News media recycle Clinton/Sanders playbook in Clinton/Trump race

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at unity rally in July 2016.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at unity rally in July 2016.

Hillary Clinton is in trouble.” “The race is close.” Those are the types of statements we heard from the news media during the Democratic Party primaries between Clinton and Bernie Sanders earlier this year. In truth, the Democratic primary race wasn’t that close. Clinton won by hundreds of delegates and millions of votes, and her victory arguably came as early as the New York primary on April 19, followed the next week by the Connecticut/Pennsylvania/Maryland/Delaware/Rhode Island primaries, when Sanders lost by many delegates, which he failed to gain back thereafter.

Yet the mainstream corporate media did everything they could to create an artificially close horse race between Clinton and Sanders. One key tactic the media employed was to play up phony scandals against Clinton, play down similar stories against Sanders (his illegitimate son, he and his wife’s possible financial shenanigans, his failure to show his tax returns as his campaign had repeatedly promised, etc). Now that Clinton is battling Donald Trump in the general election, the national press are doing the same thing to make for a phony horse race between them.

In covering the election this way, the news media are failing to report numerous actual issues of substance on which the candidates disagree (climate change, minimum wage, gun safety laws, taxes, healthcare and many more), as well as fundamentals that likely will have a profound effect on the election. One of the most important fact-based fundamentals being ignored by the mainstream media in this election is the growing Latino demographic. In battleground states in particular (such as Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and Virginia), the Latino population has grown greatly in recent years. Well-regarded analysts have stated that, to win the 2016 election, any Republican needs a hefty percentage of these voters to win. And Donald Trump isn’t winning them. On the contrary, Trump is getting a historically low level of support from Latino voters. This alone could translate into an electoral landslide in November, where, as long-time political analyst Eleanor Clift on a recent Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, a national margin of victory of just three to five percentage points translates to “330 electoral votes” for Clinton.

Perhaps more fundamentally, none of the stories about Hillary Clinton that the mainstream media are covering are substantive political issues, meaning issues on which one or more of the three branches of government (or state or local governments) take action to affect our lives directly. In contrast, Donald Trump has been getting massive press coverage on his immigration stance, which is his key substantive political issue. Likewise, the national press have not been hounding Trump on his numerous scandals, including his failure to release his tax returns, his phony doctor’s note regarding his health, child rape allegations, Trump University fraud allegations, pay-to-play with Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, accusations that Trump is working on behalf of Vladimir Putin to undermine America, charges about illegal immigration status of underage models working for Trump, allegations that his wife Melania is an illegal immigrant and even a former prostitute, and many more.

We recently learned that Fox News instructed its on-air staff to express doubts about climate change science. Similarly, we’re seeing the evidence every day that many in the national press are doing everything they can to ignore basic journalistic principles and simply will the 2016 presidential election closer, at best in order to make a buck.

Photo by Marc Nozell, used under Creative Commons license. https://is.gd/o2lT7U

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