US corporate media is to blame for the awful presidential choices this election. Americans are tasked with choosing the next president and the best the two-party system could muster was a Conservative corporatist and Fascist dictator.
The 3rd and 4th party candidates are unlikely to win. So, the best possible outcome is a Clinton victory paired with both 3rd and 4th party candidates reaching the 5% of the total vote threshold making their parties eligible for federal funding in the next election cycle. This will provide the funding needed to gain ballot access in all states.
At present, Americans must choose between Corrupt and Corrupt-er while the news machine narrates an impactful presidential election like a horse race. (Sigh)
Propaganda = ratings
Media is one powerful voice in an election. But what happens when corporations own all the mainstream news? Further, what happens when these stations’ interests contradict voters’ interests?
Inflammatory rhetoric, lies, and propaganda, invade the airwaves. Such media sews the seeds of contempt in the hearts and minds of voters. Americans are kept fighting amongst each other instead of fighting the root of the problem. The problem stems from untold quantities of money in the political system. Laws now work to keep corporations and the wealthy in power at the expense of the middle and poor classes.
Let’s be brutally honest for a moment: if corporate news actually reported the news, Trump wouldn’t be a threat to the nation’s, or world’s, future. The very idea that Trump is a serious contender for the presidency is an indictment of the corporate news. It isn’t a watchdog press, anymore. It’s a business concerned with ratings. It isn’t concerned with creating an informed electorate. Facts hurt the bottom line. Therefore, news becomes entertainment and policy discussions are thrown out the window.
Identifying and interpreting corporate news bias
Don’t fall prey to any preconceived notions that Americans are too stupid to understand corporate media is biased. Indeed, Americans are well aware of it but haven’t exactly figured out how to digest the news to use it in any meaningful way.
A recent Suffolk/ USA Today poll found most Americans believe the media is biased in the favour of Clinton. When asked, “Who do you think the media, including major newspapers and TV stations, would like to see elected president, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?” 75% of participants (including 74% of Clinton supporters) answered with Clinton. Only 7% answered with Trump.
The study seems to suggest viewers think corporate news is biased against Trump.
Encouragingly, Americans identify a bias. However, the problem is that average Americans largely don’t have the tools to analyse corporate news in a meaningful way.
1) Corporate news needs high ratings to profit. This profit-driven incentive quashes legitimate policy discussions. It creates an uninformed electorate groomed to crave salacious gossip instead of fact-based policy reporting. Further, corporate news feeds an ugly trend of anti-intellectualism, which has dire consequences in such an important election. Therefore, corporate news could be responsible the election of a dictator because it just needed to make more profits.
2) The challenge is persuading viewers to digest and analyse corporate news before simply discarding it as valueless, or merely entertainment. Of course, viewers could (and often do) seek out alternative independent sources of news. However, millions of Americans are still using corporate news as a legitimate means of information.
So often, coverage of Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies but everything to do with Trump’s “bad behaviour”. Participants in the Suffolk/USA Today study likely interpret corporate news as picking on Trump. He often contradicts himself in the same breath and says the most outlandish things. So, corporate news covers the outrageous Trump quotes to exploit ratings for profit. Policy discussions get lost in the mix.
However, corporate news covers Trump’s policies even less than Clinton’s. The FBI’s email investigation and the Senate committee’s findings on Benghazi were reported on relentlessly – even when there was no new information! The study suggests that viewers think the investigations into Clinton’s emails and dealings as Secretary of State are newsworthy, and critical information to decide who to vote for; whereas, reporting on something like Trump’s bankruptcies seems like splitting hairs.
Here’s where the second point becomes relevant. Viewers need tools to digest and analyse corporate news and to think about it thoughtfully. It’s often the consideration of real-world ramifications that gets lost in the mix when corporate media bias is identified. Corporate news anchors and journalists seem to only report on the gossipy and salacious aspects of the day’s news and almost always fail to explain stories’ significance.
Just because corporate news covers a story about Trump’s six bankruptcies, doesn’t mean it’s not true, or more importantly, that it’s irrelevant to the presidential election. No, it’s not just a hit piece on Trump. Rather, it serves to identify Trump’s propensity to make risky financial decisions and inability to take responsibility for his debts. And further, reckless unaccountable behaviour is relevant to potentially disqualify Trump’s fitness for president.
Indeed, Trump declared that he loves debt, is the king of debt, and that if he were to become president he would discharge the US’s debt by declaring bankruptcy.
The real-world consequence of Trump’s plan would be a global economic crash leading to global depression. Therefore, in the very near future, Americans could be living in a 3rd world country where jobs, food, and shelter are scarce. –And THAT seems much more pertinent to viewers’ interests than merely reporting that Trump is a naughty boy that declared bankruptcy 6 times.
There’s also been no good corporate news reporting on the pay-to-play politics of the Clinton Foundation, which is relevant to determine the fitness of a presidential candidate. More wars and more foreign aid money are on the line. Corporate media is too busy discussing Clinton’s emails to report on the very important dealings of the Clinton Foundation. Profit got in the way of valuable news reporting, again.
Both candidates deserve their fair share of scrutiny.
The takeaway is the utter failure of corporate news to perform its job. Instead of filling its airwaves with facts and thoughtful policy discussions, it hosted a popularity contest. There are no winners in this contest but all Americans are the losers.
Corporate news should be under investigation for unduly influencing a presidential election. Trump received more airtime than any of the other candidates combined.
That equates to loads more hours more hate, bigotry, and right-wing propaganda invading the minds of the young, the uninformed, and the cash-strapped Millennials that simply don’t have the time to sort through this mess.