Where’s the Media Bias?

A common complaint I see among Sanders supporters is this ‘media bias’. As if the media is out to get Sanders and shut down their bid for the presidency. I do not believe this to be true (at least, not in the way these people mean it) and in this little blog post, I’m going to tell you exactly why I feel that way.

So first of all, I’m going to begin with the statement that all of this is an opinion. In my opinion, none of the candidates have truly been treated fairly in the media. At least, not in the bulk of the media. There are some media in which I beleive some candidates are being treated more fairly than others but, again, opinion. As far as television networks go, I believe Clinton has been treated fairly if not the nearest so. They are the one that has been consistently and reasonably critiqued by the news networks. The only one. If we regard Sanders, he has gotten plenty of coverage for a runner-up. Some may say more than enough. You can complain about the analysis, but you can’t complain that no networks talk about Sanders. Especially when you spout socialism left and right. That was the first thing they touched upon. I’m not sure, but I suggest that when the Sanders supporters claim that Sanders gets no (television) media coverage, what they’re really saying is that no one in the media agrees with them in that Sanders is going to go all the way. But even if it were true, even if the (television) media bias wanted to shut Sanders down, I have to ask the question: does it really matter?

The government, at the advent of public broadcasting, incentivized stations to broadcast news as a means of maintaining a well-informed populus. They did this by funding the stations under the requirement that these stations broadcast specific programming. These programs include educational programs, local news, supporting the arts, the sorts of things that make our culture, well, our culture. And maybe you disagree as to whether or not they’re fulfilling these needs. Well, I’ve got some news for you. I’ve done a little bit of research on television broadcasting. I didn’t read the entire thing. Most of it seems to apply to permits to construct, maintenance standards, and broadcasting (the waves being broadcast, that is) standards. I focused on the issues regarding what you broadcast. It turns out, that these stations can be fined if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. They have to renew a license every eight years or so. They do this by proving that their station held up its end of the deal (the whole broadcasting for public interest thing). But nowhere did I see that the broadcasting has to be unbiased (please correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll retract my statements). And that’s actually pretty good news because I don’t think that I’ve yet to see a program that is fully unbiased.

Now let’s remember that running a station costs money. To make money, you need people to be watching your channel. This incentivizes stations to broadcast popular programs. As an unintentional side-effect of this, stations need to broadcast bias. Because the fact of the matter is that people like to be told that they’re right. They like to be justified in their views. Unfortunately, this means that if stations want to reach the most people, they need to broadcast to their audience. They can’t afford to cast open a wide net and hope some people gravitate towards them. Or at least, that would be inefficient. It’s much safer and easier to just form your echo chamber and rail against the gods and have your viewers come with you. Do I like this? No. Not in the least. I agree with the sentiment that these stations should broadcast unbiased news. It SHOULD be fair. It SHOULD be balanced. When it isn’t, it just turns me off from stations. But I am in the minority, I’m an idealist. The fact of the matter is enough people want these echo chambers that the stations aren’t changing their programs.

And to be completely honest, I don’t blame them. This is their business. They’re in this to make money. I would never presume to tell others how to run their business, especially since I have no stock in this business. If you want to make changes in a business, buy stock in them. Perhaps some of you are members of a website or another. Do you realize that every time you log in, every time you enter that space, that you can be removed from it at any time? You have the right to voice any opinion you want on any website. But you need to remember that you are a guest there, and the owner has every right to remove you should they so desire. So when I see people complaining that Sanders isn’t covered enough, I can’t help but wonder if Sanders might have some agenda that is against their self-interest. Broadcasting Sanders in a favourable light can only hurt their business. Why would you demand that someone hurt their own business? So no, even if the stations are Anti-Sanders, even if that claim is substantiated, I’m not sure that it matters. The stations are under no obligation to cover Sanders in the way that you desire. They are under no obligation to broadcast unbiased programs. Hell, every educational program aimed at kids that I can think of eventually has the ‘drugs’ episode and the ‘guns’ episode. And these are topics which are covered in a VERY biased way.

