Let’s be clear. I still think the Donald is a thin-skinned, narcissistic bully whose only goal is self-promotion.
Nonetheless, CNN and other media outlets must de-escalate the Russia story and find more time for other news. There are two reasons for this. First, there is other important news. Second, roughly one-third of the country doesn’t care. If you want to maintain (or reestablish) a reputation for fair coverage, you can’t spend all your on-air time talking about something a third of your potential viewers think is unimportant and won’t be interested in unless something much more definitive comes to light. It looks more like harassment than news coverage to a lot of people and is divisive. Don’t stop reporting on new facts related to Russian election-meddling, possible collusion and hacking. Just don’t spend all day and all night covering the same issues.
Other Stories Needing Coverage
While you are covering Russia-related news, spend time on what Congress and the White House are doing about the Russian hacking. Are they continuing the Obama Department of Homeland Security efforts to help states? Are they doing something new? Nothing? How are they protecting us from the next attack. Frankly, I care more about that than I do about Don Jr’s ineptitude and Jared’s shallowness. If you are going to obsess over Don Jr’s and Jared’s foibles, at least ask how it is that they so casually deal with the Russian oligarchy. It’s almost like they are part of it. Imagine the American populist president’s campaign being approached so easily and successfully by Russian oligarchs. Imagine instead it was the Sicilian Mafia. Except that the Russians are richer and deeply connected with the government, I don’t think there is much difference. Trump’s supporters deserve to know about that aspect of the meeting.
Let’s also get some updates on the veiled threats made by the administration to corporate mergers involving “enemies”. Like the AT&T/Time Warner merger which involves CNN. How about the escalation of the Afghan war and creeping incursion in Syria not to mention the abandonment of the Free Syria Army.
Maybe we could afford a few eyeballs on Venezuela before it becomes the refugee generator of the Americas. I believe that the president made some statement of support for them. What exactly is our policy with respect to Venezuela?
Another good topic would be the continued (since 2010) growth of jobs and the economy and why economists think it is not more robust. Maybe even on what could boost it. Perhaps something on the infrastructure plans that have been presented to Congress just this year. By my count, something close to thirty infrastructure bills from both Republicans and Democrats are in the works. That is a lot of churning but probably represents more than POTUS is doing. What is in his plan again?
Perhaps more important for the current political situation is healthcare. For example, I was surprised to learn about several proposals that have been made by democrats to fix problems in the ACA. Someone needs to question the president when he says he gets no help from the Democrats. Maybe he doesn’t know because he gets his news from CNN and Fox.
How about the tax reform plan? The president’s notes were apparently pretty thin but Paul Ryan has a budget plan too. What’s in them? Talk to Ryan. Ask Huckabee-Sanders. And the coming debt ceiling debate ought to be getting some coverage before it reaches crisis proportions.
Updates on campaign promises? I’ve seen a little bit on these but it isn’t something that should only be covered every six months.
CNN in particular spends far too much time with talking heads who ignore each other for the sake of getting talking points out. Please, make the speakers reconcile their “facts”. In some cases there is a “glass half empty/half full” issue. Acknowledge that. In some cases, there is pure BS on one side or both sides. CNN has gotten better at calling out lies but often let two people put half empty/half full facts out.
Russia may become the downfall of the administration. But there are other acts in the circus. Most of them will have longer term consequences. I was recently in a discussion on fake news. One aspect we missed is failure to report on the full range of important topics. This may be where the main stream media is letting us down.