Posted by: minnow | October 16, 2016

Entertainment Isn’t News

Ever since Donald Trump became the heir apparent to the GOP crown, we have seen numerous attempts by the media to explain how it happened. Thoughtful conservatives, whether fiscally or morally motivated, are in shock. And, more and more of these same conservatives are parting ways with the Grand Old Party as a result. They simply refuse to climb in bed with the fiscally reckless and morally bankrupt Trump, even if it means Hillary Clinton becomes president.

So, how DID it happen? We have the first woman to be nominate by a major political party, a person more qualified than any previous candidate to run for the office, and a second candidate who has never spent a day in public service, is less qualified than any previous candidate, and the most publicly vulgar individual we have ever had run for the office, and still, SHE has been just as hard a sell to voters as he is?

Something is seriously wrong with this picture but the problem is NOT Hillary Clinton. Nor, interestingly enough, is the problem Donald Trump, though he is his own brand of problem.

Quite frankly, the reason these two candidates have been running neck and neck (until Trump’s most recent scandal, that is) lies squarely at the feet of the media.  The “fourth estate” is no longer in the business of truth telling, news reporting, fact finding, or serious story telling.  Instead, it is in the ratings game, the business of entertainment, and the sensationalizing of every scandalous story it can get its hands on.  Surprisingly, they even admit it.  Just before the first presidential debate, Chris Wallace, the host of FOX News, said it won’t be his job–as a moderator of an upcoming presidential debate to be the “truth squad”.

Yet, the rest of the world sees him, and other newspeople, as someone who should know the facts.  Sadly, when he offers no follow-up question to get to the truth, when he avoids confronting the interviewee, the public assumes the speaker said nothing wrong.  When a person is allowed to tell the same lies over and over again without challenge, without being asked to prove their accuracy the public’s perception becomes skewed.

For almost 30 years Hillary Clinton has had to answer accusation after accusation.  Even when she’s been cleared by investigators of any wrong doing, even when her accusers offer no evidence, even when the facts are in her favor.  Policies aside, if no names were attached to the resumes and the only information the public had was the list of their accomplishments and service no one could honestly say Trump would make a better president than Clinton.  No one.  But honestly, the media’s treatment of Clinton just set the stage for this election.  Their other decision nearly spelled our doom.

Trump’s selling power (because he is so ridiculously easy to joke about and make fun of), coupled with the media’s greed for ratings meant he has received an inordinate amount of attention.  He garnered so much attention that the other GOP candidates had trouble getting any. (Let’s face it–even Cruz was dull by comparison).  The estimate is, Trump was handed 3 billion dollars worth of free air time–3 BILLION dollars worth.

Sadly, we refused to recognize the danger until it was nearly too late. As the nominee for a major political party Trump received the legitimacy he lacked.  Had he actually had some degree of self restraint, had he one or two policy ideas he could (and would) actually promote the media might have dug us an inescapable hole.  Fortunately for the press, and the American people, Trump’s scandals just might undermine his victory–no thanks to the press.

Unfortunately, the damage to our safety and international reputation has already occurred.  That some members of the press still claim it is not their job to help the public understand the truth about Trump’s lies and ignorance completely baffles me. But, even without THAT craziness, the obsession on the part of the press to continually point out Hillary’s every “misstep” is mind boggling: ‘She nearly passed out during a 9-11 memorial service.  They say its pneumonia but could it be something bigger.  You know she hit her head 5 years ago, maybe…’  Trump is heard talking about groping women, making sexual advances that are not consensual.  He faces hearing in December for raping a 13 year old girl.  But Hillary, she stood by her man. REALLY!??!  Can any sane person seriously argue that these two actions are comparable?

Now a word specifically to the media:

Even though the public laughed at the Late Night stand-up routines lampooning Trump, is that a good enough reason for legitimate news sources to give Trump a pass?  Is it a valid reason to show clip after clip of his bombastic rhetoric as though he actually had something of value to say. The media has forgotten its first calling: reporting real events, no matter how unpopular, informing the public of the FACTS and the hard truths. The minute you began to care more about an attractive face, broad shouldered men and good figured women than an anchor’s ability to think, and reason, and postulate, the NEWS was lost. We need to find it again!

You pride yourselves on balance? Then start being more provocative! Because what America lacks is real, hard hitting news! We have comedy.  We have reality TV.  We have late night entertainment.  We need the serious truth.  Stumped? Try emulating The Newsroom!  

The American public is angry.  And, your trustability ratings are the lowest they have ever been.  We are entering dangerous time–thanks in part to media’s laziness and timidity.  We cannot afford to give Donald Trump, or his minions any more room to spread their lies and fear.  What comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth IS NOT NEWS just because he says it.  If you cannot substantiate his claims with an independent source, don’t report them.  Truly, it is that simple.

Please, for the sake of the American people, take back your integrity.

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