I get frustrated listening to the media driving messaging especially when their messaging is influenced by the public response, particularly social media and other news networks. Examples are everywhere.
There is an almost palpable fear in the media when it comes to anything that says that Bernie Sanders cannot be the Democratic nominee or in reality criticizing him in any way. They haven’t vetted him in any substantial way. When he has made mistakes in interviews, noting that very few asked questions that went deeper than his talking points, he has been given do-overs – literally word for word. The first time I saw that if was on Morning Joe and I was astonished. Mika read the question. Bernie gave his revised, memorized response, and beamed that he “got it right” and that was the end of it. I’ve heard justifications. Bernie wasn’t going to be the nominee so it wasn’t worth it. But then Bernie is given continued coverage as if he could still win the nomination.
Messaging steps in and says that because Bernie will not believe the math Hillary is somehow weak or not exciting. The media usually won’t fully explain how far ahead Hillary Clinton really is; instead they are always comparing this race to 2008. Even Hillary and her supporters make the comparison. For the media it makes everything more exciting. For Hillary she kept running in 2008 and she so its “only fair” that Bernie keeps running. Though 2008was a much different race. Hillary also isn’t supposed to alienate Bernie’s supporters. Hillary’s own messaging here isn’t as good as it should be. It feels like she has been hemmed in by the media and the Bernie supporters.
There is a media effect in how Hillary is perceived versus the male candidates. She is judged to a higher standard. If you listen virtually everything about her is turned negative where it turns mostly positively for the male candidates. Hillary has more votes than Trump or Bernie but that doesn’t give her any advantage as it would for the men in the race. She is judged as not exciting. Her progressive policies are forgotten, or set aside when Bernie says his are so much more. No one brings the facts into the equation any more. Hillary has so many policies with such detailed plans she hasn’t been allowed to consolidate into a message that is easy for the media to absorb.
Donald Trump is the candidate that the media made. His racist, misogynist, horrific lies are dismissed or shrugged off as Trump being Trump. Even when he calls the media miserable human beings they cover him constantly and excuse him. Hillary Clinton is usually pulled into the conversation as also being negatively perceived also. That negative perception is also built by the media and the republicans. Hillary is very popular but that is ignored. She has always been very well received until she runs for a position of power. When the media is saying that she is not popular, not trustworthy that is how she is how polls tend to fall. When she or others are asked why she is seen as untrustworthy it is hard to answer because the message of there is no there there in any of the so-called investigations is not what the media wants to hear.
As citizens we are duty bound to put the expectations on the media that their reporting should be based in facts. We have to go beyond the messaging to the truth. We have to look at who a candidate is, where the facts are, what the policies are, whether the primary system is actually rigged. We need to be engaged citizens every day.
The messaging may be easy to absorb but we can’t let that make our decisions. Right now we are being fed more and opinions and flat out lies. It is up to us to know where facts lie and hold our media accountable to find and present facts and not rest on the ease of messaging.