No matter how many times this point is articulated by smart, reasonable people, the media in America will not accept that Donald Trump is infinitely worse than Hillary Clinton and is bent on making this is a two horse race at any cost.
Sure, there are outliers who are aware of just how dangerous a Trump presidency would be, but the overall message is as follows: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are bad candidates with equally murky pasts, and both deserve equal scorn for whatever ethical breaches they have committed.
Before the Hillary Conspiracy Theorist crowd goes batshit crazy, I am not saying that the media shouldn’t be looking into Hillary’s past or refuse to criticize her. Clinton is attempting to become president of the United States and it would be a journalistic travesty if the media gave her a free pass and propagandized on her behalf. What I am saying is this: The premise that both candidates are ‘just as bad’ as one another is demonstrably false. Therefore it is not only unfair to frame the presidential race as such, but deeply unethical from a journalistic point of view.
This is something we have written about over and over again at the Banter, and it is worth repeating: When you take an objective look at the scandals each candidate has been involved in, something very clear appears. While there is certainly some cause for concern when it comes to Hillary Clinton’s past, she has been cleared in every official investigation and is reasonably clean when compared to most active politician in America. In fact, Clinton is more a victim of relentless right wing smearing than anything else. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is as dirty as they come. Put aside the racism, xenophobia, misogyny and idiocy — Trump is perhaps the shadiest candidate in US presidential history. As Jonathan Chait writes:
His [Trump’s] entire political career seems to be an outgrowth of his efforts to build his personal brand, which Trump has endlessly used the campaign as a platform to promote. He has devoted speeches to attacking the judge in the fraud suit against his “university,” instructed surrogates to do the same, and promised to relaunch the enterprise if elected. He celebrated the Brexit vote, which drove down the value of the pound, as helpful for driving visitors to his Scottish golf course. This sort of behavior is not an appearance of a conflict of interest but the definition of one.
When the entire basis of Trump’s campaign is completely corrupt, making it comparable to Clintons is simply a dereliction of journalistic duty. Hillary Clinton isn’t running to further her business interests or personal brand in order to profit monetarily, yet she is deemed ‘corrupt’ by the media. Donald Trump isn’t even trying to disguise his business ambitions, yet the media seems more interested in Clinton’s email scandal (that upon further scrutiny, is turning out to be not much of a scandal).
So what exactly is going on here?
In short, the media wants the candidates to be ‘just as bad’ as each other so that it can continue creating the illusion of a two horse race. This illusion helps create an actual two horse race, which is good for ratings. If the media was being honest about Donald Trump’s presidential run and came out and said what every intelligent person on planet earth already knows — that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House because he is unique and terrifying threat to the human species — we wouldn’t have much of a race. In fact, Trump would have likely dropped out by now and Clinton would be doing battle with whatever milquetoast company man the GOP wanted to sacrifice.
We’ve seen this little game played out over and over again, and it almost always ends badly. George W. Bush — a man who had problems stringing basic sentences together — was elected as president twice thanks to the media’s insistence that Al Gore was boring and John Kerry was a flip flopper. Seemingly unable to collectively recall the 8 years of horror Americans and the rest of the planet were subjected to under Bush’s ‘leadership’, they are at it again creating the same bullshit narrative that both candidates are ‘just as bad’.
This horrifying mixture of mass amnesia and corporate greed is infinitely worse than anything we’ve seen before, simply because the consequences will be so much worse. If we thought Bush Jr was a catastrophe, Trump will make the first decade of of the 21st century look like a golden era of peace and human progress.
So for the love of God, don’t buy into this nonsense any more. We have little time left and are too close to the edge to entertain this fallacy, that again, has no factual basis whatsoever.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.