Monday, December 14, 2015

The media is electing our next president

 I saw on Facebook that Bernie Sanders said in a speech that ISIS is a serious threat but it’s not the only problem the U.S. faces and, in effect, it’s getting too much media attention. What’s significant to me is that I saw nothing about that speech on national TV or print media. It seems that the major networks have declined to cover Sanders’ campaign—as my son-in-law asked, isn’t that illegal? Aren’t they required to give equal time? But have you seen Sanders on Meet the Press? Face the Nation? Even the PBS News Hour—I admit I don’t watch that all the time so I may have missed it, but his face, his speeches, and his following have been noticeably absent from the public eye. Even Hillary Clinton is much less in the news lately, though perhaps she’s waiting for Trump and Cruz to deflate each other.

Meanwhile there isn’t a news show that goes by without mention of Donald Trump and his obsession with keeping Muslims out of the country. Trump’s distorted, angry face makes great news; Sanders, not a striking figure, doesn’t. This morning the news is all about Trump cancelling his truce with Ted Cruz. Now that’s an interesting case—my understanding is that the president must have been born on U.S. soil. Look at all the fuss birthers raised, claiming Obama was born in Kenya when, in fact, he was born in Hawaii, then a territory, now a state. Cruz on the other hand, if I have the facts straight, was born in Canada, and though he may claim dual citizenship now, the fact remains that he was not born I this country. Yet the media also considers Cruz good copy—whereas most Republicans and others who know him declare him a conniving sleaze ball. But if he’s Canadian, why are we even worrying about him?

Tom Brokaw is that last journalist I can think of that I counted on for honest, fair coverage of the news, including the political scene. Since them journalism has gone downhill. In featuring Trump and Cruz (who apparently has appallingly inhumane plans for ISIS), the news feeds the fears of some Americans and plays into the hands of ISIS. Did anybody hear President Obama this morning outlining the gains that have been made against ISIS. Does anyone recognize—or see on the news—that most mass shootings in this country have been carried out by mentally ill U.S. citizens who are not Muslim?

Listen to Bernie Sanders, folks. He may not be the next president or even the best candidate, but a whole lot of what he says makes sense—if we can afford to send men and women to war, we can afford to take care of them when they come home; the minimum wage is years outdated and expecting people to buck up and live on that meagre amount is ridiculous. And so on. Or listen to Hillary for the continuing need to work on women’s rights in this country, let alone abroad (yeah, Saudi Arabia for electing women!). On the Republican side, listen to Kasich, who has an unfortunately low profile but a strong background in government and, apparently, a good head on his shoulders (quick! Kick him off the clown car!).

I am seriously concerned that the media-fueled campaigns of Trump and Cruz are leading too many citizens astray. I can’t understand why the comparisons of Trump and Hitler don’t strike terror into every heart. But I read of a teacher who decided to show his class how easy it was for Hitler to brainwash Germans—using similar techniques, he turned the class into a group of followers with a few leaders. And then told them at the end what he’d done. It could happen here.

Remember Nazism, or Jim Jones and the Kool-Aid, or Mussolini or many other examples from history. Watch the news with a large grain of salt and seek out reliable news sources. I wish I knew what to recommend.


Polly Iyer said...

Hear, hear, Judy. Great post.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Polly. This stuff drives me mad!