The Media Won’t Tell You the Truth About the Media, So I Will.

If you want see everything that’s wrong with our media and how it covers elections, just check out this clip from Wednesday’s episode of Morning Joe on MSNBC.

Amazing, right?

Nothing about which candidate is going to break up the big banks, nothing about how each candidate plans to deal with our trillion student loan problem, and certainly nothing about fast-track and the TPP.

Instead, just an endless back-and-forth about “likeability,” because why talk about issues that actually matter to people when you can talk about which candidates seem nicer than the others?

It’s the whole “who would you rather have a beer with?” thing all over again, and it’s just as meaningless.

It doesn’t matter whether someone is “likeable” or not. What matters is whether or not they care about issues that affect real people and whether or not they’re willing to fight for those issues, regardless of what the billionaires think. The rest is just nonsense, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders pointed out during a recent appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources.

As usual, Bernie is right. Elections are not popularity contests -- or at least they shouldn’t be.

They’re a chance for voters and candidates to have an honest conversation about the problems facing this country. But the media doesn’t want that.

What the media wants is for everyone to treat elections like they’re the American Idol, where voters pick candidates based on how attractive they are or how much star appeal they can bring.

That’s because the media knows that if they ever actually talked about real issues, no one would vote Republican. And that terrifies the people who run the media.

The executives, the board-members, the advertisers – they’re all multi-millionaires who don’t want to see their taxes go up, and don't want to see their media empires regulated or even, as Bernie Sanders has suggested, broken up.

So instead of giving us news, they give us infotainment and gossip. And even when they do cover candidates who care about the issues, they try to marginalize them or only talk about them in the context of horse race politics.

Case in point: how the mainstream media covers Bernie Sanders.

Right now, Bernie is galvanizing voters all across the country, and is one of the few candidates to actually have an honest opinion about the biggest political story of the summer -- the TPP.

But when he appears on so-called premier shows like Meet the Press, he just gets asked questions about Hillary Clinton.

This is what the mainstream media does.

Chuck Todd had a perfect chance to dig deep into Bernie’s call for a “political revolution,” but he instead he decided to shift the conversation back to Hillary Clinton’s “trustworthiness.” This turns Bernie into a protest candidate who only matters insofar as he affects Hillary Clinton’s status as the Democratic front-runner.

America's voters deserve better than this. We deserve a rich conversation about where this country is headed and which candidate is best equipped to put us in the right direction. But we’re not going to get it out of the mainstream media because the mainstream media cares more about protecting its interests and the interests of its corporate advertisers than it does about telling us what’s really going on.

The corporate media in America will never tell you that, but now that you know, pass it on.


patrick H.T. paine's picture
patrick H.T. paine 7 years 50 weeks ago

I'm sorry, Thom but what is it that YOU are giving us?

You made google news today with this:

Thom is a lefty progressive who agrees with Bernie Sanders more than he agrees with Hillary Clinton, but has something to say that progressives should probably heed.

“It’s unimaginable the damage a Republican presidency could do…I’m very concerned that a lot of progressives are beating up on Hillary Clinton…but wounding a cadidate with the base is a very dangerous business.”

liz banker 7 years 50 weeks ago

Your link to MSNBC Morning joe's broadcast of 06/17/2015 isn’t the best example, in fact, if you really listen to that segment with Hew Hewett, they covered politics, likability, servers, ISIS - stuff that Republicans like Hewett, like to yap and whine about all day long.

If you want a real example about media fluff, celebrity, shallowness of likability, cheerleading Hillary ad nausea, just tune into MSNBC Up with Steve Kornacki on any recent Saturday and Sunday mornings. Steve had the gall on one of his shows a few weeks before Hillary officially announced, that he didn't have a bias towards Hillary when covering the politics on his show.

Another hypocrite is MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes. He recently wrote an article about Hillary's double-face, questionable approach to Middle East foreign policy but he fails on a daily basis, to apply his same level of critique on his evening shows, rarely ever mentioning the many and real flaws of Hillary.

Why doesn't MSNBC have a banner behind each of the million-dollar salaries of each of the high-profile MSNBC commentators, starting with Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, etc., screaming out what they really want to say, "HILLARY - the next COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF 2016 and I also donated hundreds of dollars and attended several pricey fund raisers for her presidential campaign."

No, Hillary doesn’t not and will not be given a PASS, a BREAK, GOING EASY on the Democratic front-runner, and any other pleas you rambled about on your radio show the other day.

