Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Let's replace Trump-Trump-Trump with Sanders-Sanders-Sanders and Clinton-Clinton-Clinton

John Nichols (The Nation) is not very nice to the lame-stream media which laps up Trump (and other GOPlin) pronouncements like flies on horse poop (which GOP blather mainly is). Here are snippets from his critique and his sources.

If we imagine American media as a hungry beast that thinks only about its next meal, then it is easy to see why Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has gone from strength to strength. Trump feeds the beast. With calculated and constant outrageousness, he dominates news coverage not just of the race for the Republican nomination but of the entire 2016 presidential competition. As veteran political observer Larry Sabato says, “It’s Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump and Trump.”

By any rationale appraisal, candidates who are polling better are being ignored by the media. Here are examples.

Even when Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is covered (and it is important to note that she is now getting a lot less coverage than Trump), the coverage is increasingly focused on her responses to the billionaire’s obnoxious and irresponsible statements. When the Democratic front-runner calls out the Republican front-runner’s crude scheming to bar Muslims from the United States, that’s a story, to be sure. But it should also be a story when Clinton proposes a National Infrastructure Bank and a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s transportation system—as she did in St. Louis Friday.

And, as Media Matters for America has illustrated, there should be a good deal more coverage of Bernie Sanders. “The network newscasts are wildly overplaying Trump, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support, while at the same time wildly underplaying Sanders, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support,” observed Media Matters’s Eric Boehlert in a report using data from media analyst Andrew Tyndall. “Obviously, Trump is the GOP front runner and it’s reasonable that he would get more attention than Sanders, who’s running second for the Democrats. But 234 total network minutes for Trump compared to just 10 network minutes for Sanders, as the Tyndall Report found?”

Let's pursue that Tyndall Report and other polls (because Scriber is a numbers guy).

According to Tyndall’s analysis, as reported by Media Matters:

  • Trump has received more network coverage than all the Democratic candidates combined.
  • Trump has accounted for 27 percent of all campaign coverage [t]his year.
  • Republican Jeb Bush received 56 minutes of coverage, followed by Ben Carson’s 54 minutes and Marco Rubio’s 22.

Did you notice the Bush figure? He’s garnered 56 minutes of network news coverage, far outpacing Sanders, even though he is currently wallowing in fifth place in the polls among Republicans.

Both Sanders and Clinton have there devoted constituencies which number at least as much if not more than those in the Trump camp. And that translates into wins for Sanders and Clinton when compared one-on-one. For example:

There are some polls that imagine a Sanders-Trump race, however. And the most recent of these, from Quinnipiac University, has Sanders leading Trump by 9 points—with the Democrat at 49 and the Republican at 40. (In the same survey, Clinton beats Trump by 7 points.)

Surveys from a number of battleground states show Sanders swamping Trump. In Wisconsin, for instance, the latest Marquette Law School poll has Sanders beating Trump 52-35, while Clinton beats Trump 48-38.

Nichols ends by favoring not less coverage of Trump but more coverage of those candidates who are far ahead numerically and who have far more to offer America.

Trump should be covered. But so, too, should other candidates on the Republican and Democratic sides. There’s no need to dial down coverage of anyone, not Trump, not Bush. But there is a need to dial up coverage of candidates who are not Trump and who are not preaching lite variations on Trumpism—candidates like Clinton and Sanders who are speaking to America’s hopes rather than its fears, and who are attracting significantly higher levels of support than Trump.

Scriber will take that to heart. It's fun to bash GOPlins (and I won't stop). But we progressive types need to get our messages and candidates out there to show that the worst of ours is better than the best of theirs.

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