CNBC said that several of her supporters told the campaign that they will not host events for her due to her campaign’s inability to show a path to victory.

Harris made her record as a former California attorney general, the chief prosecutor in the state, a central part of her campaign. But her message about gun violence and decriminalization did not resonate and after an initial polling surge, Harris fell back. 

The mainstream media’s about-face on Harris’s campaign is another example of media bias, such as failing to admit that Harris’s campaign fortunes quickly soured and most likely will not recover.

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