Conversations from abroad: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and election media coverage

by Yana Stoyanova

US Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are hot topics all over the globe right now.  The BBC, Daily Mail, Telegraph and Evening Standard have reported every detail of the tight race for America’s next leader, and their hunger for election news is only matched by the level of talk on the street.

At the Presidential debates in October, the candidates discussed their ideas for the future of the USA, but there were just as many moments were they dragged one another through embarrassing personal histories and traded accusations . Therefore, it wasn’t a very productive conversation.

“Overall, it’s like reality TV and everybody feels that way across the globe. People are more trusting of Hillary over here and they don’t question her politics as much as they question Trump’s,” said Katherine Sheetz, a 24-year-old student at City, University of London. “I am not for Trump, but they both should be questioned equal amounts I suppose; they are both running for the same office.”

Her opinion was confirmed by Violeta Roumenova, 23, a worker in Warsaw, Poland. “Trump is more popular but not necessarily more well liked than Clinton. It is just that the things he says get covered a lot more overseas than what Hillary says.” However, she added that around Europe people have quite a negative attitude toward both candidates.

By contrast, Michael Branch,41, a teacher in Shanghai, shared his thoughts on Hillary and Trump is in China. “I have read a few things about how critical China has been of the democratic process if it lets people like Donald Trump in as a candidate- they are trying to make the US democracy look bad, so they are using Trump as a reason why democracies don’t work. They have also pointed out how corrupt Clinton is to counter that only Chinese politicians are corrupt.’’

It is really easy to see that media is definitely not objective everywhere. But is it actually fair to a full extent anywhere? Branch added context on how media freedoms in China shape opinions about the election there. “Information here in China for the general citizens is limited because the state controls the media so much and limits what comes in and out.“

But in Europe, where there is freedom of expression, people compare information flow to the one in the USA. Katherine says that in the USA it depends geographically where you are but overall, there is probably a balance in the coverage within the whole United States, not like one particular newspaper being more balanced than another.” Kevin Cordoba, 24, of the United States, confirmed: “In America, media tends to be biased, Fox News for example tends to be Republican right and NBC is left.”

Violeta thought the same, and added, “here in Europe, I would definitely say it is a little bit more biased because not everything gets its original content. The European media usually takes its information from American media that is already biased so it is not first hand at all.”

Various reactions are present over the world, some more polarized than others. Tomorrow, the US go to the polls. But even after the dust has settled on this election, conversations about Trump and Clinton, and the positions they represent, are sure to continue.

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