To solve the Supreme Court problems of leaning its ideology too far left or right, those so-called smart lawyers from Ivy League schools ought to be proposing and petitioning for a 20-to-25 year limit to serve on the Supreme Court -- making it the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

delster's picture
delster 7 years 50 weeks ago

Media is the ultimate dumbing down of America. I am among 23 men over 65 who have morning get togetheres over coffee three times a week. The group is com[osed of close to equal proportions of liberal and conservatives. I think we all agree it's not about cookie cutter politicians with salesman personalities, nor about a lefty righty BS particanship. I think we all agree it's a Bernie Sanders thing. Bernie is the only candidate saying what we want to hear and the message is gaining mementum everywhere. During the last presidential election it was Ron Paul but now it's bernie even among conservatives because even conservatives are feeling the economic desparity and identifying the causes of it.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 50 weeks ago

Thom says "if the media talked about real issues, no one would vote Republican." Hell, I bet they would still rack up a couple hundred votes from wealthy Fascists.

I totally agree with Thom. We all need to expose the corp media for the billionaire tool/weapon it has become. Truth is not a matter of opinion, but when profit is deemed more important than truth, opinion solely for the purpose of distraction becomes the multi billion dollar goal, and we no longer have a free press, or a free country.

Corp media right wing hate speech killed those fine citizens in Charleston. The shooter simply carried out the mission he was programmed to do. The cops killing blacks are products of the same right wing hate machine. Media inspired terrorism!

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 50 weeks ago

U.S. mass media is what it is -- a privatized version of Josef Goebbels' Nazi German Ministry of Propaganda -- because it is owned by the same people who own the two major political parties and the federal, state and local government.

Whether labeled Ruling Class or One Percent, this cabal of capitalist aristocrats has the same absolute power formerly possessed by Adolf Hitler. They are the tyrants who not only rule us but shape our consciousness by their ever-more-total control of information.

Nor is there any hope for improvement. The triumphant imperial trade coalition -- which defied the will of the U.S. electorate, further slashed wages, sent still more jobs abroad and gleefully flung millions more U.S. workers into inescapable poverty -- did everything in its power to serve the One Percent by blatantly destroying the last remnants of the American experiment in representative democracy and the so-called "American Dream."

The One Percent's long-term, global goal is replacing the policy-making functions of local, state and national governments with zero-tolerance edicts handed down by dictatorially empowered boards of corporate managers. Under this system, the only purpose of traditional "government" is to maintain the goon squads of police and soldiers essential to enforce the corporate decrees.

For a prophetic view of existence beneath the boots of the resultant global imperium, look at the wretched conditions that prevailed in the coal towns of Appalachia, where the mine owners also owned everything else -- houses, stores, schools, clinics -- and every person as well.

As part of its march toward the global corporate imperium, the One Percent's more immediate goal is the reduction of the United States to fascist oligarchy -- actually a uniquely USian form of Nazism in which the corporate cabal has replaced the individual despot, with the mandatory ideology a combination of (implicitly white) exceptionalism, Christian intolerance and Ayn Rand socioeconomic savagery. And -- yes -- exceptionalism with its implication of divine-right rule is indeed the 21st Century version of the Nazis' concept of ubermenschen or Master Race.

IDespite the implicit whiteness of exceptionalism, it is no accident the present U.S. figurehead is Barack the Betrayer, who makes no secret of being the tyrannical cabal's most cravenly obedient servant thus far. Indeed it is the Betrayer who personifies the One Percent's strategy and tactics. He is not just the most malicious liar ever to occupy the presidency, but in truth a hard-Right Republican who used his membership in the Democratic Party and his own skin color as false flags to scam the U.S. electorate into imagining he might provide desperately sought relief from the succession of One Percent vassals who have lorded it over us since the coup of 22 November 1963.

The One Percenters need the U.S. not for its (now-surplus) workforce or its (irremediably poisoned) agricultural lands, but rather for the goon-squad function of its war machine.

Mass media's function in this unprecedented deceprion was merely to provide its imprimatur, thereby giving whichever Big Lie whatever appearance of truth the One Percent demanded.

As Goebbels repeatedly affirmed to Hitler, taking control of policy is only half the victory essential to total dictatorship. Full victory is achieved only when policy and the public mind are each controled with identical absolutism -- precisely what happened in Germany after 1933, precisely what has happened here in the United States in the aftermath of 22 November 1963, the subsequent decade of political murders. and the Reichstag Firer of 9/11 -- a slow-motion coup that gathers speed and momentum as it approaches its terminal events.

Which, by the way, explains the death-blow to representative democracy dealt by today's anti-worker trade vote. The national mobilization against fast-track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership made it clear a vast majority of the voters -- I have seen figures ranging from 55 percent to 80 percent -- oppose so-called "free trade." But, exactly as I predicted would happen, Congress dropped any and all pretence of representing anyone but the One Percenters, and even here in Moron Nation, such a brutal sklap-in-the-face cannot be portrayed as anything other than what it was.

