Nightly News Takes a Dive on Issues This Year

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Andrew Tyndall notes that the nightly news no longer seems to care about policy debates:

This year’s absence of issues is an accurate portrayal of the turf on which the election is being played out….If the candidates are not talking about the issues, the news media would be misrepresenting the contest to do so.

With just two weeks to go, issues coverage this year has been virtually non-existent…. No trade, no healthcare, no climate change, no drugs, no poverty, no guns, no infrastructure, no deficits. To the extent that these issues have been mentioned, it has been on the candidates’ terms, not on the networks’ initiative.

I disagree with this on two levels. First, Hillary Clinton has talked plenty about issues in the conventional sense that Tyndall means it: speeches that cover specific policy proposals, with detail to back them up. Only Donald Trump has declined to do this.

More broadly, both candidates have talked about issues. Trump talks all the time about trade, immigration, ISIS, and guns. Clinton talks about childcare, ISIS, health care, guns, and so forth. There are lots of character attacks too, but then, that’s usually the case. But just because issues are talked about in broad strokes doesn’t mean they’re not talked about. They are. The network news broadcasts just don’t want to risk losing their audiences by forcing them to pay attention to such boring stuff.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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