SMU Debate Team members Matthew Lucci and Joseph Abell debated how the media portrays President Trump. Lucci, on the affirmative, held that President Trump is treated unfairly by the media. Abell contested the contrary.
The debate was moderated by Dr. Ben Voth, Director of Debate, Advisor to the Bush Institute and Associate Professor of Corporate Communications.
Lucci began the debate by pointing out the donations given to the Clinton Campaign by members of the media.
“96.5 percent of all media donations went to Hillary,” said Lucci. “In business, and especially in media, people put their money where their mouth is.”
Lucci then discussed Trump’s media coverage, noting that 77 percent of it was negative.
Abell disagreed. He believes that the media has an ultimate right to show bias and support a candidate.
“I favor one kind of cheeseburger over the other,” Abell said. “Is that unfair of me?”
Abell also emphasized that an “abnormal candidate” like Trump should be covered in “abnormal ways.”
“Whatever your political views, there’s no doubt that there’s nothing about this election that can be standardized,” Abell said.
The second half of the event opened the conversation to the audience.
“I think it’s very possible that Trump’s strategy was ‘all coverage is good coverage’,” Brandon Heap said. “He is mostly responsible for the negative things that are said about him.”
Abell agreed that President Trump did damage to his own reputation.
“The media doesn’t do a whole lot of talking about Donald Trump, because Trump’s words do all the talking,” Abell said. “You don’t need to add a lot of content to what he says, it’s very obvious by his own words that he’s saying something negative.”
The audience voted 12-3 in favor of the affirmative, agreeing that the media has treated President Trump unfairly, an outcome that shocked Voth.
“I was surprised that the vote was so one sided,” Voth said. “I think that students definitely come in here with some sort of idea, but nevertheless, everyone did a good job.”
Voth emphasized the importance of debate in society.
“It’s not about proving someone wrong,” Voth said. “Nowadays, people think debating leads to hate and angst, when really, it’s just about opening our minds to the values of other people’s thoughts.”