Hold up though. I live in a first-world society. Maybe you do too. We have something called the Internet. Personally, I think that the Internet is a much more efficient, if not also more dangerous information highway. Ideas can spread faster than ever before, even across oceans. The Internet is here, and I fully support our new Google Overlords. And speaking of Google Overlords… maybe you’ve heard of YouTube? It’s a wonderful website full of user-generated content. And people across the world can reach other people across the world with their opinions on this YouTube. And you can hear these opinions at any time, not just at 6PM on Channel 5. Even better! You can pause and rewind broadcasts! You can carefully pull apart something that someone has said, which is a feature not everyone with a TV can abuse. What do we find on YouTube? What sorts of opinions? All sorts. If you want Pro-Sanders media, look no further. The only problem is that you have to slog through so many masses of stuff that it can be hard to find the actual “good” stuff. But like I said at the start, the internet is very messy.

Also, can we briefly mention online pubs? If ever you wanted to find Pro-Sanders media (remember, this is part of the media as well!) you better bring a raincoat because the tsunami comes. Salon.com, Huffington Post, Washington Post, LA Times, all of these pubs feature a fairly heavy Sanders bias. Why, today Salon.com published an article saying that Wisconsin was a total blowout for Sanders. He won in 99% of counties! Wow! Only they neglected to mention that Sanders only won close to 57% of the popular vote! It’s a total misrepresentation of the race! And this is the same bullshit I see coming from the Pro-Sanders camp daily. They note how Sanders wins states but not delegates. They note how Sanders wins counties and not delegates. The popular vote is the important thing when distributing delegates. Sanders got +9 from Wisconsin, barely denting the lead Clinton has over them (still well over 200+ delegates). God damn, I can’t scroll down their article list without seeing tremendously left-leaning articles. The titles make me sick to my stomach. And it gets even better! Notice how all of the TV stations favor Clinton? Many pubs favor Sanders over Clinton! Why is bias on one media acceptable while bias on the other is unacceptable? Tell me that Sanders supporters. Where is the line drawn for the hypocrisy? It’s sickening. Completely and utterly disgusting.

If we want to talk real anti-candidate bias, we should be talking about Trump. I have yet to find an outlet without bias regarding Trump. Either they’re Hitler (by the way, let’s forget that Sanders is Lenin) they’re racist, they’re some kind of extremist that breeds violence. But such claims are just propaganda. Trump has never directly told his supporters to go out and cause trouble. Granted, some violence is coming from Trump supporters, but that’s not Trump. Trump isn’t inciting this violence. Trump isn’t sending their supporters to disrupt rallies. Trump isn’t sending supporters to disrupt private, peaceful events. I recently came across a video of an experiment (in a very loose sense of the word) of a guy pretending to support Sanders and the same guy pretending to support Trump. As a Sanders supporter, it was all thumbs up, peace, and smiles. No one aggressed him. As a Trump supporter? Lots of violence, and one person even admitted that they were supporting Sanders before attacking this host. Why is Trump met with violence, while Sanders is not? Why does the media seem so intent to destroy Trump? Bias

While Clinton ‘may’ have television under wraps, Sanders has the Internet. One is vastly more powerful than the other. And it seems like the entire left is out to paint Trump a Nazi, a nationalist, a racist, and any other kind of non-white bigot. The left is scared of Trump, the right is scared of Trump. If I were Trump, I would be seriously scared of assassination right now. And I’d like to note, when I make these posts about Trump, I’m not trying to support them. I’m trying to support being fair to them. I’m trying to support being fair to every candidate. Which I don’t see happening at all. So to bring us back to where we started, is there a media bias? Most definitely. But I think if we’re going to begin the discussion about media bias, perhaps we should start with Trump.

Artemis Hunt

Where’s the Media Bias?

Tolerating Trump’s Treatment

Ah, yes, nothing like a good old alliterative title. Buckle up kids, this one is a long one. Let’s talk democracy.

