Matty Yglesias at Vox explains why we can’t have nice things — like a functioning Democracy.
“On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will deliver a primetime address to the American people about the government shutdown he initiated and about the fake crisis at the US-Mexico border that he says justifies it.
And while there no doubt are various innovative coverage formats that could be used to fact-check the speech or otherwise detract from Trump’s tendency to deliberately misinform the public, there is no indication that any of them are going to be used. Instead, millions of people will see the president lying and misleading in various ways with no rebuttal, and at least some of them will come to believe some of the false things he says.
The question of whether, or how, to treat Trump differently from other presidents in light of his relentless dishonesty is an interesting one. But it’s noteworthy that just a few years ago, the networks were comfortable refusing to air a prime-time Barack Obama speech about immigration on the grounds that the topic was “overtly political.”
Yglesias reminds us that, at the time, Republicans were accusing Obama of acting like a dictator for acting on his own to protect the dreamers while using freed up law enforcement resources to crack down on the problems that Trump says we need his stupid wall to tackle….
Obama’s reasoned explanation for his actions could not be allowed to compete, however, with the strident accusations of Republicans playing partisan politics on the Network Sunday News programs.
And Matty thinks he knows why:
‘I’m not entirely sure how to account for this imbalance in the actual coverage decisions. One popular theory is that Republicans have successfully “worked the refs” and led the press to become paranoid about exhibiting liberal bias to the extent that the bend over backward and display bias in the opposite direction.
I think a more parsimonious explanation might be that the key decision-makers in network television (wealthy anchors, executives, shareholders, etc.) benefit in concrete material ways from Republicans winning elections, and their conduct reflects that reality more than the private ideological convictions of rank-and-file workers.”
So tomorrow night, Trump will use his free network time to lie to America with the blessing of every news network…and our Democracy will be weakened by their actions.
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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.