Sound Off: How Ratings Will Send Donald to the Top

smug bastard.

smug bastard. (Image credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr)

I AM JUST going to shoot this straight to everyone. No muss, no fuss. Whether you support Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump (or as I like to, and will, call him — Donald Drumpf), this election cycle has taught us all that corporate media has bought out our elections. How we receive news and information — and what news and information that actually is — is determined by what will get them the best ratings. This morning, when I went on Instagram and found out from Kendall Jenner that something terrible happened in Brussels, I immediately turned on the Today Show. Yes, I know, I may be losing initial credibility by admitting how I receive my news, but that’s sort of the point. So, I turn on the Today Show and learn just how extensive the damage is in Brussels and how devastating it is for this country, and then Matt Lauer tells me I’m going to now hear Donald Drumpf’s take on the terrorist attack. Everything he said was scary, wrong, and not what I — or anyone else — particularly needed to hear. Yet, Matt Lauer did not interview any other candidate on what their thoughts were or what they would do if they were President… just Drumpf. It’s getting clearer every day that if you don’t have Twitter or Instagram or any of the news app, and you rely solely on television to get your news (which a lot of people in America do, by the way), the only person you’ll see running for President of the United States is Donald. Effing. Drumpf.

That is the problem, and there is a reason for that problem.

These news programs are owned by networks that are owned by huge corporations, that are run by spineless ratings-driven scum who want more money for advertising. The more eyeballs they get watching their news program, the more valuable their ad space becomes, and then the more money they make. The person who gets the most ratings is the fear-mongering spectacle we all know and love to hate. And he knows it! You think you have one of the top-rated reality shows without knowing how the advertising and ratings models work?

What seeing this piece on the Today Show proved to me is that it’s not just Fox News anymore — it’s all of them. The Today Show is on NBC, which is owned by Comcast. While Comcast donates directly to Hillary Clinton’s campaign (different article for a different time), they did not interview Hillary Clinton. No, they went for the ratings guy, the guy who knows he’s the ratings guy. They went for Drumpf.

Here’s a statistic for you: In the last 100 days, Donald Drumpf was mentioned almost 3 times more than the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton. Not a single advertising dollar spent, just simple mentions of his name in mainstream news media by other people.

Last week, Fox News released a corporate media announcement saying: “Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land.” Well, I call bullsh*t on this—and not because it isn’t true. It is true. Frankly, Drumpf’s comments to Megyn Kelly are sexist and inexcusable and it is all beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate. But I call bullsh*t on Fox News’ intention here. When I Googled “Fox News Megyn Kelly Donald Trump,” I got 4.1 million hits in .71 seconds — with the first few pages of my search results all about this press release. Do I think Fox News did this to take a stand against Donald Drumpf? Sure. Do I think Fox News did this to take a stand against Donald Drumpf, get everyone on their cable networks talking about this statement, and then get a reaction from Donald Drumpf so that more people tune into Fox News over CNN? Yup. Yup, I f**king do. And the worst part about it: where will Fox News be when one of Donald Drumpf’s crazy gun-carrying fans shows up at Megyn Kelly’s house with her three children at home? Probably around the block hoping to get coverage first.

So what do we do about this? How do we stop Donald Drumpf from becoming President? Take a page out of Bernie’s campaign and realize that one by one, person- to- person, we can take the power back. When you hear Donald Drumpf’s name on the news, change the channel. Unfollow him on Twitter. Do not search his name to see what the latest controversy is that he has started.* Search candidates that align with your values. Donate money to them. Be active and participate. Educate others. In the words of John Oliver: “Make Donald Drumpf again.”

*Yes, I understand the irony of writing an article about Donald Drumpf telling you not to search articles about Donald Trumpf. It’s not lost on me, trust.