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This is what marginalization looks like as mainstream media shifts its gaze from Trump to Biden | COMMENTARY

Workers put up bunting on a press riser for the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, on Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Workers put up bunting on a press riser for the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, on Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert/AP)

If you want to understand in concrete terms what critics mean when they talk about the agenda-setting function of media, tune into cable TV at any time of day or night or pick up a newspaper and look at the front page.

Today’s issue of The Sun is Exhibit No. 1 with a big picture of President-elect Joe Biden above the fold and nothing about President Donald Trump anywhere on the page. How often has Mr. Trump been missing from the front page in the last year? And the story accompanying the picture of Mr. Biden is an important one to millions of Americans: Mr. Biden announcing a $1.9 trillion pandemic plan that includes $1,400 checks for most Americans.

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The same thing was happening on cable news this week. The proportion of coverage between Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden was split screen at the start of the week, but by Friday, the stories about Mr. Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their inauguration were outstripping those on Mr. Trump four to one by my count.

Even the ads on cable news were a steady drumbeat of Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris and the inauguration. And what a difference there, too. Four years ago, many of the stories were about how A-list performers didn’t want any part of Mr. Trump’s inauguration-related events. The news this week features some of popular culture’s biggest stars signing on: Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga performing, with Tom Hanks hosting a TV special.

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Mr. Trump, who is said to be still reeling from being banned on social media platforms like Twitter last week, is now being left behind by the mainstream legacy outlets of newspapers and TV news. This is what marginalization looks like. I just wish some of it had happened earlier ― like five years ago.

David Zurawik is The Sun’s media critic. Email: david.zurawik@baltsun.com; Twitter: @davidzurawik.

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