Media Matters

You hear it all the time – the media is in the bag for the “liberals”. The mainstream media is left leaning… These days you hear they are “against Trump” or “rigging the election” or they “are part of a “rigged system”.

It is part of the Republican Alternate Reality – the media is out to get them. The only problem with that is it simply isn’t true. The media’s coverage primarily leans to the right. They seem unwilling to call lies lies or to strongly confirm certain things like the science behind climate change. They have also seemed to decide that there must be two sides to every story. That facts are not necessarily facts. They don’t seem able to stand up to Republican’s and Fox news and conservatives calling them out when present facts or call BS. So they tend to cave and fall toward the right when they do.

This last election season has muddied the water and shown the erosion of the 4th estate. They fell into the morass that was Donald Trump, gave him and are still giving him almost constant media attention. The only time that it falters is when they have a negative story about Hillary Clinton. It’s been proven that Hillary Clinton receives more negative media attention than Donald Trump. Just as it’s been proven that he’s been given billions in free media. In addition, there is a real bias against the first female candidate for President both by the media and by the country. The media, however, are the ones who continue to raise and repeat some of the problems – Hillary isn’t trusted, Hillary isn’t transparent, Hillary yells, she isn’t authentic – you get the gist. However, Hillary has been the most honest candidate throughout the election – it’s another of those pesky facts. Still she is called dishonest but Trump who lies about (or at least) 70% of the time is not. Explain that in any other way than a bias against Hillary (as a Clinton and as a woman)

I’m going to go through a few things related to the current election that I think confirm my case and are relevant in these last few days of the election.

Donald Trump has received billions in free media and while yes some of it has been negative, little of it has delved into it the real issues that should be discussed, where possible I compare it to coverage of Hillary in similar situations or how the media bias, if any, falls.

  • Trump has still never released his taxes – the media has quit asking for it
  • In contrast Hillary Clinton has released all of her taxes back some 40 years

Media conclusion is that Hillary Clinton is not transparent. Trump’s refusal was a sidelight of well what can we do. We can’t make him release his taxes. They asked about it – for a while – and then they just stopped. I have never heard Trump called “not transparent” despite the fact that we will never see his taxes and everything else we don’t know about his business. His campaign has acknowledged that seeing his taxes would hurt him if we did see them. In addition, we are pretty sure that he doesn’t pay taxes.

Since we have Hillary Clinton’s taxes let me make a different comparison – Hillary Clinton delayed in revealing that she had pneumonia by about 48 hours and she was ripped apart by the media as being “not transparent”. For about a week all we heard about was how this was another sign of the “Clinton ways of hiding the truth”. When all she did was get sick… The result was a significant drop in her poll numbers – all because she got sick and didn’t tell the country immediately. To the media that confirmed everything we know about Hillary, she is secretive, hides things, incompetent. A negative narrative that never would have been made about a man and one that succeeded in damaging her because of the way the story was framed. You have George Bush got sick, threw up in the ambassadors lap, oh well that happens. But for Hillary, it was this proves everything we know about Hillary Clinton.

Next – when the media got a few pages from Trump’s 1995 and saw a loss of almost a billion dollars and indications confirmed through various other sources and somewhat by Trump himself is that he doesn’t pay taxes. There wasn’t a conversation about how this businessman lost almost a billion dollars. No, the media played along with the narrative – this makes him smart. There wasn’t a deep dive into his finances or his business record. no the media got distracted by the next thing. They have 24 hours a day how could they focus on more than one thing at a time.

Missing – Given that Trump has never held any form of public office what we are supposed to be assessing him on is his business record. So let’s look at just a couple of things:

  • Few have asked and there has never been resolution on what happens with the conflicts of interest with Trumps Business not just his Foundation. Here’s a few examples:
    • He’s got international contracts we deserve to know about
    • He’s got international debts we deserve to know that
    • He’s got properties and obligations around the world
    • His brand makes goods around the world
    • He has business interests in this country

I’m sure there is more. The thing is that we don’t know much about his business interests and that is unforgivable. While we, on occasion, learn a bit about Trump or there are things that I (we) have learned over the years about Trump there has been no concerted effort to look at his business obligation, conflicts of interest, etc. The thing is the majority of the media is ignoring Trumps business record. We have not heard about things like:

  • Trump has had I think it is 6 bankruptcies
  • Trump was put on an allowance by the banks
  • Trump regularly does not pay his subcontractors
  • Trump regularly uses undocumented workers (including models like his wife)

Some of these have been touched upon but they fall away at other Trump scandals. That there has not been major conversations about the conflicts of interests that Trump has or how they will be dealt with if he is President is unimangebable, except that it is true. The closest we get is that his business may go into a “blind trust” and his kids would run that and they wouldn’t talk about it. The fact that Trump knows his own organization and where his business interests are is handily ignored, almost all of the time. One thing we have learned is that Trump is very invested in promoting his own business and anyone who thinks that would stop after he is elected is a fool. It’s malpractice that this hasn’t been hammered away at. That wouldn’t be partisan it would be what the media is supposed to do.

In Contrast

The Clinton Foundation which is a non-profit foundation that has saved millions of lives around the world. It is a leading philanthropic organization that does real good both in the US and around the world and is a constant topic of discussion. It is called a major conflict of interest and there are calls to close it or to have the ENTIRE FAMILY, including Chelsea, no longer associated with the foundation. The Clinton’s are doing just that to avoid even the perception of impropriety. But they aren’t given credit – no – they aren’t doing enough. Do you sense any bias here?

Or

Bill Clinton, the Former President of the United States, made money making speeches as a private citizen so did Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, former Senator, former Secretary of State. This is something that most people with their records do and the remuneration they received was equal or in Hillary’s case, usually less, than people of commiserate experience. This is a constant topic of discussion and a “see we told you so” sense of the Clinton’s doing something unseemly. I have never figured out what that is. Do you know of any poor ex-Presidents? Do you sense any bias here?

At the same time, the Clinton Foundation was raising money to do good work. Just as confirmation, Hillary didn’t start receiving speaking fees until after her term as SoS. So the big news is that Bill and Chelsea Clinton raised money for the Clinton Foundation and worked for the foundation (without salaries) to do good work in the US and around the world. Bill Clinton also worked giving speeches, consulting, and writing books. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State during 4 years of that. She occasionally met with people (like Bill and Melinda Gates) who also donated to the Clinton Foundation. There is some talk of pay to play – but nobody can find any. There is no hint that Hillary gave favors or directed policy and for what? donations to a foundation that saves lives. Where is the there there? But it is still narrated as a “well they must be doing something wrong here”. Do you sense any bias here?

So you see and you know that we hear way more about the Clinton Foundation than you ever have about Trump’s businesses. Which way does the bias fall?

There are so many of examples of this – think President Obama’s birth certificate, or Benghazi – try to remember what it was about when Romney used it against Obama – in the last election.

We need the media. There are a lot of really good people and places but we also have a system that is somewhat out of control. The rise of Trump and the media’s coverage of him has shown how badly things can go wrong. We need to be aware. We need to require a certain standard from our media. We need to be willing to pay for what we used to get – reporting. We need to be sure that opinion is separate from news.

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