The Overlooked America:How The Media Influencesus All
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Historically, the public’s relationship with media has fluctuated based on current events and how the media cover those events. The 2016 presidential election was a turning point for both American politics and media –Donald J. Trump was electedthe 45th President of the United States of America. Many people were shocked by the election results, as most media were predicting a Clinton win. In the aftermath of the election,media took a hit –Trump claimed national media such as the New York Times and Washington Post were biased, and frequently usedthe term “fake news.”Trust in mainstream media plummeted, and political conversations became more polarized than ever. One question emerged: what happened? As I seek to answer this question, I focus on media’s role in political conversation surrounding this presidential election as well as the perspective of those I am calling the “Overlooked America:”white, middle-class citizens in small rural areas who voted in force for Trump, finally making their voices heard. For my project, I focused on Trump supporters in Lockhart, Caldwell County, Texas, arural town with a population of 13,901 just southeast of Austin. I spent months speaking with particularly avid Trump supporters about everything,from their stance on political issues such as immigration and healthcare to their media consumption habits. In addition to Trump supporters, I have spoken tomainstream media in Texas, including Texas Monthly and the Texas Tribune, as well as local media such as the Lockhart Post Register about media’s role in politics, whether media is doing its job, media-public trust, and what they are doing now to address the bias impression. I am a journalist. Right now, the future of journalism is in the hands of people like me –people who seek to find the truth and share it. Our mission is to informthe community, but to do so, we needpeople to trust us. Andto gain their trust, we needtobe listening to people –really listening.And not just to those who agree with us,but everyone.