Media – focus more on the problems needing solving and less on who wins

The main stream media is doing a better job on focusing on the issues, but they still have a bias toward conflict. Who wins and loses based on the airing of an issue or problem is covered way too much for my taste. The end result is problems and their many causes do not get addressed or are oversimplified, so they go unsolved.

The dilemma is we citizens lose. The focus must be on the issues rather than who benefits from whatever hits a news cycle. Substance matters more than image. Here are a few examples to digest.

We have a poverty problem in the US. It is not just a declining middle class. Too many are living beneath paycheck to paycheck or are one paycheck away from being in trouble. The United Nations just released a report that confirms the US has a poverty problem citing numerous examples and numbers. Instead of asking lawmakers what are we doing about it, the media focused on the Trump administration admonishing the UN for the report. The problem exists whether or not it makes Trump look bad, as it took decades to decline to this point. Addressing poverty is more important.

We have a significant and growing debt problem that has been made worse by the Tax law passed in December. The economy was already doing pretty good with a long growth period. Yet, rather than address our debt, we borrowed more from our future. This malfeasance must be highlighted. Yet, most of the focus is on the economy doing well and its impact on the midterm election. Note the economy would have done well without the tax change, but we have a day of reckoning coming that will require more revenue and less spending. What are we going to do about it now, especially with a good economy?

The Affordable Care Act has needed improvements and stabilization for some time. The American public favors this as do lawmakers from both parties. Yet, the media focuses too much on the political  impact of an ACA that could be doing better. Not only has the party in power not helped the ACA, they have sabotaged it making premiums go up even more. As I see it, the President and GOP own the ACA. Letting premiums go up hurts Americans. If the ACA fails, our poverty problem will get even worse and the economy will suffer.

Issues like immigration, climate change, water shortages, tariffs, exiting international agreements, eg, all need to be focused on. We need to drill down on what makes sense in a data driven and reasonable manner. Attempting to resolve issues based on optics of winning or losing won’t solve anything. And, that is what our President and legislators seem to be more interested in.

So, media please start asking our leaders what they plan on doing about these problems and asking them to explain why certain measures don’t seem to be helpful.  And, leaders stop worrying about keeping your job and start doing your job.

8 thoughts on “Media – focus more on the problems needing solving and less on who wins

  1. I fully agree that they need to focus on the issues rather than what actually boils down to a contest of personalities: Trump vs everyone else. However, we all know that the conflicts and clashes are what sells, and what sells is what they will go with. People seem to quickly become bored with focusing on the issues at hand and their attention drifts off to … “Oh LOOK … somebody said something nasty and Trump fired back with a tweet … lemme go see!” And so while I, too, wish the media would delve deeper into issues and leave personalities, winners v losers out of their reporting, it won’t happen. The upside, though, if it did happen is that it would drive Trump crazy if he didn’t see his picture and name on the front page of every media outlet! What if they went a whole day with not a single picture or tweet or quote from Trump? If his name were not mentioned once for a full 24 hours? 😀

    • Jill, you unfortunately are correct. This is why Trump finds foils to do battle with rather than issues. He is attacking Angela Merkel for now, of course, with incorrect facts and bullying.

      Yet, there are still sensational stories with facts. Senator Marco Rubio led an effort to defund 89% of adverse selection payments to stiff insurers who took on bad risk. What Trump held up this weekend is the remaining 11%. These actions hurt Americans to win a political point. That is factual and sensational.

      But, to your point, if we wanted quiet competence in a President Paul Tsongas would have won the Democrat nomination and Presidency in 1988. He was solid, smart and too boring for America. Keith

      • Yeah … sometimes I’d rather be wrong! And you, also, are right … our society doesn’t actually crave quite, intellectual competence … they thrive on chaos. Sigh.

      • Jill, I have a post coming this week, probably after the next one, on a quiet leader versus one who beats on his chest.

        By the way, I saw a news report on climate change showing Obama quietly citing supportable data to validate a decision. Just as I was commenting to my wife how nice it would be to have a President who cited real facts, Trump came on the scree citing something that was social media fodder for his reason to strike what Obama had done. The truth matters. Keith

  2. You’re both right. We’re the “United States of Entertainment.” The main media outlets are businesses, and they know that serious issue discussion doesn’t sell. I even gave up on NPR during the 2016 election. Got sick and tired of its coverage of the “horse race,” and Trump’s latest outrage being the first story on “Morning Edition.” An Abe Lincoln would never succeed in politics today. He’s too ugly and too deep for our simple minds.

    • Pete, you are so right. It frustrates when even a reputable source swings from the topic to cover “how will this affect the election.”

      What I found of interest is Tuesday night the Senate took two ceremonial votes to support NATO passing 97 to 2 and a non-binding vote to say Congress needs a say in tariffs imposed for national security reasons passing 88 to 11. Neither vote was announced or broadly covered as the GOP wanted to do it under low cover as if they did not want Daddy to know they did it. Although it was a step in the right direction, they did not want to upset the mid-term horse race. Keith

  3. Dear Keith and friends,

    Bite your tongues. Heaven knows what would happen if President Trump did not see himself in the newsfeed for a single day as this is his favorite game. What can I do to get some more attention? Who can I humiliate? Which group can I upset?

    Just look at how he orchestrated the show at the NATO summit where he garnered the most coverage and press.

    You are so right Keith. While we were mesmerized by the Donald Trump – NATO show, do we know one thing of a serious nature that NATO was supposed to be working on as a group.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, the man likes his press. I was intrigued by an excerpt from Sean Spicer’s book how the President watched the press briefings and would comment on them. For some reason, I thought the briefings were because the President position is busy, someone else needed to inform the press. He is truly playing out a reality show. Keith

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