A big hearty plug for the open letter to Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, posted today by Attytood (Will Bunch) of the Philadelphia Daily News/philly.com. He’s right about last night’s show on ABC, which was supposed to be–by the way–a debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Excerpt from the piece:
“You implied throughout the broadcast that you wanted to reflect the concerns
of voters in Pennsylvania. Well, I’m a Pennsylvanian voter, and so are my
neighbors and most of my friends and co-workers. You asked virtually nothing
that reflected our everyday issues — trying to fill our gas tanks and save for
college at the same time, our crumbling bridges and inadequate mass transit, or
the root causes of crime here in Philadelphia. In fact, there almost isn’t
enough space — and this is cyberspace, where room is unlimited — to list all
the things you could have asked about but did not, from health care to climate
change to alternative energy to our policy toward China to the deterioration of
Afghanistan to veterans’ benefits to improving education. You ignored virtually
everything that just happened in what most historians agree is one of the worst
presidencies in American history, including the condoning of torture and the
trashing of the Constitution, although to be fair you also ignored the policy
concerns of people on the right, like immigration issues.”
Back at home, I began by watching the broadcast, then felt free to leave the room to do other things because of that feeling that I was unlikely missing anything anyway, then gave up altogether. Why do wealthy figureheads in the news media presume that they are in touch with the concerns of millions of other people who face problems–every day–that gentlemen like Gibson and Stephanopoulos never even see? No wonder the evening news shows focus on health topics so much–virtually always individual health problems, btw: our cardiac systems and a few other body members constitute some of the few remaining worries faced even by the wealthiest in our society, in the huge and galloping divide between the super-rich and everyone else.
Why do the media figureheads presume that they have latitude to define the election as ‘about’ anything other than the major issues of our time? And why can’t they tell what those issues are? Why won’t the networks use some of their financial resources to hire the researchers, fact-checkers and investigators who could actually make a difference, so the news could make a difference?
The egos that get on television . . .