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Rigged election? Thanks, media!

August 4, 2016

The 2016 Presidential election is being rigged, and the media is to blame.

Almost every election story makes it sound like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the only two candidates.

Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are almost never mentioned.  Most Americans have no idea who they are, and will be surprised to find their names on the ballot.

Journalists might defend themselves by citing the low name recognition of Libertarian candidate Johnson and Green Party candidate Stein.  But what comes first — media coverage or name recognition?

This is an exceptional year, with both Democrats and Republicans having nominated candidates who are viewed unfavorably by a solid majority of Americans.  This year, more than ever, voters would welcome knowing that there are other choices.

But too many journalists are lazy and blindly following the lockstep lead of other journalists. Heck, it’s easy to write about Trump’s latest stupidity and Clinton’s latest distortions.

“If it bleeds, it leads” is the familiar indictment of the media — and the leading two candidates are gushing from their self-inflicted wounds.  This election should be about issues, but because of the flawed character of Clinton and Trump it has become a race to the bottom.  And the “gotcha” media seem to be enjoying the circus.

But most Americans don’t want to vote for either Clinton or Trump.  So shouldn’t journalists at least let voters know that there are other choices?

Journalists shouldn’t promote any particular candidate over the others, but when most Americans are rejecting the two major candidates, shouldn’t the media at least reveal that there will be four candidates on the ballot?

Even if 90% of a given story focuses on the latest misdeeds of Clinton and Trump, what would be wrong with just one small paragraph mentioning that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are also running?

One Comment
  1. Mike Ruddell permalink

    The Eagles sang about this in the early 80’s. Some things don’t change sadly.


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