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Ralph Nader wrote an op-ed piece for the Sunday Los Angeles Times that, in part, is about media coverage of the presidential election cycle. He astutely pointed out how “rancid” it is, among other observations. Please take time to read the entire piece here. I’m only including a few tidbits that had me nodding my head vigorously, because as my regular readers and Twitter followers know, I’m fed up to here with the way elections are covered. It’s all about the horse race, all about polls, and very little about policy.

Substance? What’s that?


Am I being too harsh? Okay then, how’s this? TV “news” in recent years has been outstanding… if you’re into click bait and sensationalism, propaganda, breathless speculation and gossip, all sandwiched between Cialis and fracking ads. Way to inform voters, newscasters.

The inevitable result: Voter interest and turnout drop, and those who do vote may not even understand why they’re voting the way they are. If that’s not democracy in action, I don’t know what is.

Take it away, Ralph:

Thus far, the media is covering the candidates’ personal stories and will continue to mine biographical details, while waiting for gaffes, a self-destructive lapse or supposed scandal. The media will pretend that minor policy differences amount to different visions for how to lead the country.

Taken as a whole, it is all so rancid. All this dreariness comes down to who is more likable with the most TV ads and superior campaign staff. The voters see themselves as mere spectators, grumbling along the way. They can’t seem to make the candidates react to their needs. They’re bored, and boredom often turns into cynicism and withdrawal (voters become nonvoters). When people have low expectations of politicians, the politicians will oblige them.

[…] The media love to cover horse races, especially when there is no clear front-runner in the polls. It loves patsy interviews filled with tactical questions that invite tactical answers. It hates to cover third-party candidates. Reporters think that’s pointless, because those candidates have no chance.

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