Watch Debates But Ignore The Coverage

Presidential and vice-presidential debates are at hand.

Voters need to listen to – not just watch – all four debates.

And not for one liners or gotcha moments.

Listen to arguments, and seek to understand candidates’ underlying philosophy, even when they don’t articulate it.

Candidates won’t answer every question perfectly. They’re on stage. The lights are up. Nobody thinks of everything on the spot. It’s common for candidates to think afterward of something that would have been good to say, or say differently.

That’s fine. Just listen.

Then when the debates are over – if past is prologue – ignore much of the national press coverage. Two reasons come to the fore.

First, regardless of reporters’ bias, much of the coverage will be bad, particularly on national broadcast networks.

They’ll run instant polls to see who “won,” overall and perhaps on individual questions.

They’ll have registered or likely voters holding dials to test their mood at every moment.

They’ll focus on one liners and gotcha moments.

They’ll miss much of what voters should listen for.

Second, the bias of the national establishment press is even worse this presidential election than in recent decades.

One reason is that many in the national establishment press despise President Trump and will do whatever it takes – or whatever they think they can get away with – to defeat him.

Those trying to cloak their bias with objectivity aren’t being candid.

One example will suffice here.

A network-television-news program reported on a question of law that a law professor had raised.

The question itself is beyond the point. It had nothing to do with race or sex, yet it involved Democrat vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a woman whose parents descend from Jamaica and India.

The anchor and a reporter falsely made the question about race and sex.

The anchor opened the broadcast by purporting to cite “the president adding fuel to a baseless … conspiracy theory.” Later the anchor referred to “the firestorm over that false and racist conspiracy theory fueled by President Trump.”

But a “firestorm” was what the anchor and the reporter appeared to be trying to light or spread.

The anchor said nothing to demonstrate a “conspiracy” or anything “racist.” According to the network’s own report, the president neither said nor implied anything about race, and said he didn’t know the answer to the question, so the president “fueled” nothing here.

Individuals can opine on questions of law. Yet such questions are ultimately for courts to decide. No court had addressed this question. Calling the law professor’s conclusion “false” and the question “baseless” begged the question and, at least for this report, foreclosed discussion of the question.

Nevertheless, the anchor pitched the story for the reporter to tell “how the lie emerged.”

However, the only falsities here were by the anchor and the reporter.

The reporter repeated the doubly false “racist … conspiracy” charge.

The reporter also alleged “a racist attempt to undermine (former President Barack) Obama’s credibility” without backing up the allegation.

The reporter then said President Trump had in another context referred to Harris as “angry,” which the reporter said is “often used as a racist trope to diminish black women.”

But the reporter did nothing to connect the president’s use of the word to Harris’s race. Instead, the reporter invoked innuendo without supporting it.

Invoking more innuendo without supporting it, the reporter concluded by saying Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign is ready to respond to any “racist” or “sexist attack.”

What was all of this? In addition to the usual propaganda against the president, it was at least in effect a dog whistle to Biden supporters in the press and elsewhere.

So if you dare to raise a question about Harris, even a question having nothing to do with race or sex, you’re also in danger of false charges of racism and sexism from those playing political hardball.

Such conduct exemplifies how far many in the national establishment press have descended from the objectivity they pretend to have.

Randy Elf has taken part in candidate debates.



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