The strategy of noise and distraction

Media attention and voter behavior in the 2020 US election

By George Eid, CEO and Founder

We’re entering what will be the climax of a charged election season in the United States. At AREA 17, we’re taking it as an opportunity to highlight the digital challenges and opportunities facing journalism and the role of a free and independent press in a democracy.

Polls for the 2016 US presidential election indicated Hillary Clinton was favored to win. Yet, Trump dominated media coverage and was the eventual winner. Were the polls wrong? Or has our vote become a reflection of the volume of information we consume, rather than its meaning?

The first (and rather chaotic) Trump-Biden debate is another example of how dominating the news cycle is often less about policy or substance and more about distraction and diversion. An informed citizenry needs to distinguish between who has captured our attention and who shares our values.

Using artificial intelligence to ingest and analyze thousands of published articles in realtime, we’ve developed a tool that shows the magnitude of a candidates’ media attention as an indication of voting behavior. Browse through the data in realtime and see how the media covers each candidate.



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