Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 19 Democratic Debate: Corporate Media Pushing Interventionist Agenda Again

Much is made of FoxNews' interventionist agenda.

The same can be said, of course, to a far subtler degree, about the other corporate media outlets. Last night was a prime example.

On ABC News' debate in Manchester, New Hampshire moderators David Muir and Martha Raddatz injected their particular inherent issue position slants. Ostensibly, this debate was hosted by local ABC affiliate WMUR, the first and for most of its history the only commercial television in the state. However, the the two network hosts ran the debate. Raddatz was particularly egregious, as she was arguing with candidates, as though she was one of the debate participants. She tenaciously pushed her perspective of how to deal with disorder in the war-torn Middle East. And she was impatient when the answer was not professing a posture aggressive enough for her.

It is not the role of the media to frame issues and set agenda. Yet, this is what Raddatz did. When the media push an obsession with foreign wars and when they push their desire for United States involvement they are pushing their agenda.

Bernie Sanders has said that we should not have the degree of ISIS obsession that we are having. He pointed out that this takes away from attention to the economy, as he did when he called for more attention about two weeks ago to the economic needs of American cities such as Baltimore. This is absolutely correct. Of course, ISIS is a vile, horrendous scourge on humankind, across continents, and the ISIS threat must be dealt with resolutely. But every time that there is obsession with foreign issues, there is diversion from issues of domestic concern. Raddatz should not be arguing with candidates, engaging in rebuttals, in response to candidates' answers.

The media and the neo-conservative interventionist politicians push a policy of reflexive US involvement in many if not most international controversies that arise. This is not appropriate. This takes away attention to domestic needs. Additionally, we should resolve American issues, such as inadequate domestic economic development, rather than military ventures. Diverting attention away from domestic inequality and inadequate economic development and channeling attention to international unrest is a way to paper over inequality. We should recognize the effects of the media's agenda setting and question why we must allow its interventionist priorities become immediately adopted as policy, without exercising any independent critical thinking.