Category Archives: Media Watch

U.S. political media on life support after NBC Matt Lauer forum

NBC's Matt Lauer with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

NBC’s Matt Lauer with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Wednesday night’s NBC News “Commander-in-Chief Forum” has been roundly criticized. In particular, moderator Matt Lauer is taking the heat for his biased, amateurish performance. However, the NBC forum is just one of many examples of the U.S. Beltway media tipping the scales against Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump in this election, and failing to do their job. One Twitter user even started the hashtag “#LaueringTheBar” to describe this trend. With the first presidential debate just days away, time is quickly running out to cure the problem.

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.

Playing the Clinton vs. Trump debate expectations game

Donald Trump debates Donald Trump

Donald Trump debates Donald Trump

We’re in the post-convention phase of the 2016 elections, where the next big events planned are the presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Assuming that Trump agrees to have the debates, many Democrats assume that Clinton is going to wipe the floor with Trump, and that he is simply going to embarrass himself. Such an assumption is a mistake. Instead, it’s important to recognize, and play, the debate expectations game.

Trump’s treasonous troubles

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump is not having a good week. Trump managed to cast himself as both unpatriotic and treasonous within the space of a few days. First, Trump invited Russia to commit cyber espionage against the U.S. in order to influence the upcoming presidential election in Trump’s favor, which many have called possibly treasonous or at least a violation of the Logan Act. Then Trump attacked the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan, a U.S. soldier of Muslim faith who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while protecting his troops. Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton‘s lead against Donald Trump is now growing.

Democrats take patriotism back from the Republicans

Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Beginning in 1980 and throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan appropriated the idea of patriotism and America and planted it firmly with the Republican Party. This week, however, at their national convention and with a big boost from Donald Trump, the Democratic Party and their presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took patriotism back.

Raucous unity at the Democratic National Convention

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at recent unity event in New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at recent unity event in New Hampshire

The diverse, outspoken and sometimes raucous Democratic Party was on full display on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania yesterday. This is the party whose unity is likened to “herding cats.” On the other hand, the outbursts from some delegates at the convention hardly spelled doom and gloom, as some chattering heads on the cable TV news networks intimated. Rather, if you caught the unfiltered convention proceedings via live stream or C-SPAN, you saw a political party reach a noisy state of unity, as only the Democrats can do.

Welcome to the Trump Republican National Convention train wreck

Ill-fated Trump/Pence "TP" logo.

Ill-fated Trump/Pence “TP” logo.

On Monday, several of Donald Trump‘s campaign staffers were involved in a minor car accident in New York City. That was nothing compared to the train wreck that is the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, and the events of the previous days. Here are some of the many things that have gone wrong for the Trump campaign and the Republican Party in just the past week:

Hillary Clinton snoozes to victory

Hillary Clinton campaign truck.

Hillary Clinton campaign truck.

The above headline is exactly what the mainstream media have been trying to avoid for a year and a half. If you’ve ever watched a one-sided sports event, you’ll know the reason why: viewers will tune out, and that’s bad for business. So what we all need to remember is that the mainstream media’s goal during this entire election season is to create more drama, which leads to higher ratings, and money for themselves. This business incentive can be seen in the coverage of Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server as Secretary of State, which the FBI just cleared as not a criminal offense.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders take a beating at Politicon 2016

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson delivers keynote address at Politicon 2016.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson delivers keynote address at Politicon 2016.

The second Politicon began yesterday in Pasadena, California and continues today. Politicon is billed as “an unconventional political convention” which brings together the most diverse array of political and entertainment figures this side of the White House Correspondents Dinner, including comedians Larry Wilmore and Lizz Winstead; U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California; political consultants James Carville and Paul Begala; conservative media figures Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck; Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson; former Mexican President Vicente Fox and many more. Perhaps the mere fact that this diverse group was featured at Politicon makes them all “establishment” in a way. If so, that might explain why, at yesterday’s event, criticism of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders was widespread.

Democratic revolution in U.S. House

U.S. House Democrats stage anti-gun violence sit-in on House floor

U.S. House Democrats stage anti-gun violence sit-in on House floor

Yesterday, the type of “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for but did not deliver during the 2016 Democratic Party primaries was launched instead by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. In a stunning, unprecedented move, Democratic Representatives protested the Republican majority and the National Rifle Association by staging a “sit-in” on the House floor after the Republicans refused to vote on gun violence legislation in the wake of the June 12 Orlando, Florida nightclub shootings in which 49 people were killed by a man using a semi-automatic assault-type rifle and a semi-automatic pistol.