New York Times front-page headlines, 2008 vs 2016
You can look at the front pages here (although the images are low-res so you can’t read any of the smaller text).
I’ve been looking at headlines in the same time period as now, and there’s a dramatic difference in the coverage of the Obama transition vs. the Trump transition.
The Obama transition was actually not covered that much on the front page. On most days, the front page has no story about Obama. On the other hand, this year, just about every day there’s a front-page story about the Trump transition.
When the Obama transition was mentioned on the front page, the headlines contained positive words, or just-the-facts. On the other hand, every Trump headline contains negative words. Let’s examine a few.
OBAMA AND BUSH WORKING TO CALM VOLATILE MARKET
ECONOMIC AIDES NAMED
The first sentence uses the word “calm” to describe what Obama is doing. Although “volatile” is a negative word, it is used to describe the market which got that way because of nothing Obama did, but one might blame the outgoing administration for it. “Obama and Bush working” demonstrates cooperation.
The second sentence is just-the-facts, with no commentary about whether the aides are good or bad.
OBAMA PLANNING TO RETAIN GATES AS DEFENSE CHIEF
ACCORD SAID TO BE NEAR
The first sentence is just-the-facts.
The second sentence uses the word “accord” which is a positive word implying cooperative efforts and agreement.
Obama Aide: From a Marine to a Mediator
National Security Pick Known as Moderate
The first sentence uses the word “Mediator,” a positive word. The second sentence describes the aide as a “moderate” which is a calming word.
A Handpicked Team for a Foreign Policy Shift
Notice the word “team” which is about people cooperating with each other. And “shift” is used to describe the change in foreign policy. I think that “shift” is the least-scary way to say that things are going to change. Shift implies safe moderate change and not scary extreme change.
OBAMA TEAM SET ON ENVIRONMENT
Physicist is selected to Lead Energy Department
Not the first Obama headline to use the word “team” which is a positive word and continues the theme of Obama as guy who encourages cooperation and working together.
The second sentence is just-the-facts.
Now let’s switch to some 2016 headlines
CABINET CHOICES SIGNAL EMBRACE OF WALL STREET ELITE
AT ODDS WITH POPULISM
The first sentence is critical of Trump’s choices, and the second sentence starts with “at odds,” a negative word which shows discord.
If the Times wanted, they could have made the story sound positive: “TRUMP TAPS WALL STREET EXPERTISE FOR CABINET CHOICES”
Obama’s Gift to Successor: The Economy
Amidst all of the negative Trump headlines, the Times sticks in something positive about Obama. Obama good, Trump bad. Nothing positive was said about Bush in 2008.
TRUMP MUDDIES CHINA RELATIONS WITH TAIWAN CALL
A BREACH OF PROTOCOL
The first sentence is critical and uses the negative word “muddies.”
In the second sentence, “breach of protocol” demonstrates discord. The theme of Trump is that there is discord, the very opposite of Obama who was the teamwork and cooperation president.
If they wanted to report on this more neutrally, they could have used the word “shift” like they used when reporting about Obama’s change in foreign policy: “SHIFT IN PROTOCOL WITH TAIWAN CALL” and just leave out the second sentence.
Vowing to Squeeze Businesses, Trump has Tactics Challenged
Trump is challenged, there is discord, not harmony. Lots of people on the right challenged Obama’s policies but the Times chose to ignore those challenges on its front page in 2008.
A positive way to headline the same story: “Trump vows to keep jobs in the United States.”
Tangle Awaits 3 Trump Children Molded for Business Since Birth
This entire article is part of an MSM scheme to attack Trump because he owns a big business. There is no rule that immediate relatives of top government officials can’t work and do their own thing at the same time as the officeholder. In fact, what commonly happens is that the husband becomes Senator, and then the wife suddenly has a huge increase in income at whatever they are doing. For example, after Obama became a U.S. senator, Michelle suddenly got hired to be a vice president at a hospital earning $316,000 year. But this kind of good luck was not unique to Michelle Obama, just about every spouse in the Senate has the same kind of career good fortune.
While George H.W. Bush was President, his son George W. Bush was a board member and significant shareholder of Harken Energy and managing general partner of the Texas Rangers, and no one made that big of a deal about it. Not to say that it was ignored by Democrats, but the mainstream media didn’t become unhinged that George H.W. Bush was violating the Constitution because his son had a bunch of business interests.
Also “molded for business since birth” seems to imply some sort of sinister Hitler-like approach to child rearing.
CHOICE FOR E.P.A. HAS LED BATTLES TO CONSTRAIN IT
CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL
Uses the word “battles” which continues of theme of Trump headlines using words that imply discord. And of course “climate change denial” is a propaganda term from the left. My rewriting of the headline: “CHOICE FOR E.P.A SKEPTICAL OF CLIMATE CHANGE.”