Wednesday, March 9, 2016


NOTE: This marks the return of The Ancient Newspaper Editor, which has been on too long a hiatus, which was due in part to my having been through an extended hospital stay in connection with a heart attack and bacterial spinal cord infection. I'm doing better now, thank you, but will be having back surgery next week. My apologies for the hiatus.

A story on Huffington Post Politics this morning ( makes in it's headline this interesting observation:

Networks Didn't Cut From Donald Trump's Speech Once To Air Hillary Clinton

Instead, America got to watch Trump promote his line of steaks

The story by Jennifer Bendery, White House and congressional reporter for the Huffington Post, goes on to say: "Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton gave a stump speech Tuesday night, but chances are you didn't see it, since none of the major TV networks covered it. They were all glued to GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump's rambling speech/press conference/self-promotional event happening at the same time."
It seems to me that this has gotten to be a really serious problem with all of the networks and not just when providing live primary election night coverage.

This morning, for instance, ABC's Good Morning America allowed Trump to drone on unchallenged, and virtually uninterrupted for way more than 5 and probably closer to 10 minutes -- which is an exceedingly long and unusual amount of time to devote to a single "news" interview -- about his win in Michigan. Meanwhile, George Stephanopoulos sat there largely staring into the camera slack jawed, particularly after Trump verbally slapped him around for "making a negative out of a big win" after the GMA anchor pointed out that exit polls showed Trump had "lost" with late deciders -- a valid point considering 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney's recently launched "Stop Trump" campaign.

On the other side, how long was the GMA interview with Bernie Sanders regarding his stunning upset win in Michigan?

Yeah, that's right, what interview with Bernie Sanders. Or, what interview even with Hillary Clinton for that matter.

Yep, you've got it, the ONLY candidate from either party actually interviewed live or even recorded on GMA this morning was Trump.

This has become the disturbing reality thus far during this presidential primary election season. It's been my feeling for months now that for all practical intents and purposes when it come to viewing political news on the TV networks, Trump almost appears from the frequency, the coverage time devoted and the extent of coverage to be the only candidate running. Certainly, he's the only candidate given so much network time to just run his mouth. It's gotten so bad on Good Morning America, an about 25-year viewing habit that my wife and I just can't seem to break, that we refer to the show these days as the "Morning Trump Hour."

The all-Trump, all-the-time coverage by the networks has gotten so pervasively bad in at least my view that is has me wondering -- against my normally better judgment -- if it's not time to employ some provisions of the Equal Time rule to help retool and bring back the Federal Communication Commission's Fairness Doctrine, which died in 2011.

Between them, the Equal Time rule and the Fairness Doctrine recognized the advantage that excessive TV time/coverage could give a politically charged issue or political candidate and required the networks to provide fair and balanced coverage and/or to give all political candidates equal time on the air.

Granted, living by and complying with an FCC rule that would combine aspects of the Equal Time Rule and the old Fairness Doctrine would be burden on the networks, but I think it would insure equitable and responsible coverage -- something the networks seem to have totally tossed out the window this election season.

It's my feeling that they have done so in favor of fawning over Donald Trump and giving him whatever his bullying heart desires and demands to the detriment of the kind of fair, balanced and inquisitive political coverage they should be providing. In essence, the networks -- intentionally or not -- have been helping Trump sell a rotten bill of political goods that is based on hatred, bigotry, jingoism and Fascist/Nazi philosophy -- all things that are supposed to be totally un-American.

I'm sure the current crop of network news department "leaders" justify to themselves the excessive Trump coverage by telling themselves that they want to be careful to avoid being accused of being "liberal media," which is a myth anyway.

Once upon a time, TV network news operations were run, or heavily influenced, by the likes of  Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings -- journalists with an inbred sense of fairness and balance and the intestinal fortitude and character to challenge bullshit no mater how powerful, wealthy or well-placed the source or politician it was coming from. In their day, network news programming was regarded almost strictly as the coverage and passing along of vital information. Electronic news media leaders with their character and keen sense of journalistic ethics didn't need the Fairness Doctrine or the Equal Time Rule to ensure fair coverage or equal time and treatment.

Today, network news is run by the likes of Fox's Roger Ailes and has become way too heavily regarded within the industry as entertainment and -- particularly in the case of Fox and to a slightly lesser degree MSNBC -- point-of-view propaganda that are passed off as news.

It's as if all of the TV networks have lost any and all sense of journalistic responsibility at a time when their influence is extremely powerful, particularly as the usually much more inquisitive, hard-hitting, fair, balanced and in-depth print media continues to fade from public consumption.

(As a footnote and for the sake of transparency, let me point out that during this primary season I have personally supported Bernie Sanders because he is the one person running who I regard as a progressive idealist of the John and Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey variety.)


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