The first Presidential Debate was a few nights ago and unfortunately met expectations. Although the debate lasted an hour and a half, several key topics had no discussion time. Some undiscussed topics included poverty, climate change, immigration, and healthcare.
A recent Harvard study showed that on Mainstream outlets such as ABC, NBC, CNN, and Fox, policy discussion was nearly absent from the coverage. The horserace aspect of the election is what the mainstream media overwhelmingly covers. One major issue is poverty, and a 2013 report showed that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Something that big should receive coverage, but the media sees things through a different lens than the average American. The Mainstream Media is often referred to as the Corporate Media due to corporate ties, which influences their reporting. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 deregulated the industry, allowing several companies to merge. There used to be around 50 major media companies; Today, that number is at six.
The United States has a rigged debate system. Third-party candidates are rising in the polls, but it’s not enough. They need to reach at least 15 percent in at least five national polls to qualify for the debates. In August, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit allowing for third parties to participate in the Presidential debates. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Libertarian and Green parties respectively are the main third-party candidates.
One “dilemma” that moderators have is should they fact check the candidates? The answer is yes. The American people have the right to know what the candidates say is accurate or not. Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who will moderate a later debate, was interviewed by Howard Kurtz about his debate strategy. One of the questions that came up was about if a candidate says something that he knows to be false; he responded that his role is not to be a truth squad. The director of the Presidential Debate Commission also appears to agree with the strategy of not fact-checking. The media now has a “neutrality” bias, giving both sides of a particular issue equal say even though one side could be completely right and the other completely wrong.
This problem has risen over the years. In one of the 2012 Presidential debates, CNN moderator Candy Crowley fact-checked Mitt Romney on Benghazi. Republicans accuse the media of having a liberal bias, but that is false. The reason behind that claim is that corrupt corporations control the media.
The media continues to be a colossal failure because of their lack of policy substance horserace aspect of things dominates the coverage.