Daily Video

October 17, 2016

Political commentators on presidential candidates’ behavior

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Essential question

How much do the media impact a presidential campaign?


Political columnists Mark Shields and David Brooks, who usually fall on different sides of the political spectrum, agreed on Friday that Donald Trump’s behavior in recent days has harmed his campaign.

Brooks also criticized Republican lawmakers who’ve not stood up to Trump, particularly after an “Access Hollywood” video tape revealed Trump speaking about women in sexually demeaning ways. After the tape was released, eight women have alleged that that Trump assaulted them, which he fiercely denies.

“The fact that we’re talking about a major presidential candidate behaving this way in 2016, it’s kind of astounding,” said Brooks, known for his conservative commentary on political matters.

Shields pointed to Michelle Obama’s speech last week in which she states how Trump’s comments left her “shaken to her core” was one of the most authentic and defining moments in the presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton has also faced challenges with another WikiLeaks dump after the email account of her campaign manager, John Podesta, was hacked. Federal authorities in the U.S. have strong evidence that Russia was behind the hack.

While Brooks maintained that the emails did not contain anything that would hurt the Clinton campaign in the long run, Shields said that it remains clear that Clinton is “very much an establishment candidate,” one of the criticisms facing the Democratic nominee.


Key terms

“oppo” or opposition research — the practice of collecting information on a political opponent or other adversary that can be used to discredit or otherwise weaken them.

libel — a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation

WikiLeaks — an international non-profit journalistic organization that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. What has been unique about this presidential election compared to others?
  2. How important is public image to a presidential candidate?
  3. How much do a candidate’s morals matter to you?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. How do you think Donald Trump’s campaign has been impacted by sexual assault allegations in the past week?
  2. What must Hillary Clinton do to win over Republicans that have publicly said they will not support Trump?
  3. Do you think there is anything Trump could do at this point to improve his public image?
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