This means the era of charade democracy is over, and the era of unapologetic tyranny is upon us.

But I wonder how U.S. mass media -- the world's first fully privatized government propaganda machine -- will play the story. Will they try to explain it as yet another manifesttion of how 9/11 "changed everything"? Or will they merely try to flush it down the Orwell hole?

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 50 weeks ago

Maybe Thom Hartmann listened too much to MSNBC? To explain: Usually, the VP goes on to run for president, and VP Joe Biden will be launching his campaign later in summer. (Google it.) Any Dem pol can then challenge him for the nomination, and the primaries will determine which one will run for president in 2016. MSNBC (and other lib media) went all out to disappear Biden and sell Clinton -- pro-war, anti-poor, pro-corporate empowerment, anti-New Deal Clinton. In one segment, they will rail against the TPP, and in the next, try to sell Clinton. They know that before she launched her pre-campaign spoeaking tour, Clinton was working at promoting the TPP.

Democrats remain true to their history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and the 2014 election defeat was a preview of 2016. America has a poverty crisis. Dems in Congress responded by deeply slashing food stamps to the elderly poor, the disabled and the working poor. Reportedly, they are either considering, or have already agreed to, resume dismantling Social Security, a job begun by Bill Clinton. Democrats cannot win elections with the votes of middle class Dems alone.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 50 weeks ago

How did Obama betray anyone? He never promised rainbows and unicorns. and within the obvious limitations of dealing with the two right wings in Congress, Obama has maintained the agenda he discussed as a candidate.

This generation is stuck because we can't answer this: Who are The People, and what do they want? Pols and media recognize only the consumer and campaign donor class, but this is a segment of the population that has been shrinking for years. The poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, are deeply divided, pitted against each other. The "masses" have been divided and subdivided by class and race. The rich are now doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Colorado Ron's picture
Colorado Ron 7 years 50 weeks ago

One of the most pathetically patronizing and condescending aspects of the TPP seems to model how the American public is now being treated: The bill is a secret, crafted by those who would benefit, without being open to review or debate. The talking heads tell us in generalizations how great it will be (remember Bill Clinton and NAFTA?) while those that have found scraps of the bill in print point to corporate tribunals, in their pursuit of profits, overriding sovereign governments. Who's right? I have my suspicions, but why can't I read it for myself?

And why is there no outcry in the media about the blatant attempt to kidnap our legislative proceses?

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 50 weeks ago

DHBranski's claim Obama "has maintained the agenda he discussed as a candidate" is patently dishonest nonsense, typical of what we will be hearing from Democratic Party operatives as the election campaign intensifies.

Obama the Orator ran in 2008 on three pivotal promises. These were: (1)-restoration of our constitutional rights; (2)-single-payer/public-option health care; (3)-enactment of the Employee Free Choice Act (which was the last and final hope of ever restoring Working Class power via the U.S. political system).

But as soon as Obama was elected -- not even inaugurated -- he shape-shifted into Barack the Betrayer, the hard-right Republican he has repeatedly proven himself to be.

Moreover -- and I am convinced this is the ultimate purpose assigned him by his Ruling Class masters -- he has thoroughly discredited not just the Democratic Party but the aspirations of all U.S. people of color.

The damage he has done -- done not accidentaly but with obvuious malice of forethought -- may take generations to undo.

And if it fosters -- as I fear it will -- the 2016 Republican landslide that will formally and forever redefine the United States as unapologertically fascist, the ruination wrought by Obama is literally forever because, whether by envronmental depredation, thermunuclear war or both, it will assure our species' extinction.

In this sense he has betrayed not just his obvious constituency. Inasmuch as he is the de facto emperor of the world, therefore responsible for establishing and perpetuating the four freedoms articulated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (see ), Obama has literally betrayed all humanity.

RJ Schundler's picture
RJ Schundler 7 years 50 weeks ago

Fascist are on the Left! Big business , big bank, big labor, big government working together to rule ..... And that the Dems are promoting!

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 50 weeks ago

Yeah, I wonder why these sunday talk shows don't say anything.

It's because Archer Daniels Midland pays for the show and donates to the candidate.

It's the same companies paying the same candiates.

