Accuracy in Media

In another curious case of mind-boggling headlines and online content, CNN published an electoral analysis on the Kentucky state elections, headlined, “Why Mitch McConnell is smiling today.” The analysis and headline made it seem that the content would be about McConnell and Kentucky, which state he represents in the U.S. Senate.

But the analysis pivoted to one of McConnell’s former aides, Daniel Cameron, who won the state attorney general race as the first African-American to become the state’s attorney general. It pointed out how Cameron is the first Republican to hold the office of the attorney general in 70 years, and that he also served as McConnell’s general counsel for two years from 2015-2017.

Instead of making the rest of the analysis about the social impact of Cameron’s victory, the analysis pivoted back to focus on McConnell. The analysis claimed that this could cement McConnell’s legacy in the state, and could lead to McConnell’s eventual retirement from the Senate. It suggested Cameron could be groomed as the next U.S. Senator from Kentucky and replace McConnell, his mentor and former boss.

CNN’s analysis concluded, “Cameron’s win does mean something for Kentucky and for the Republican Party. But it also means a lot for McConnell and how he wants to shape his legacy, as well as the contours of the state and national Republican Party, in the years to come.”

CNN barely mentioned the potential social impact of Cameron’s electoral victory as the first black attorney general in Kentucky history, and missed on a potentially-unifying moment in news reporting and analysis. Also, the analysis did not give enough credit for Cameron’s watershed moment, appearing to marginalize Cameron’s achievement, and focused too much on the media’s obsession with Mitch McConnell.

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