It’s no great revelation that mainstream media coverage of the election over the last two years has been less than exceptional or even acceptable. Trump dominated the narrative, while Bernie Sanders received minimal coverage, and some people watching TV news did not even realize he was running for president.
I thought after Trump’s victory shocked the nation and the world that the mainstream corporate media would wake up and realize they needed to do better, and really consider how their coverage was affecting U.S. politics and society. But while they consistently mocked Trump and failed to take him seriously throughout the election, they now seem to be headed down an even darker path. Since his election, Trump and his rhetoric have been more or less normalized within the mainstream media narrative, which could prove counteractive to all social progress that has been made in the last century by enabling white supremacists and white nationalists to feel justified in their alt-right arguments against the realities faced by marginalized groups in the United States. This is simply not a perspective that can afford to be normalized, especially when there are larger structural issues that need to be addressed — structural issues that lead to these skewed alt-right mentalities.
One such issue is neoliberalism and the Democratic Party’s embrace of such an ideology. The movement of our Democratic Party to extreme center left, almost to the center right even, is why Trump was elected to begin with, and why these narratives of white supremacy and nationalism have regained such stamina. Only the more thoughtful progressives have realized this fact, one of whom being Bernie Sanders. When he was recently interviewed on CBS, he was asked why he thought Hillary Clinton ultimately lost the election, and his response was exactly this – the corporatization of the Democratic Party. But CBS would not concede to his answer. Due to their corporate ties to the Democratic Party, they could not blame it on the party’s embrace of neoliberalism as Bernie and other progressives like Naomi Klein and Cornel West so accurately did. Instead, they kept pressing Bernie about Hillary’s claim that her loss was the result of FBI Director James Comey’s interference with the election regarding her emails. The CBS anchors could not seem to wrap their head around why Bernie would be arguing anything different and would not accept his claims, keeping the argument against Comey in the forefront of the interview so as to distract viewers from the truths Bernie was attempting to reveal. If this interview doesn’t show how mainstream media outlets are in bed with establishment politics, then I don’t know what does.
Between CBS’s normalization of Trump in their 60 Minutes interview with him, in which Lesley Stahl failed to really press him on the preposterous claims he made in his campaign and his now questionable commitment to those claims. Trump was treated as any other president-elect, but the fact is, he is not like the president-elects of the past and his rhetoric cannot be normalized. Moreover, the mainstream media cannot continue to ignore the very systemic issues that have led us to this situation in which Trump has been elected and subsequently normalized. And because the mainstream media will likely not change before it is too late, it is necessary now more than ever for independent media to maintain a a close and critical investigation into what exactly is going on in our political world.