By Robert A. Vella
Tonight, the first Democratic Party debate of the 2016 presidential election campaign season will take place to be moderated by the mainstream corporate news media conglomerate CNN (a subsidiary of Time Warner). In the early days of televised presidential debates (the first occurred in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon), the new political forum was a good way for candidates to greet the American people and to exchange competing ideas within the democratic process. For the most part, it worked. However, since the deregulation of media in the 1980s and the subsequent consolidation of its corporate structures, America’s televised presidential debates have turned into a circus clown show and a mockery of democracy.
Why? Because the art of journalism has been systematically dismantled to appease corporate sensibilities and to maximize profits. Further complicating the problem is the costly dumbing-down of the American populace by its failed education and economic systems in addition to the concurrent growth of public apathy regarding politics. This combination of untalented hamstrung journalists with an ignorant and disengaged viewership, has transformed the once-prestigious presidential debate into a pathetically predictable sideshow wholly devoid of any substance. That some have called it a “freak show” is not without merit.
Consequently, there is really only three relevant things remaining to consider in tonight’s debate:
- How aggressive will insurgent candidate Bernie Sanders be in criticizing the entrenched political/corporate establishment (a.k.a. corporatism) which is responsible for most of what ails America in the 21st century.
- How convincing will establishment candidate Hillary Clinton be in attempting to close the wide gap between her rhetoric and her actual record as a public servant.
- How egregiously will CNN shift the debate away from the fundamental and systemic issues facing the nation and towards meaningless trivialities such as Sanders’ socialistic beliefs and Clinton’s Benghazi scandal (which was manufactured by Republicans).
There is a fourth relevant thing which you will not see mentioned in tonight’s debate. Lawrence Lessig – who is focusing his referendum candidacy solely on the corrupting influence of money in politics – was not allowed to participate, and he is now contemplating a third-party run for president (see: Sidelined by Democrats, Larry Lessig considers running against them).