MSNBC Political Analyst Zerlina Maxwell blasted the Iowa Caucus as the “perfect example of systemic racism” in the aftermath of the state’s Democratic party disastrous handling of Monday’s voting, which the results still have not been released.
Maxwell and the MSNBC panel was discussing the low turnout for the caucuses across the state. Entrance polling showed 35% of Iowan voters were caucusing for the first time, as opposed to 44% in 2016.
“Democrats have long leaned on President Trump being a motivator for voters. Those number don’t bear that out. Should that concern Democrats?” host Craig Melvin asked.
“Yes, but I think for a different reason than a lot of folks probably will think. Maybe I’ll be the only person to say this today. The Iowa caucus is essentially the perfect example of systemic racism. 91% of the voters in Iowa are white,” Maxwell said.
“The reason why you see a drop in turnout, I’m just speculating here, it could be perhaps that white children are not in the cages. So when you’re talking about the tangible pain that black and brown people are feeling, they feel a sense of urgency because their kids are being put in cages, right? So if you have 91% white electorate, that sense of urgency may not be reflected in the turnout numbers,” she continued. “I’m not saying that’s the reason for this. It could be a factor.”
Former President Barack Obama won the state in 2008 and Hispanic Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the victor in 2016.
With virtually no chance Senate Republicans will vote to remove President Trump from office, House Democrats’ drive for impeachment is more likely aimed at creating a deluge of negative daily headlines hoping to cripple Trump going into next year’s election. If that is indeed Democrats’ goal, then the three broadcast networks are doing everything they can to help achieve this partisan objective:
■ Overwhelmingly Negative: MRC analysts have reviewed all coverage of President Trump and his administration on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts since 2017. Following the beginning of the impeachment inquiry on September 24, this coverage has been even more hostilethan normal: Out of 684 evaluative comments included in these broadcasts, a whopping 96 percent have been negative, vs. a meager four percent that have been positive.
(Methodology: To determine the spin of news coverage, our analysts tallied all explicitly evaluative statements about the President or his administration from either reporters, anchors or non-partisan sources such as experts or voters. Evaluations from partisan sources, as well as neutral statements, were not included.)
■ All About Impeachment: TV’s fascination with Democrats’ impeachment push has crowded out nearly all other news about the administration. During the six weeks since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the start of the inquiry (September 24 through November 5), the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts churned out 398 minutes of coverage to the Ukraine scandal, or more than three-fifths of all administration news during this period (645 minutes).
This nearly matches the 438 minutes of airtime these newscasts produced during the most hyper-intensive six weeks of the Russia “collusion” scandal, starting when the President fired James Comey as FBI Director on May 9, 2017 (and media talking heads began railing about Trump’s “Watergate”) through June 20 of that year — weeks that also included the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel on May 17 and Comey’s much-ballyhooed congressional testimony on June 8.
■ Secret Sources: With most of the developments behind closed doors, the majority of the networks’ impeachment coverage has been based on secret leaks from anonymous sources. Out of 172 news reports, a large majority (59%) relied on unnamed sources for their facts about the impeachment probe. This is slightly higher than when we first checked in late October, when 57 percent of impeachment stories used anonymous sources.
■ Even Negative Spin on Baghdadi Death: Only two other Trump administration topics have been granted much airtime since the inquiry began: the successful U.S. mission that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (45 minutes before it faded from the newscasts), and the earlier decision of the President to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria (121 minutes).
The withdrawal of U.S. forces was given witheringly (98%) negative coverage on all three networks, whose journalists routinely framed it as “abandoning” an ally (the Syrian Kurds) in the fight against ISIS.
But while media coverage of the U.S. mission against al-Baghdadi was mostly positive, the President’s role in it was not. Out of nine evaluative statements about the President himself, two-thirds (67%) were negative. These focused on his refusal to brief congressional leaders, as well as his belittling description of the cruel ISIS leader’s last moments (“He died like a dog….He died like a coward….Whimpering, screaming and crying.”)
“It’s possible that President Trump’s bellicose language about the manner in which he died could actually inspire some ISIS fighters to retaliate,” NBC’s Courtney Kube speculated on the October 27 Nightly News.
■ Impeachment Diverting Airtime from 2020 Democrats: TV’s heavy coverage of impeachment has essentially smothered coverage of the Democratic presidential race, which drew a meager 110 minutes of coverage during these six weeks — barely a third of the airtime granted to the 2016 campaign during these same weeks in 2015 (312 minutes).
Nearly half of this year’s campaign coverage (51 minutes) was about Joe Biden, his son and the Ukraine, leaving only 59 minutes for non-impeachment related topics. The next most-covered campaign event, Bernie Sanders’ heart attack, drew just 16 minutes of airtime.