What is democracy? Democracy is often translated as “Rule by the People”. The concept alone could even be called noble. Who is your ruler? You are your ruler. Who rules you? Everyone rules you. Who do you rule? You rule everyone. The reason it could be called noble is with a basis like this, it lends itself very neatly to the idea of a collective good. You want the best for you and everyone else wants the best for them so you meet in the middle and get the best for most. There’s nothing wrong with this. Especially when you consider perfect to be the enemy of the good. The more time you diddle away on trying to make things perfect, the longer people suffer from the problem you are trying to fix. So the best way to fix the problem is to quickly get a fair compromise and fix the problem. It does have one major drawback – it can be slow. This is where autocratic systems take an advantage. A monarch, a dictator, these people can enact changes quickly. The problem then becomes, they can enact changes quickly, (possibly) without thinking of the consequences too clearly. So which is better? Neither is directly better than the other, they each have their own drawbacks. I suppose if I had to pick one to live under, I would choose democracy. Democracy is harder to effectively topple. With a monarch or a dictator, you kill one person you start a war or you create a power vacuum. With democracy, people can be replaced and it’s harder to convince a lot of people to go to war for killing someone than it is to convince next in line, vice chief or whatever to go to war for killing the monarch or the dictator or whatever. Stability is strength, but I am a Taurus so I’m biased there. But that is the justification for my choice. Democracy in the United States? Sucks but it is what it is. The United States has some 300 million citizens. If you waited for 300 million votes on every piece of legislature to come through, you’d be waiting lifetimes and how many people do you think would treat it as the Terms and Conditions of literally any game or website they sign up for? This is dangerous business. So we elect representatives which then vote on the policies (hopefully after researching them) which should represent the will of the people that they were elected by. Good? Good.

Now let’s talk about what you probably came here to see: Donald Trump. Personally, I feel that Donald Trump has been treated rather unfairly. Most recently when he was asked to disavow the support of a KKK member. What? Why? My guess, is because the KKK are notorious white supremacists and that’s not what we want in the Oval Office. But that’s… that’s not what’s going into the Oval Office. Is Donald Trump a white supremacist? Not based on anything that I’ve seen. On top of that, the KKK is ALL AMERICAN. Literally, they were founded in the United States. They were active in the United States. They have been part of our nation since their inception. They are part of the electorate, why should they not get a say in the policy? Note in the above description of democracy, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, you still get to have a say. So I think Trump has done the KKK, the United States, and democracy a disservice in the way he apologized for having KKK support. And there’s my problem. You shouldn’t have to apologize for votes that you have earned just because the people that gave them to you hold unpopular opinions. Especially when it’s clear that they’re not giving Trump major donations, it’s not like they’ll influence Trump’s decisions. And that’s why I view this denouncement as a major weakness in Trump’s campaign. I don’t know if a campaign manager had them say it or if Trump decided to say it to get away from this topic which would have dogged him until November but I believe that it was a mistake.

I also have a problem with it in concept. I assume that the KKK have voted in past elections. Probably on the conservative side. Why aren’t we checking to make sure all candidates are free of KKK support? No seriously, what is this. I recognize that candidates should have some judgement based on those that they represent but the president of United States would represent the United States. Are there bigots in the United States? Loads. But we still agree that Obama is an okay guy. We don’t believe Obama to be racist (or at least I don’t) so why are we not equating Obama to any racists that may have supported him? And I suspect that there is reason to suspect a racist vote was involved in 2008. Obama got 95% of the black vote! Would Obama have won if not for the Black vote? Maybe. But if the numbers switched a little bit, that could have easily been a McCain presidency in 2008. If you vote for someone because they are black, it is just as racist as voting against someone because they are black.

I don’t believe that the media has been very fair in representing Trump. And isn’t that the point of the media? To inspect fairly and inform? Has our media turned into an editorial machine? That’s what blogs are for (especially this blog). I don’t believe that my liberal friends on Facebook have been fair in representing Trump. People are quick to cry racist. They’re quick to cry sexist. They’re quick to cry xenophobe. They’re quick to quote those Hitler speech segments which when attributed to Trump people would support. But they all miss the mark so much that it’s insane.

Let’s first address the Hitler thing. Recognize that Hitler inherited a weakened Germany that was still paying off their WWI dues. On top of that, Hitler largely got power in Germany quite fairly. The people wanted Hitler, especially the working class. Nazi is, after all, short for the National Socialist Party. The people were upset about their economy. So Hitler’s speeches (and I love this because in that video, with few exceptions, they targeted the points which show discontent about the economy) were and possibly are applicable to the United States today. Shift some dialogue around, I don’t imagine it would be difficult to make up to date Hitler speeches that could easily be attributed to not only Trump but Sanders. But without reading Lenin’s speeches, I suspect that Lenin would be a better historic individual to compare to Sanders. Perhaps I’ll get on that when I get some real free time between school, Game of Thrones (I’m reading them) and JRPGs.

