Opinion: Why is the 2016 presidential race so outlandish?

by Cougar News Contributor 559 views0

By Innokenty Loon

The race for the white house today is akin to a reality television show. This is not simply a reference to Donald Trump’s reality TV background; both of the mainstream party’s primaries have descended into a media facilitated popularity contest. Many articles and commentaries on this election have sensationalized the entire affair.

The clearest example of this sensationalism is the way the mainstream news outlets in the US have decided to cover the various candidates. Ever since Donald Trump has risen to prominence, the media has decided to focus more on him than any other candidate. According to the New York Times Mr. Trump has received almost two billion dollars worth of free advertising through all the focus the media has placed on him. No other candidate comes even close, with Hilary Clinton in a distant second.

With this in mind, why is it that the media has decided to give an overwhelming amount of attention to Trump? As recently as last week in the wake of the Islamic State attack in Belgium, both the New York Times and Washington Post ran multiple articles on Trump and his reaction/relationship to the tragedy. The same was not done for any other candidate; with only Ted Cruz getting a smidgen of spotlight when he decided to throw out the revolting idea that law enforcement should patrol Muslim neighborhoods to “prevent radicalization.”   The media barely covered the reaction of the Democratic candidates, and worst of all, Mr. trump was given more attention than the attack itself.

The way other candidates have been treated by the media is also unfair and agenda driven. Within the Democratic race for the nomination, Secretary Clinton has almost from the outset been named a frontrunner and her rivals were all marginalized to oblivion (who remembers Martin O’Malley’s platform really?) aside from Bernie Sanders who has also been promoted in a different manner.

Senator Sanders has been presented as a radical by the media for calling himself a socialist. While many articles have been dedicated to how radical or extreme socialism is, the fact remains Senator Sanders has served in congress for decades and has not passed any legislation or suggested many ideas that are very radical. This makes the Democratic primary fight seem more divisive and create an air of controversy that is artificial. After all Senator Sanders never once brought up Secretary Clinton’s E-mail scandal but almost every debate moderator has not just pressed the former Secretary of State on the issue (which is fair enough on it’s own) but also asked Senator Sanders to give a response (despite the fact he repeatedly rejected getting involved with the issue) in a attempt to stir controversy.

The core issue is that the media is manipulating the 2016 presidential campaign in order to bolster ratings. Donald Trump is the perfect candidate for the media.  He almost on a daily basis Tweets, says, or posts an outrageous message. He does this for attention and the media is more than willing to indulge him.  The man is a reality TV personality and he knows ratings. If he was not given almost all the coverage by the media, and the other candidates were given equal time to share their views and get better known by the populace the Trump phenomenon would have ended a long time ago.