“How The Media Promote Conflict”: Because That’s What Sells
Have you ever had the experiencing of reading an explosive headline only to click on the story and find that the actual context doesn’t back it up? I sure have. Let me give you an example.
Perhaps you’ve heard that, at a news conference, Bernie Sanders said that Democrats would have a “contested convention.” Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes have a story at The Hill with this headline: Clinton allies fume over Sanders’s vow to fight on. That headline repeats the first paragraph of the story.
Hillary Clinton’s allies are fuming over Bernie Sanders’s vow to take the presidential nominating contest to a floor fight at the Democratic convention this summer.
After that, you get some background on the state of the race. When it comes to what “Clinton allies” actually said, here is the report:
“Hillary leads in pledged and unpledged delegates, and there is little opportunity for that dynamic to change over the next few weeks,” said former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman. “Nothing about these numbers says we’re headed to a contested convention.”
And none of the more than half-dozen Clinton supporters The Hill interviewed believe Sanders would risk casting the Democratic convention into the kind of chaos that Republicans are bracing for in Cleveland.
If he tries, they say, he’ll fail…
Rather, Democrats view Sanders’s rhetoric as a last-ditch effort to stay relevant in a race that has gotten away from him.
That’s fine with most Clinton supporters, at least for now.
Many Democrats are at peace with Sanders staying in the race through the end of the primaries and using his leverage to push for a more progressive Democratic platform at the convention.
There is little pressure on Sanders to drop out, even though he trails.
Who’s fuming? I guess a headline suggesting that Clinton allies are fine with the fact that Sanders is launching a last-ditch effort to stay relevant, are at peace with him staying in the race, and are not exerting pressure on him to drop out just wouldn’t sell.
But I can imagine that there will be people who only read the headline and run with the story about how the Clinton campaign is angry and lashing out at Sanders for vowing to fight on. If so, it is a total media fabrication designed to promote conflict – because that is what sells. Politicians and their allies acting like grown-ups apparently doesn’t.
By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 3, 2016