Voters should be wary of USA Today’s false balance on Election 2020

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[FAIR\2020 Election]
FAIR: "No one disputes that there is an enthusiasm gap between Trump and Biden supporters. But the idea that the choice seems like a toss-up to most people...is much harder to defend."
Photo: YouTube

One thing readers can count on every election season is false balance in the press (FAIR.org, 12/9/16, 10/3/12; Extra!, 11–12/08; FAIR.org, 9/30/04), and despite the current threats to democracy (FAIR.org, 9/15/20) that one might hope would lead journalists to up their game, this year is no different.

Case in point: USA Today‘s front-page piece on Monday (9/14/20) with the remarkable headline, “With 50 Days Till Election Day, Voters ‘Anxious,’ Wary of Trump, Biden Alike.”

On the web, the headline ran: “‘Anxious, Fearful, Angry.’ At 50 days Out to Election Day, Many Voters Are Wary of Both Trump and Biden.”

“It’s 50 days until voters cast their ballots for president, and Americans are on edge,” the article, by Ledyard King and Phillip M. Bailey, began:

"It’s not just that they have been cooped up at home to avoid a deadly contagion. Or that some downtown areas have been wracked with unrest fueled by protests over police violence and racism. Or that Americans are facing financial hardships because of the pandemic. Many voters view the White House race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden as crucial to America’s future. But while the president’s supporters are more enthusiastic than Biden’s, many voters grappling with multiple crises are unimpressed and uninspired by the choice they will face on November 3."

This framing clearly implies that there’s no clear answer at the voting booth for “many” people; the headline directly suggests that “voters” are equally wary of both candidates.

No one disputes that there is an enthusiasm gap between Trump and Biden supporters. But the idea that the choice seems like a toss-up to most people, and that the general sentiment in the country is one of equal wariness toward both candidates, is much harder to defend.

Biden’s favorability ratings have consistently been much higher than Trump’s, and Biden has led national polling averages by a minimum of 4 percentage points (currently he’s averaging almost 6 points ahead) for the last several months.

Read rest of story here: https://fair.org/home/voters-should-be-wary-of-usa-todays-false-balance-...

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