Now let’s talk racist. That seems rather odd. Alright, so let’s put this into perspective. Remember how our democracy works in the United States. We elect representatives which… well… represent us and our desires and our needs. Let’s also make the (reasonable) assumption that all voters are looking out for themselves the most. If Trump’s policies are racist, would that not mean that his support among minorities would be very low? Then why is Trump raking in 40% black vote and 45% hispanic vote? Can someone tell me that? Because I can only think of 2 solutions. Either Trump isn’t racist, and his policies do benefit minorities, or minority voters are too dumb to vote for their self-interest. I’m inclined to believe the first, but you can take your pick.

Let’s talk xenophobe. Most of the criticism seems to stem from two source. The first is this wall that Trump wants to build (and have Mexico pay for it!). This also seems to be the focus of racist calls? But I don’t see the problem with a wall. What’s the problem with a wall to keep out illegal immigrants? Why even have passports if you don’t care who walks across your borders? Do you leave your house unlocked because you don’t care who enters your house when you’re asleep? The second is the criticism on Muslim migrants entering the country. Let me pose it to you like this then. Falling back to that house example, let’s suppose your house once got robbed, and you know it was done by a particular gang, let’s say the “Bear Brothers”. Now you find that the Bear Brother gang is undergoing some turmoil and one or two members wants to live with you. Knowing the history of where they come from, and what they have done, is it really that unreasonable to ask for a bit of a pause to make sure that if any were to enter your home that they would not harm your family? Is it too much to ask for that little bit of peace of mind? I don’t believe so. Especially when you consider the migrant crisis that has plagued Europe for months. Paris attacks, Cologne attacks, Swedish rape epidemic, perhaps migrants aren’t the root cause of these, but you can’t deny the increase in severity and the timing of these attacks. (I also note that my liberal friends and the media haven’t really brought them up too much now that the dust has settled. Perhaps they looked across the pond and saw what could have been us?)

And I’m not saying that I’m a Trump supporter. I’m still weighing my options. But I wanted to address these criticisms as being unfair or unsubstantiated. Are there problems with Trump? Certainly. Will these problems ever get aired out fully? I’m not sure. The liberal media and the liberal masses are so quick to resort to name calling (Make Donald Drumpf again? Really?) and these are the messages that stick that it’s hard to get some actual policy criticism discussed. And I’m worried Because I feel like a Sanders nomination is the only way we’ll get that on the grand stage of presidential debates. If Clinton were to get the nomination, I believe that we would only get mudslinging on both sides and the electorate would decide the president based on who has the worst smelling dirty laundry.

Let’s wrap this up by bringing it back to democracy. If people want to vote for their candidate based on policy, skin colour, hair colour, dirty laundry, accent, anything really, I don’t mind. It’s your vote, and you’re free to spend it however you like. And I believe that part of respecting your vote is respecting how others spend their votes. And if we go back to that assumption that everyone votes out of self-interest, if Trump were to win the presidency, I believe it would be the will of the United States citizens. As such, we should respect a Trump presidency. And this is kind of why I am worried. There a lot of infighting on the democratic side between Sanders and Clinton. With the Sanders supports most notably being… ehhh… mental gymnists. And I’m legitimately concerned as to how Sanders supporters will react if Clinton were to get the nomination (despite Sanders, bless his heart, openly saying that he would not run third party because of the spoiler effect, to help get progressive policies in through Clinton) that the Sanders supporter would riot in the streets. They’re already crying foul democracy in the primaries (and I will admit, that Clinton ralley right outside the voting centre was rather sketchy) I can only imagine what they would cry if Sanders were to get beaten by Trump (which I find likely). What I want these people to realize is that this is democracy. This is how it works. You did not have a majority. That does not mean that you have no say in how the country is run, nor does it mean that your vote did not matter. It just means that you were beaten. It means that more people disagreed with you than agreed with you. And if it’s the job of our representatives to please the greatest number of people, can we truly blame them for supporting those that disagree with you? So I’ll leave you with a quote, by me this time (whether or not others have said it I do not know).

“The only danger in Trump getting elected is democracy working as intended.” – Artemis Hunt

Artemis Hunt

Tolerating Trump’s Treatment