Presidential Election Media Analysis: Awful
Richard E. Vatz
A couple of thoughts on Media Coverage of the Worst Choice Election (WCE) of my lifetime:
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CNN had imbalanced panels critiquing the Democratic National Convention to the point of one night having eight liberal-leaning reporters and politicians undilutedly praising the convention principals, accompanied by one lonely Trump supporter whose tepid opposition can be explained only by his minority position.
CNN will have conservatives as political commentators periodically, but their relative paucity, accompanied by the overwhelming number of full-time progressives, should be embarrassing to a serious network.
Only a few interviews I have seen have been done with integrity, and that is generally the case with Wolf Blitzer.
But to have 8-1 left to right proportion or, more regularly 2 or 3 to one with a Democratically-leaning host is no more than caricaturing serious political investigation.
But who is surprised? I was, by Chris Wallace’s interview with Hillary Clinton:
Chris Wallace’s interview was the worst by a good interviewer I have ever seen. He did not follow up on her demonstrable mendacities. Just as one lonely example: her misrepresentations regarding what she said to the families of victims regarding a video tape being the cause of the murders is legally proved by commensurate notes made by several of them, evidence acceptable in a court of law. There were similar quick-and-dirt examinations of the conflict-of-interest violations of her State Department efforts per the favors granted to entities via their contributions to the Clinton Foundation. When I heard she had granted an interview to Wallace, I thought: you’re in trouble, lady. Wrong again. Chris, you blew it. Why were you in such a hurry to go from topic to topic? Wanted to ensure she’ll come back to Fox? She will, but when Benghazi, e-mails and the Clinton Foundation are brought up, she can say, “I already addressed those questions with Chris Wallace.”
My contempt for Hillary and Trump are on different dimensions: Hillary is crazy left, appealing to crazier left and is utterly without integrity. Trump is utterly irresponsible, unprepared, and temperamentally unsuited to be president wherein you often need at least a few days to consider actions.
I was saying for months early this year that everyone should vote for one of the two, since you trust yourself to make the decision over the general public. Hillary and Trump are unqualified for reasons that do not intersect. I cannot vote for a man who has no announced foreign policy except “Don’t anger me.” How could I ever explain to my kids that I voted for a man employing nuclear weapons out of pique?
Shame on both parties for their nominees. Shame on those supporting the 1970 McGovern rules for letting primaries determine the parties’ nominees.
There will not be a good election outcome for the nation.
Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2013)