The mainstream media are reverse engineering the 2016 election

Republican Presidential Primary debate, September 16, 2015

Republican Presidential Primary debate, September 16, 2015

If you are trying to decode the rather bizarre mainstream media coverage of the 2016 election, it’s pretty simple: The corporate mainstream media are reverse engineering the election to suit their profit motives, and maybe their political biases as well. Take a look at what they’re doing, after the jump:

This is the apparent reverse engineering plan that the mainstream media are following:

1. They want more money.

2. More money requires higher ratings, and more eyeballs.

3. Higher ratings and more eyeballs require drama, fireworks, great TV and a close “horse race.” Indeed, it’s very telling that the MSM call the election a “race,” rather than something else, like a “contest” or, I don’t know, an “election.”

4. A close horse race requires that the far and away early favorite to win the presidency, Hillary Clinton, be attacked constantly, even falsely, by the MSM so that her rivals in both the Democratic and Republican parties stand a better chance. Of course, Republicans are attacking Hillary because they are threatened by her chances, and the MSM are more than willing to do less work by regurgitating phony GOP talking points.

5. Great TV and a great story means that CNN breaks its own rules to include Carly Fiorina in their Republican debate main event, setting up a possible clash between two female candidates, Fiorina and Clinton. The rest of the MSM willingly comply, falling all over themselves to say that Fiorina won the debate (as they also said to a large extent after the previous Republican “kid’s table” debate, even prompting predictions then that the media would promote Fiorina and somehow include her in the next debate.)

6. Likewise, a close horse race requires that the Republicans’ odds-on favorite to win the nomination, John Ellis Bush, be given essentially a free pass from the mainstream media. For example, just yesterday, Bush was covered in this trifling article about — wait for it — his Anglophilia.

7. Finally (or firstly, if you’re going forward), great TV means focusing nearly 24-7 on master showman and reality TV host Donald Trump.

Once you recognize this MSM reverse engineering, it’s not difficult to understand why the CNN moderators, and of course the Fox News moderators before them, did not call out the many false statements by the Republican candidates in the two GOP presidential debates thus far. These include:

  • John Ellis Bush on the biggest lie of Wednesday night’s debate — that his brother George W. Bush “kept us safe.” In fact, the 9/11 attacks, the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor, happened on Bush’s watch, and worse, they occurred after Bush received a series of briefings during 2001 specifically warning that “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
  • In Wednesday night’s debate, no one called out Carly Fiorina on her lies about Planned Parenthood, or her calling her stepdaughter her “daughter” during an emotional mention of the effects of drug use.
  • In two debates, no one has asked Chris Christie about Bridgegate, even though another shoe dropped just days earlier as a federal corruption investigation into the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which (along with Christie’s Port Authority appointee Chairman David Samson) was heavily implicated in Bridgegate, led to the resignation of United Airlines‘ CEO and other top executives.
  • In two debates, no one has asked Jeb Bush about steering $250 million in Florida pension funds to Lehman Brothers, then taking a $1.3 million job with Lehman right after leaving office.

Does anyone think that, when the Democrats have their debates, the moderators won’t ask Hillary Clinton about Benghazi, or her use of emails? Again, this double standard can be explained by reverse engineering. (That’s at best. At worst, you can throw in a Republican bias in the corporate mainstream media.)

In another telling moment, a guest on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” gushing over Tapper’s debate moderating, said on Thursday that candidates can no longer merely recite their record during debates; rather,  they must “create moments” that will play well on social media. Likewise, Tapper said before the debate that CNN’s primary goal was to “pit candidates against the other.” Note how this focus no longer even includes a pretense about actual qualifications of the candidates, or facts which voters need to make up their minds.

This is a case where conservatives, liberals, Republicans and Democrats have something in common: we’re all being played. While there’s nothing wrong with a corporate profit motive per se, there is something very wrong when such motive (again, at best) so distorts coverage of the 2016 election as to possibly affect the results.

What’s the solution to this mainstream media reverse engineering? Easy. We’ll refer you to our recent post, “Bypass the corporate mainstream media.”

Photo by Peter Stevens, used under Creative Commons license.

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