Republican presidential candidate, real estate developer and reality star, Donald Trump, has made repeated accusations against media companies and figures, alleging bias. Trump’s campaign exists only as a result of intense media attention. Though this served to benefit the candidate throughout the primary process, the media has now begun to adopt the appropriate tone when discussing the toxic language pouring from the Trump camp. While his transparent, blunt attacks on all manner of people and groups feed the emotions of his supporters, they deter and disgust sensible listeners. The media needs not to adopt a bias to show Donald Trump for what he is.
To vote for Donald Trump, or to abstain entirely, is to trample on American values, and to endanger our democracy in the name of undermining the faceless “establishment.” While Hillary Clinton has failures of policy and judgment on her record, these sins pale in comparison to those of a man who has exploited fear and hatred to build his ego to stratospheric heights while endangering domestic and international relations.
Clinton’s failures are not to be ignored. Clinton has been criticized for her handling of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi in 2012; for the scandal revolving around her use of a private email server while serving in the Obama Administration; and most recently, for the Democratic National Committee’s confirmed favoritism of her campaign over that of Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT).
Clinton, as with most notable American politicians, has political and strategic failures in her past. These, especially the deaths in the Benghazi situation, are legitimate sources of criticism regarding her judgment. However, political and strategic blunders cannot be compared with the moral and ethical black hole that is Donald Trump.
For Trump, failures come in spurts of gesticulation and off-the-cuff speaking, amounting to a total failure of personal humanity. Comparing the two as equals, or as politicians, is dishonest. One has fallen short on several notable occasions, while the other has been proven to enforce extreme prejudice in housing practices, repeatedly exploit taxpayers through bankruptcy laws, and stir the most vitriolic emotions of his followers. These are not comparable offenses.
Often, Trump’s charges of media bias, most recently against Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” ignore the type of media being assessed. Brzezinski, who has been the target of personal attacks from Donald Trump regarding her relationship with co-host, Joe Scarborough, admitted her inability to remain unbiased in covering this election cycle. However, “Morning Joe” is not a source of unbiased news, and should not be treated as such. It is a commentary show, which purposefully pits personalities against one another to gain perspective.
Negative attention through traditional outlets of reporter-driven journalism is not simply the result of failure, or conspiracy; instead, it is the result of the GOP candidate having publicly proven himself to be unfit to lead the nation. Again, the ability to maintain impartiality is all but eliminated when a major party candidate speaks only with anger and hatred.
In an average political season, media impartiality is sacrosanct. It consists of a balance between coverage of two candidates, both qualified to hold the office of president. In this circumstance, there are legitimate concerns over biased coverage. The media, save commentary, must seek to remain unbiased whenever possible, so as to avoid influencing elections to any degree.
In this election, Donald Trump’s consistent and unending bigotry and lack of concern for the unity and general direction of the United States means his own words illustrate a dark image for those listening.
This is a political season unlike those of the past. While the rules of media ethics must still apply, one candidate seems dedicated to imploding his own campaign, and blaming the media for all ills. Unending assaults on Trump’s campaign from commentary journalists are warranted, and reflect the grave danger of a Trump Presidency. A supposed bias from traditional media sources, those occupying a traditional, unbiased reporting role, is a result of Trump’s absurdity. It is biased to only report the failures of a candidate. It is not, however, an expression of bias to report candidly on a candidate who acts only in shades of the absurd.