TRNN Top Stories of 2015: Celebrity candidates and the liberal media have created a clown show that viewers can laugh at, but it’s at your expense.
THOMAS HEDGES, PRODUCER, TRNN: Liberal media outlets have been relishing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Others say the debate over Trump only feeds into a political rat race, where news agencies can boost their ratings while celebrity-type candidates get free publicity. NORMAN SOLOMON: There’s a confluence of priorities from the mass media where content and serious political debate is shunted aside in favor of what’s flashy, or a gaffe, or something that’s said is inflammatory. HEDGES: Norman Solomon is a journalist and media critic who says liberal media will often embrace sensationalist news at the expense of real issues. SOLOMON: The media watch group FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting where I’m a longtime associate has documented, as has the Columbia Journalism Review that the New York Times and many major outlets have given short shrift to coverage of Bernie Sanders, relegating his announcement of his campaign for president to back pages and not really taking sufficient notice or providing sufficient coverage of the campaign, what he stands for, what his record is. HEDGES: On the other hand, celebrity candidates are raking in money. But this isn’t new. People like Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich have done the same, using the high-profile stunt of running for president to sign book deals and even funnel money into their own questionable nonprofit organizations. INTERVIEWER: [Inaud.] sir. Are you not concerned about the fact that your charity you founded has given $200,000 to your own company? HEDGES: But unlike Huckabee and Gingrich, Trump represents more than a phony moneymaker. He represents the honest capitalist, the moneymaker who openly tells the American public that they should vote for him precisely because he’s rich. DONALD TRUMP: I’m really rich. [I’ll show you that in a second]. And by the way, I’m not even saying that in a brag–that’s the kind of mindset. That’s the kind of thinking you need for this country. HEDGES: Solomon says that by making Trump look dumb and outrageous, media outlets are distorting the full picture of his campaign. A campaign that the country’s right-wing supports, but which the liberal media props up in its quest for ratings and entertainment. SOLOMON: I think more than him being a buffoon who doesn’t warrant serious political scrutiny and media coverage, he’s someone who represents the latest wave of big money interest, in stoking the fires of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. And in that sense I think he needs to be taken very seriously. It’s not a matter of Donald Trump not knowing what he’s doing or being foolish or stupid. Dangerous, yes. Stupid, I don’t think so.