East African journalists discuss U.S. election coverage

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I’m spending election week in Nairobi, Kenta, training about 22 environmental journalists at the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications.

As we watched election returns together coming in on CNN, these journalists from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi shared their perspectives on U.S. press coverage of the campaign. They’re all politically savvy and have all followed the campaign on CNN and through other media.

Here’s a quick recap of some of their observations:
• There is a strong anti-media bias among American voters who feel the press — however defined — has been unfair and unbalanced in its critical coverage of Donald Trump.
• The results reflect anti-immigration bias among voters.
• American voters hold Hillary Clinton to a double standard because of her gender, as reflected in allegations of wrongdoing with her email account and the Clinton Foundation. As one journalist put it, “Women are judged more harshly by the public when they put themselves out there.”
• “It’s difficult to understand the minds of the voters,” as reflected by the differences between poll results and Election Day results.
• Press coverage put too much emphasis on personality rather than on the candidates’ positions on the issues.

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