Accuracy in Media

As the 2020 primary cycle rolled along, multiple primary candidates have remained in the race and continue to worry party donors. The mainstream media picked up on the growing anxiety and nervousness among the Democratic Party donor base ever since this past spring, as the primary field began to shape up.

Many donors allegedly assumed former vice president Joe Biden would run away from the field, donations-wise and polling-wise, when the primaries began. But, as Biden’s gaffes, and his past political stances and statements came to light, donors were increasingly nervous over his viability as a potential party nominee for president.

The media’s coverage illustrated the growing donor anxiety, ranging from articles in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Variety, Washington Post, New York Magazine, the Associated Press, and Politico.  Many of these articles noted the worries that elite and wealthy donors pick their preferred candidate, while the most suitable and grassroots-friendly candidates are left out of the fundraising boon among the elite and wealthy donor base.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes brought up the donor anxiety on his show this week and said that Democratic donors “don’t like the toys they’ve been playing with and they want a new one.” He cited the New York Times article, where Democratic Party power brokers are looking for a “white knight” to save them in the 2020 presidential cycle.

Hayes defended the candidate pool for the Democratic Party and said, “There is no shrink-wrapped, perfect off-the-shelf-candidate” in any campaign cycle. His co-panelists on the segment, Fordham assistant professor Christina Greer and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, pivoted to how the party should coalesce around candidates now and bunker down for the 2020 race.

If Hayes and the staff at MSNBC worried enough about the Democratic Party’s lack of an appealing candidate to air a segment on it, it highlights the problems facing the Democratic Party in the current primary debates and presidential cycle.

Based on the segment, and the multiple articles published this year on donor anxiety, the media’s narrative appears to be correct in that the Democratic Party’s donor base cannot decide on a single candidate to throw money behind in order to unseat President Donald Trump next year. For this reason, Hayes’s attempt to try to sugar-coat the internal struggles as normal does his viewers a significant disservice and hides the truth from his viewers.

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