So the other night I got home about 9:45, and remembered the NCAA men’s basketball championship game was on. I flicked on the TV and started through the channels until I found it. As an underdog rooter, and not a big basketball fan, I was leaning toward Villanova, and my timing was great; score tied at 46 each in the second half.
But the coverage was odd, crowd shots all NC fans, most all replays of North Carolina, and the commentators totally biased to NC. Then on commercials I’d go over to MSNBC, CNN or FOX and see what they were saying, which was almost all about the campaign for President. I learned later regarding the basketball game that the networks now will have multiple feeds of the game going out, with one each for the respective teams. But not knowing that, and with my jumping over to the news stations, I started to see bias in how the news channels report pretty clearly, too. Evident bias toward parties, and candidates.
Worse, because of this, truth suffers, because the information outlets cease worrying about presenting a complete and truthful picture, and instead settle for the easy road of little back and forth snippets of opinion by spokespeople from the campaigns. And then just talk about the horse-race aspect, using polling for information to base their “analysis.”
What I have been drawn to in the Bernie Sanders campaign is his blunt truthfulness. When asked about the possible destabilizing role U.S. foreign policy may have had regarding ISIS, he went all the way back to mention Iran in 1953, and Chile in 1973. He defended his support of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980s. All these were interventions to topple elected governments that the U.S. undertook with disastrous outcomes. Topic after topic, he addresses things head on; corporate power, climate change, health care and income inequity. This is a rare moment of political education and ideal raising by a candidate for high office; one with a great track record of being on the right side of history again and again. We have to hope the momentum and enthusiasm being generated can sustain itself.
The political conventions of both major parties will be quite something this summer, but especially the Repubs. As of now Kasich is still hanging in there, he is at least sane. The other two are showmen of different stripes, willing to say anything to please their audiences. Both are very dangerous to our country and frankly to the planet. Neither gives a damn about the truth. Things seem pretty unstable, and frankly scary, because so many people have been drawn in to their fear-based talking points and apocalyptic visions. But is a split in the GOP a good thing for Progressives? What Glen Ford says on pages 8-9 bears consideration.
We have fundamental problems in our society, entrenched problems of growing complexity, because they magnify with succeeding generations. Inferior education and minimal job opportunities in poor areas. Cutbacks in the social safety net. A proxy war machine all over the world. This is the status quo. These won’t be solved with an election, but an election can definitely make things worse.
Or this time perhaps it can be a catalyst to start making the needed changes. I was struck by what Susan Sarandon said to Chris Hayes on his show on MSNBC on March 28, which is reprinted below, underscoring her strong support for Bernie.
SARANDON: I think (about) what’s going on now. If you think it’s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now, then you’re in touch with (okay with) the status quo. The status quo is not working and I think it’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty with the low minimum wage, with threats to women’s rights and think that you can’t do something huge to turn that around because the country is not in good shape. If you’re in the middle class, it’s disappearing and you look…you want to see Michael Moore’s documentary, it’s pretty funny the way they describe it, but you’ll see that health care, you know, and education in all these other countries, we’ve been told it’s impossible (here). It’s like we’ve been in this bad relationship and now we have to break up with the guy because we realize we’re worth it. We should have these things. We have to stop prioritizing war and I don’t like the fact she (Clinton) talks about Henry Kissinger as being her, you know, go to guy for the stuff that’s happened in Libya and other things; I don’t think it’s good.”
I actually met her in Washington, DC at the A16 protest against the World Bank/IMF in 2000. She was there with us on the streets. She gets it. As I said last month… “This is not a Reality Show, it is Real.”