After his recent visit to Southwestern’s campus, I thought that it would be interesting to examine and compare how Texas Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke’s, campaign is portrayed differently in the media.
The first article that I examined was published by Slate recently following a poll by Quinnipiac that showed the race between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz looks like it will be “too close to call.” The author, Jim Newell, recognizes that the source of this poll is reputable but immediately follows this statement by saying “it’s also very hard to believe.” Newell then goes on to explain why Democrats are too hopeful in this race and uses several facts, statements, and quotes from experts to support this. While this article is fact-based, it simultaneously seems very opinion driven, and the author makes it clear that he believes that it will be nearly impossible for O’Rourke to beat Cruz in this election.
On the other hand, an article by CNN discusses why people love Beto O’Rourke and why he could be setting a standard for other politicians in the future. Interestingly, the CNN article is framed in a similar manner to the way that O’Rourke runs his campaign. O’Rourke places a large emphasis on personal connections and being a down-to-earth candidate, and the article is written through this lens to help highlight this. For example, the author, Eric Bradner, begins the article by taking readers on a trip starting with a detailed and anecdotal description of Beto and his family in the van hitting the road to make it to a town hall in one of the many Texas counties that O’Rourke is trying to visit during his campaign. It is clever of Bradner to use the same method to appeal to his audience as O’Rourke uses to appeal to his, and I think that while this shows a great deal of creativity this doesn’t necessarily achieve balanced journalism. The article does do a good job, however, explaining the situation and the stakes that come with this big election in Texas this year, and the article describes several pledges that O’Rourke has made as a part of his campaign so that readers get a good picture of what this guy is all about.
Slate’s article looks at the facts and probability of O’Rourke to succeed from a skewed and specific viewpoint while the CNN article looks at why people love him and what he has to offer. Both of these articles had different goals and focuses, and they were framed in different ways to achieve this. It is also interesting to note that the CNN article includes quotes from O’Rourke whereas the Slate article includes quotes from experts to negate the Quinnipiac poll results. At the end of the day, both companies recognize that this is a significant political event that deserves to be written about, but they go about this in two different ways. Slate evaluates the rocky road to success that O’Rourke has ahead of him, and CNN evaluates what O’Rourke is doing in his campaign and trying to achieve.
Eric Bradner, “Why Democrats everywhere are watching Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign in Texas,” CNN, April 14th, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/14/politics/beto-orourke-texas-senate/index.html
Jim Newell, “The Beto Bubble,” Slate, April 19th, 2018. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/beto-o-rourkes-uphill-texas-challenge-against-ted-cruz.html
I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who has not. -Miranda Yannon