Election Coverage, Coverage

One more day, we can all make it.  The onslaught of Facebook posts, feuding families, and Make America Great Again hats, are about to mercilessly end.  While I’ll save my personal political views from preaching, boring, or angering you to death, something that I do wish to discuss is the role of “news” in today’s society.  I’m not a stock holder in the perception that all media is blindly biased for one candidate or the other.  They might lean a particular way or have certain view points but the fact that “all media” is corrupt is just plain irrational in my eyes.  For every MSNBC you have a Fox News, or for every Huffington Post you have a Drudge Report, there are enough coverage on both sides for people to find a balance of their own opinions and the truth.  Something however that I believe gets lost in the shuffle and is egregiously overlooked is the money making aspects of all these news agencies.  News networks have transitioned from being what they were originally designed for disseminating noteworthy information and events into a salacious reality television spin off. In the space that used to occupy actual hard investigated and news worthy content now belies propagating the intent of a misconstrued tweet from a political party staffer.

When the Republican primary season began top news programs and noted “journalists” took to Donald Trump like a moth to flame.  He notoriously spoke about how he only used his own money in early campaigning, and part of the reason why he did was the lack of adds and coverage he had to manufacture himself.  Due to his often unpredictability and at times salacious comments CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the like covered every single second of his campaign.  I hardly remember Wolf Blitzer breaking into an interview on the war on terror to go listen to Rand Paul speak to a retirement home in La Crosse, WI.  Aside from the inherent laziness of modern reporting when it is more important to get the story first than get it right, what caused this regression in actual factual newsworthy reporting is fairly simple, greed.  A Washington Post article notes that CNN for the first time ever will gross over $1 billion dollars in 2016, goaded on mostly due to their election coverage.  With such a large amount of capital to rake in the conspiracy theorist within me has started to wonder how close this election really is.  The more vicious attacks and built in drama from a close race, means more ratings, more people tuning in, more advertising.  Inevitably they turn November 8th into the largest lottery drawing of the night with all the money they can make on that night alone, (Powerball is only $236 million).

A competition for the leader of the red, white, and blue, has meant boat loads of green for the major news networks and that isn’t worth getting the story right as long as they are first.  I have a not so bold prediction that on election night there will at least be one retraction from CNN when they incorrectly call a state for the wrong candidate.  It’s better to take a 50/50 shot on Minnesota going for Hillary than wait 20 minutes be 100% sure but lose out on the scoop to MSNBC.  When it comes down to it Clinton and Trump could be tens of millions of votes apart, but would it be in the best interest of the news networks to report that and lose out on all the viewers, or bury it make it seem closer and rake in the profits, they are a business after all.

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