If you want see everything that’s wrong with our media and how it covers elections, just check out this clip from today’s episode of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC.
Nothing about which candidate is going to break up the big banks, nothing about how each candidate plans to deal with our trillion-dollar student loan problem, and certainly nothing about fast-track and the TPP.
Instead, just an endless back-and-forth about “likeability,” because why talk about issues that actually matter to people when you can talk about which candidates seem nicer than the others?
It’s the whole “who would you rather have a beer with?” thing all over again, and it’s just as meaningless.
It doesn’t matter whether someone is “likeable” or not. What matters is whether or not they care about issues that affect real people and whether or not they’re willing to fight for those issues, regardless of what the billionaires think.
The rest is just nonsense, as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pointed out during a recent appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Bernie Sanders slams press for campaign coverage on CNN’s Reliable Sources
As usual, Bernie is right.
Elections are not popularity contests – or at least they shouldn’t be.
They’re a chance for voters and candidates to have an honest conversation about the problems facing this country.
But the media don’t want that.
What mainstream news wants is for everyone to treat elections like they’re “American Idol,” where voters pick candidates based on how attractive they are or how much star appeal they can bring.
That’s because the media know that if they ever actually talked about real issues, no one would vote Republican.
And that terrifies the people who run the media.
The executives, the board members, the advertisers – they’re all multi-millionaires who don’t want to see their taxes go up, and don’t want to see their media empires regulated or even, as Bernie Sanders has suggested, broken up.
So instead of giving us news, they give us infotainment and gossip. And even when they do cover candidates who care about the issues, they try to marginalize them or only talk about them in the context of horse race politics.
Case in point: how the mainstream media cover Bernie Sanders.
Right now, Bernie is galvanizing voters all across the country, and is one of the few candidates to actually have an honest opinion about the biggest political story of the summer – the TPP.
But when he appears on so-called premier shows like “Meet the Press,” he just gets asked questions about Hillary Clinton.
This is what the mainstream news does.
Chuck Todd had a perfect chance to dig deep into Bernie’s call for a “political revolution,” but he instead he decided to shift the conversation back to Hillary Clinton’s “trustworthiness.”
This turns Bernie into a protest candidate who only matters insofar as he affects Hillary Clinton’s status as the Democratic front-runner.
US voters deserve better than this.
We deserve a rich conversation about where this country is headed and which candidate is best equipped to put us in the right direction.
But we’re not going to get it out of the mainstream media because the mainstream media care more about protecting their interests and the interests of corporate advertisers than about telling us what’s really going on.
The corporate media in the US will never tell you that, but now that you know, pass it on.
Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling Project Censored Award winning author and host of a nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his website and find out what stations broadcast his radio program. He also now has a daily independent television program, The Big Picture, syndicated by FreeSpeech TV, RT TV, and 2oo community TV stations.
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