Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016-10-26: A look back at the 2008 and 2012 US General Elections via Web Archives

Web Archives perform the crucial service of preserving our collective digital heritage. October 26, 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Internet Archive, and the United States presidential Election will take place November 8, 2016.  To commemorate both occasions, let us look at the 2008 and 2012 US General Elections as told by Web Archives from the perspectives of CNN and Fox News. We started with three news media - MSNBC, CNN and Fox News in order to capture both ends of the political spectrum. However, msnbc.com has redirected to various different URLs in the past (e.g., msnbc.msn.com, nbcnews.com) and the result is that the site is not well-archived.

Obama vs McCain - Fox News (2008)
Obama vs McCain - CNN (2008)

Obama vs Romney - Fox News (2012)
The archives show that the current concerns about voter fraud and election irregularities are not new (at least on Fox News, we did not find corresponding stories at CNN).
This Fox News page contains a story titled: "Government on High Alert for Voter Fraud" (2008)

Fox News: "Trouble at the ballot box" (2008)

Fox News claims a mural of Obama at a Philly polling station, that was ordered to be covered by a Judge, was not properly covered (2012)
Obama vs Romney - CNN (2012)
We appreciate the ability to tell these stories by virtue of the presence of public Web archives such as the Internet Archive. We also appreciate frameworks such as the Memento protocol that provide a means to access multiple web archives, and tools such as Sawood's Memgator which implements the memento protocol. For the comprehensive list of mementos (extracted with Memgator) for these stories see: Table vis or Timeline vis.
--Nwala

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