THE microphone had been tampered with. The moderator, a registered Republican, was horribly unfair. So went Donald Trump’s dismissal of his poor performance against Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate on September 26th.
Amid this frenzy of blame-casting, Mr Trump, ever Schrödinger’s candidate, also declared himself the debate’s winner. Readers of his constantly whirring Twitter account and watchers of the sympathetic hosts on Fox News were told that Mr Trump had been anointed the winner by several unscientific online surveys. Polls conducted after the debate with statistically sounder approaches disputed this. In one conducted by Echelon Insights, a Republican-aligned analytics firm, 48% of voters declared Mrs Clinton the winner, compared with just 22% who favoured Mr Trump.
If Mr Trump made a poor impression on voters during the debate, the press coverage after it surely made things worse. The Internet Archive, a non-profit project, tracked which segments of the debate were replayed on influential American television shows. Sure enough, all three of the most transmitted moments paint Mr Trump in a poor light: critical…Continue reading