Or why we should not exclude him from any debates.
There is something unsettling about the recent Trump/Kelly spat, and it’s not what you think.
I’ll say at the outset Trump would be a bad choice for president. He is the type of person who polarizes feelings and his extreme, arrogant positions would not benefit the country. I admire someone who speaks his/her mind, avoiding phraseological gyrations, but I find some of Trump’s thoughts bordering on the abominable. (For a foreign example of this kind of communication, look-up Berlusconi; he makes Trump look like a pussy cat.)
Despite of this Trump deserves his time in the spotlight so that voters can make up their minds. The news media seems to think otherwise, and that is simply not good for the process of democracy (or whatever you think it’s left of it). no matter how insulted broadcasters and journalists feel about Trump’s recent remarks during the republican debate, they still don’t have the “right” nor the unwritten mandate to block voters from getting exposure to a candidate.
Ironically Trump is right when he says “the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” Political correctness is a sub-category of politeness. Saying the country has a problem in obsessing with political correctness is tantamount to saying “we need to be politer,” whether Trump realizes that or not. But abiding by the “principles” of political correctness should not be determining whether a candidate is invited to a debate, especially when enough people feel they want to hear more about him. One cannot miss the media’s hypocritical slant to the event in question: first provoking Trump aggressively, and then condemning the predictable results on the grounds of offensiveness, or in defense of a member of their own clan. Besides, it is not the media’s task to police our eyes and ears. Offering access to candidates is consistent with the news media’s primary role of informing and educating people, a task at which it unfortunately fails more often than not by opting instead for exploiting the public’s thirst for sensationalism.
This intrusion by the news media has likely added to the recurring lackluster voter participation in elections. We hear about the roles apathy, disappointment with the “system” or the quality of the candidates have had in this decline of interest. No doubt, some or all those reasons have contributed their share. The news media has added its own contribution: by controlling who gets what exposure and by constant partisan editorializing, they disenfranchise the electorate while getting paid for the “noise” they create.
You may say everybody is still free to vote for whoever they choose and independently of how they get the information, but we all know people will often go with the loudest message.
Photo source: newyorker.com.