The following is an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel | March 15, 2016 | thewashingtonpost.com |
“I believe that in a democracy what elections are about are serious debates over serious issues,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said upon announcing his presidential campaign in April 2015. He concluded with a plea to the press: “I would hope, and I ask the media’s help on this, allow us to discuss the important issues facing the American people and let’s not get hung up on political gossip or all the other soap opera aspects of modern campaigns.”
Less than two months later, Donald Trump rode his escalator into the race and promptly obliterated any possibility of the media heeding Sanders’s call. Almost immediately, the election came to resemble, if not a soap opera, a reality TV show with the incendiary former star of “The Apprentice” at its center. This has resulted not only in ridiculously lopsided coverage of Trump, at the expense of his rivals in both parties, but also a lack of sustained and serious attention to the important issues of our time.
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