“We need a media that covers power, not covers for power.”
Can you really tell the difference between mainstream media channels when they all basically cover Trump nonstop?
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, was featured in a video for AJ+, a social media and mobile channel run by Al Jazeera. In it, she said, “I see the media as a huge kitchen table that stretches across the globe that we all sit around and debate the most important issues of the day. War and peace. Life and death.” Goodman believes that “Anything less than that is a disservice to a democratic society.”
How much does this disservice affect our decision-making, particularly when it comes to voting? “It is critical in an election year to hear how policies affect people on the ground—not to get the pundits but to get the people themselves,” Goodman said.
What else do all the major networks have in common? According to Goodman, “They’re bringing you the pundits… who know so little about so much, explaining the world to us and getting it so wrong.”
In a nod to Noam Chomsky, Goodman added, “The media manufactures consent—for war, for candidates in elections—by bringing you more, for example, of one person like Donald Trump.” Trump’s “unfiltered pipeline into everyone’s brain” is facilitated by the media, whose ratings have come to depend on it.
According to a report by the Tyndall Center in 2015, “Donald Trump got 23 times the coverage of, say, Bernie Sanders. They found ABC World News Tonight did something like 81 minutes on Donald Trump and I think they gave Bernie Sanders 20 seconds,” said Goodman.
So why does Bernie Sanders get any coverage at all?
“Bernie Sanders is breaking every record. It’s the only reason he’s getting any coverage right now,” Goodman said. “He is shaming the media. In March [Sanders] raised something like $44 million. Hillary Clinton raised $29-and-change million. $44 million. That hasn’t been done before. You break every record and there’s a blip in the corporate media radar screen. It just shows how astounding it would be if he got anything near the coverage of the other candidates. Could you imagine where [Sanders] would be right now?”
Unfortunately, bought media isn’t just ads or segments, but entire channels.
“In this high-tech digital age… all we get is static… that obscure[s] reality, when what we need the media to give us is the dictionary definition of static: criticism, opposition, unwanted interference,” Goodman said. “We need a media that covers power, not covers for power.”