Imagine this: You are looking for someone to hire for a job in your firm, and you conduct the job interviews without much mention of what the job entails. Instead, you talk about baseball or dogs and cats or beer and hairstyles.
Then imagine this:
Since the beginning of 2016, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News have devoted just 32 minutes to issues coverage, according to Andrew Tyndall.
Differentiating issues coverage from daily campaign coverage where policy topics might be addressed, Tyndall defines issues coverage by a newscast this way: “It takes a public policy, outlines the societal problem that needs to be addressed, describes the candidates' platform positions and proposed solutions, and evaluates their efficacy.”
And here’s how that kind of in-depth coverage breaks down, year to date, by network:
ABC: 8 minutes, all of which covered terrorism.
NBC: 8 minutes for terrorism, LBGT issues, and foreign policy.
CBS: 16 minutes for foreign policy, terrorism, immigration, policing, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
And this remarkable finding from Tyndall [emphasis added]:
No trade, no healthcare, no climate change, no drugs, no poverty, no guns, no infrastructure, no deficits. To the extent that these issues have been mentioned, it has been on the candidates' terms, not on the networks' initiative.
Policy is boring! It's not like Wiener's wiener! It's not like Trump's reality show brags!
But wait! There's more: In this job interview for one of the most important jobs on the globe one candidate's utter lack of relevant expertise is entirely ignored. It doesn't matter. The other candidate's relevant expertise is regarded as a disadvantage, because it makes her an insider.
And I haven't even gotten to the part where only one candidate's purported misdeeds are viewed as clear evidence of a criminal mind.