Accuracy in Media

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is fighting a battle against the other primary candidates in the field, but also against the mainstream media, according to NowThis News.

The outlet headlined its allegations in a recent article, “#WhereIsWarren? Voters Wonder At Candidate’s Exclusion From Polls and Media Coverage.”

The article’s headline cited the Twitter hashtag #WhereIsWarren, which referred to a recent NBC and Wall Street Journal poll that excluded Warren’s name in asking how candidates would fare against President Donald Trump in a head-to-head match-up. Officially, the pollster, Peter Hart, told BuzzFeed News that the poll has “space and time” for five candidates: Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Hart affirmed that Warren would be included in the next round of polling, but it did not satisfy NowThis News or Warren’s supporters. He also pointed out that the poll tested Klobuchar’s head-to-head match-up potential because she had not been tested before the polls, and due to her surge in New Hampshire’s primary, it was time for Klobuchar to be tested in the polls.

NowThis News defended Warren’s standing among primary candidates and noted that she is in third place for pledged delegates. The website pivoted to sexism allegations in the media and said that her campaign has “consistently been missing in cable news coverage for the past few weeks.” NowThis News said “cable news producers and online editors are making the decision to primarily cover just one of the two women,” a nod to Klobuchar’s increasing media mentions at the expense of Warren. It also cited a media mentions tracker, which said that Warren was in sixth place among Democratic Party candidates’ coverage in mid-February 2020.

The website was correct to point out the media coverage discrepancy surrounding Warren’s campaign, which is commendable. It was hard to dispute any of the website’s claims about how the mainstream media chose to cover Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) instead of Warren.

However, its defense crossed the line between journalism and political advocacy. Much of the last half of the article favorably covered Warren, such as citing her dust-ups in the Senate with Republicans and how the racial demographics of Iowa and New Hampshire unfairly dictates media coverage in a presidential campaign cycle. NowThis News should have stuck with the facts it presented about Warren’s lack of media airtime and news coverage, instead of veering into political advocacy.

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