Dear News Media, There’s Ratings Gold in Bernie if You’re Smart Enough to Talk Issues and Policy. Seriously.
For a long while now the commonly held view among decision makers in television news was that viewers were either too bored by or too feeble minded to handle coverage of policies and real issues. Television news coverage has seen a slow devolution away from the Walter Cronkite model towards a more entertainment news driven one complete with extended “human interest” stories, military pep rally stories and portly meteorologists exposed to all manner of potentially fatal weather systems. It’s been so successful that you now have several 24 hour news stations producing this new brand of fast food pseudo-news.
This slow and steady decline was gradual enough that the American public barely noticed. And then a candidate like Bernie Sanders emerges and our new breed of TV reporter, raised on a steady diet of writing copy about waterskiing squirrels, deep fried novelty foodstuffs and congressional sexual indiscretions is asked to cover a rising political star. These reporters may be well-coifed and look good in their suit, at least until they are asked to speak to a man with no interest or time for displaying his dimpled smile for a vapid former beauty queen or king asking questions more suitable for the Lifestyle section of the Jefferson Elementary Times than the Nightly News.
So what do they do? They ignore the “problem.” Hope it’ll go away. Don’t even bother covering the campaign. Well, Bernie Sanders isn’t the problem. The media’s laziness or worse, inability to see a story slapping them in the face, is the problem. He’s not going away. Maybe they need to study up, go to night school, pull all-nighters, hire a BBC reporter, anything to understand how you cover a real, legitimate news story about a real, legitimate candidate.
And hey, if it’s about ratings just look and see who is drawing more Americans than any other candidate at their rallies. You know Trump isn’t a serious candidate, if he is you’ve been irresponsible not to point out how dangerous and empty his words are. His crowds also pale in comparison to Bernie’s. You may as well be following Deez Nuts, if you’re not already on it. People are hungry for some intelligent news about a new breed of candidate – a 73 year old man who is honest, uncorrupted and interested in the problems of the voter. Do the right thing for once. Even if it’s for the money.