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Voter resolve must offset media complicity in distorting 2024 election integrity

Photo caption: (left to right) Former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden, and Florida Governor Ron Desantis

America owes the phenomenon that was the greatest election upset in the nation’s history largely to lopsided coverage and fact checking failures of network news and television cable news.

By their own admission, MSNBC, CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC provided inordinate coverage to this upstart political novice, who boasted notoriety as a television reality show host. The bottom line for all of them was profit. The more controversy, the more viewers, the more viewers, the more paid advertising.

No, there is no amnesia here. There would have been no upset without Russian intervention, false controversy over Hillary Clinton emails, voter apathy, the lure of an openly racist and sexist candidate, as well as James Comey and his historic indiscretion as head of the FBI. And the nation’s nature of marginalizing women was a contributor.

But if the United States working media had been more diligent in their responsibility to research, gather and convey information that was truthful, based on in-depth investigation, there would likely have not been enough momentum to push this most unlikely of candidates over the top.

So why bring up the failures of 2016 today? Because the news media appear not to have learned anything from past failures, and seem to be heading in the same direction as 2016, orchestrating coverage of the critical 2024 election.

It seems they cannot resist the drama and appear intent on keeping “45” front and center, despite his corruption and total irrelevance to anyone other than his base.

This time, news media must incorporate the realities of 45’s failed presidency into every measure of coverage. In other words, he should always be introduced as twice impeached; legally liable in a civil sex offender trial; twice indicted; leader of an insurrection against the U.S. government; conspirator to block the peaceful transfer of power; an avid proponent of eradicating the Constitution and an enemy of democracy.

And what if the media again falls short of its duties? Simple. This time American voters must ignore jaded media perspectives and function on the knowledge that has been so pervasive about not only 45, but Republicans in general over the past few years.

When people say all politicians are alike and there’s no distinction in parties, they are oversimplifying a grave concern and demonstrating dereliction in the critical need to know and do better.

No party offers all the right answers. To pretend there’s no clear distinction in terms of which party is more sensitive to human needs and the concerns of people is simply intellectually dishonest. The point is, lines have been so clearly drawn in the sand that it should not matter what the news media reports between now and the time we vote in 2024.

The differences between Republicans and Democrats is crystal clear on human issues ranging from civil rights, migration, abortion, voting rights, police reform, student college loan forgiveness, accommodations for veterans, health care, the economy, environment, education, infrastructure and so many other aspects of our everyday lives.

These are perilous times. We have all got to function at our highest levels of conscientious citizenship. It means assuring we are all registered, and that we do all we can as individuals and within the context of our organizations, professional groups, neighborhoods, church communities, sororities and fraternities, and social circles to keep 2024 at the forefront of our minds.

We cannot afford to allow the return of incompetence to the White House or elect some unsuspecting newcomer who comes in different packaging who basically brings the same immoral content. Whatever differences there are among people who genuinely care about their country, they should be resolved in time to come together, and for us on Election Day.

What the media chooses to do should be inconsequential at the end of the day, if citizens get their act together. Those who are afraid to compete at the national level will attempt to sneak in through voter suppression and gerrymandering. Our resolve must overcome any obstacles and must outweigh their scurrilous and underhanded attempts to ignore the clear will of the people. Democracy can still work!

Vernon A. Williams
Vernon A. Williams

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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