Posted: 06/25/16 23:38, Edited: 06/27/16 01:47
by Dave Mindeman
The election analysis this year is horribly frustrating. The amount of opinions based on meager and anecdotal information has risen to new heights. Probably because there is just too much airtime to fill on competing 24 hour news channels (and one fabrication channel - spelled F-O-X).
Seriously, how can you possibly examine Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton..or for that matter, Bernie Sanders in any kind of fact oriented way, if your priority is to look for the punch line or insult or outrageous fact that can swing a few extra viewers your way...in an important demographic.
Now I do not lump the entire media into this circus. There are very good news organizations out there that do an excellent job of digging for the basics using real facts. Washington Post - New York Times - NPR come to mind. Generally, I trust the print media more than television cable....because it is a given that they have to take more time to research things because print media is not as susceptible at getting caught up in the need for "breaking news".
Let's take a couple of examples....
Regarding Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Yes, it is a serious issue but to report every single release as if THIS is the story that finally reveals some huge truth is ridiculous. The latest "discovery" of an e-mail buried in the state department files that referenced an e-mail Hillary sent to Huma Abedin about how best to handle an internal process for protecting her privacy had all sorts of sinister threads read into it. If she was "hiding" this one, how many more are out there? Or anything sent from Sec. Clinton to her personal aide must automatically be State Department property. And, of course, this would be the final straw in the FBI case.
No, it isn't. I am not saying that something serious won't come from this investigation, but the vast majority of what is currently "breaking news" on this issue is pure drivel. No matter how much her opponents within the Party and without, want this to be BIG....it simply isn't.
And then there is Donald Trump. Scads of commentators linked the Brexit vote to some kind of boost for the Trump campaign. How would that be? Yes, maybe some of the same type of disgruntled voters are exerting some kind of frustration at the ballot box, but realistically as a benefit to Donald Trump, it's a stretch. And I say that because any reasonable person can look at Trump's reactions and statements about Brexit - and can come to only one conclusion. This guy has no idea what it is about. His only factual comment about it was to talk about how the British pound going down would increase overseas business for his new Scottish golf club. His press conference was more like a Home Shopping Network pitch for becomine a Turnberry member.
Let's just say it bluntly. Trump is an idiot. And if I were a Republican I would be embarrassed to have him as a Presidential nominee.
He knows nothing about economics - only about how to sell...and not only in the honest ways of selling. I have seen better pitches from some pretty low life, dishonest used car salesman. (Not to disparage good used car salesman by comparing them with Trump).
He knows nothing about the military, the weaponry, or what he would look for in asking for expertise. It is all about his allusions of being strong. And if people would just pay attention, he has yet to tell us anything specific about why he believes the military is weak. His facts are only based on his "big brain".
And the media is fearful of calling him on this horse puckey (I'm trying to be nice). They are so busy chasing after people to get reactions to every stupid idea and word out of his mouth that they seem to be incapable of assessing the fact that he doesn't know what he is talking about.
And then there is Bernie. It is obvious that Bernie wants to discuss and talk about policy. Yet, every interview begins and ends with..."why won't you support Hillary"...or "why are you taking so long to drop out"... or "is what you just said a concession speech?"... it's nuts. Has the media become so bored with policy or so determined to get a "breaking news quip" that they gloss over any policy idea as inconsequential? Where is the news outlet that thinks about minimum wage or trade policy or military interventions or the rising poverty rate or infrastructure decline? Can they tear themselves away from "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" long enough to examine a true American issue?
We are stuck with news as infotainment. We are. The profit motive has overwhelmed the news media. There was a time when news networks would take a stand about corporate sponsorships...they would not allow ad funding taint a news cycle or threaten their editors. Now, some news stories look like corporate ads. Or they fear offending their main sponsors. Or are so afraid of getting left behind on a story that they will take any kind of rumor and sell it as fact.
Donald Trump is a media candidate for a media age. This is what has happened to us. I fear we are stuck with it. Like I said, there are some media outlets that I can still respect, but they are getting fewer and fewer. And what is more important, the electorate is supporting the sensational more than the factual. So it is not all the media's fault.
If a candidate like Trump can win an election, then this country is in deep, deep trouble.
And the only real solution to that is us. We need to demand factual information. To separate news from opinion. To recognize a slant in a story...and filter it appropiately. And do our own research so we can recognize real truth.
After Brexit, the British people's most prominent Google search was for the European Union. Hard to believe you can make an informed vote on an issue you know nothing about.
But then, we do have Trump. America can never claim any kind of high moral ground, because we have to explain the Trump phenomenon.
As the British would say, he's a tosser.