This was the subject under discussion at an event looking at the media coverage of the 2016 campaign co-hosted by USC Annenberg and TIME Sunday morning in Manchester, N.H. and moderated by TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs.
“I think a lot of us were snobs about it,” said Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’, noting he didn’t have Trump on his show for the first two-and-a-half months the billionaire tycoon led in the polls. “And we were wrong about it. The story is not about Trump. The story is about the electorate that he tapped into.”
The panelists also agreed that the 2016 election has upended much of the conventional wisdom about campaigns in Washington. For example, time was when a candidate like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush bought $70 million in paid advertising, that would have a tectonic result. But this campaign season it has had relatively little impact, with most of the attention going to earned media as Trump upended news cycle after news cycle with his braggadocio.
On Hillary Clinton, Newton-Small talked about how she’s been challenged to show passion in the same was rival Bernie Sanders does at campaign events. “When Hillary screams, she gets called shrill by people like Bob Woodward on ‘Morning Joe,'” said Newton-Small, author of the new book,
When asked why Clinton wasn’t appealing to younger women, Newton-Small said: “Bernie is like getting swept off your feet on the first date. Clinton is like going out with an actuary who is planning your mortgage payments and retirement funds over dinner. He’s all dreams; she’s all pragmatism.”