In order to be a Sunday Talk Show Host, you need those candidates on your show. So, you trade access for truth, and you get the usual pablam of horse racing, gossip and superficial nonsense.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 50 weeks ago

Charlatans and frauds are always real likeable because they work real hard at it. Truthful people don't care that much about being likeable. You gotta watch those likeable smoothies. They'll getcha.
That's one thing I learned from watching Thom's guests.
A truthful person doesn't need to be likeable - or so they think. That's one reason lefties can be unpopular. They think having the truth should be enough. Likeability is not relevant but the righties' PR machine exploits that.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 50 weeks ago

Reply to Lorin, post #9: I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think Obama’s flip-flops discredit people of color. Not for me anyway. As for the Democrats? No argument there!

President Nixon, along with every goddam president we’ve had since Carter, has each furthered the damage in a significant way. It didn’t even start with Reagan; ole “Ray-gun” merely accelerated the process. They all sucked in my book, every friggin’ one of them.

Until this election period has run its course, I still refuse to let go of the hope Bernie Sanders has brought me. In the short time he’s been in the race, his numbers have been steadily swelling. Hope beats despair; might as well grab onto it whenever I can.

Good to see ya here, Loren…. always a treat.

donsteele 7 years 50 weeks ago

Thomas Jefferson 1787..... Were it left to me to decide if the nation were to have government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I would not hesitate to choose the latter!

Apparently, the news media wasn't owned by large industrialists back then!

bnappi's picture
bnappi 7 years 50 weeks ago

I think it’s pretty clear from the comments in this blog that people who can still think logically are able to pin down how media corruption is playing out. The question that society is refusing to address, however, is WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL CAUSE? After years of researching the breakdown of communication in modern society I found some profound, but disturbing answers.

One of the earlier discoveries, which has now been confirmed by others, was that human language is not primarily learned as a function of logic. Instead, our brains first remember speech patterns in relation to fundamental drives like smell, taste, pain, hunger etc. The response of a “brain pattern match” to something we hear is first a signal we sense as an emotion. Associating these matches with higher concepts like logic comes much later in the hearing process. This results in MAJOR LIMITATIONS to how humans hear and speak language. The major limitation is that MOST people are not able to broadly understand logical or complex issues, especially when the emotional content is high and the information comes quickly. They are not able to intuitively envision many interacting variables at one time. The best they can do is what I call SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC.

As the media, and politicians, are driven to capture wider audiences, they DUMB DOWN their material. They get the largest audience by being clever with sound BITES – i.e. single sentence logic. The problem is, for these kind of thinkers, both listeners and talkers, the logic of each sentence does NOT have to be consistent with the logic of other sentences.

Another irony of this process is that it is NOT related to being SMART or wise. Many people who think only in sound bites have a very high ability to memorize those single logical sentences. They can string them together over a very wide range of material very quickly. Human evolution has put high value on that ability. In the world of the cave man, a large memory of single pieces of logic, mostly learned through hard won experience and SUPERSTITION, and very fast recall, came in very handy for staying alive. The irony is that, in a modern complex society, these skills are detrimental. They are detrimental because they do NOT include the ability to link the separate pieces of logic together. That is, they can NOT comprehend many complex variable interacting at the same time. Let me re-emphasize this: MOST PEOPLE CANNOT INTUITIVELY COMPREHEND COMPLEX ISSUES. This is why two political parties, and a media driven by the notion that there are “always two sides to an issue” can see the same facts in such different ways. They just draw on different collections of superstition and random experience.

The irony continues when, to counter challenges, both sides are driven to GET MORE DATA. The irony is, it doesn’t help! Because listeners don’t know how to simultaneously process lots of variables, providing more doesn’t help. It creates more confusion.

Of course, people don’t want to admit it. As modern culture grew in complexity, and people were barraged with more complexity, they created “street smart” workarounds to get by. While it worked for awhile, while society was still sparse and primarily agricultural, we have now reached a level of technology and social system complexity where the workarounds don’t work anymore.

With the radical extremes we hear from our government leaders and the media, it is not a stretch to say those discussions are not distinguishable from what we would hear in an insane asylum. THIS IS WHAT THE MEDIA WON’T TELL YOU. Tragically, it is because those who control it aren’t able to understand it themselves.

This problem with Language is discussed further at

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

bnappi -- It seems to me those who control it understand it too well. For example, Murdock uses it to have the people he wants elected.

donsteele 7 years 48 weeks ago

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump should have already been dropped by the media as possible Presidential candidates. The media is well aware that Bernie has never sought a large audience to tell us what we wish to hear, making his message and his Office ineffective. The Donald's outrageous opening Presidential campaign statements reveal his lapse of lucidity, which immediately disqualified him as a candidate. Infotainment media is a curse that must be removed in the interest of better society. Shame on us for having allowed this damaging industry to have survived for so long!

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

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