Climate change, skyrocketing drug prices, methane leaks caused by the oil-and-gas industry, US soldiers relying on food stamps to survive, California's war on the homeless, U.S. support of Saudia Arabia's genocide in Dufar against the Houthis are all important news stories.
Instead the media gives wall-to-wall coverage of the Orangeman, Donald Trump. On CNN&N, MSFBC and FAUX there is almost total absence of policy discussion. Instead, these infotainment channels treat the campaign as a kind of spectacle, as if it were some sort horse race where Trump and Clinton were vying for the Triple Crown.
To my surprise, Andrew Lackluster, the chief of MSFBC, who oversees NBG News and MSFBC, agreed to an interview. While it is true that this publication has a small circulation among political junkies and the mainstream media isn't going to report on Mr. Lackluster's outrageous comments, I was, nevertheless, shocked when he simply toyed with me.
Because MSFBC is part of the Comtrast media conglomerate, the largest media outlet in the world, I asked executive Lackluster if there was no substance on his news channel because profit was the bottom line.
He replied, "Yeah well, Advertisers on the channel like the American Petroleum Institute, who pushes for more carbon pollution; Chevron, Exxon Mobil; Charles Schwabb; and GE, who designed nuclear reactors in Fukishima, don't want anything of significance on MSFNBC. It just elevates reader anxiety and anxious people aren't receptive to advertising many studies show. And, above all, we don't want to anger the Military-Industrial-Complex.
"Is that why Comtrast fired Bill Press, Keith Olbermann and others, because they sometimes were too controversial," I asked him.
"These people were troublemakers. Good riddance. I like people who come across as serious and intense but don't say anything. I particularly like guest commentators who say outrageous meaningless things and raise show ratings," explained Lackluster.
I said, "Former FCC Newton Minnow once called TV a wasteland. Any thoughts on that?
"Yeah, everybody knows that. Look at Trump. All the news networks try to pretend that his campaign isn't strange, bizarre and not really a campaign at all except for overblown media attention. That's so they can give it credibility and keep giving it overblown media attention! It's some kind of a circle," laughed lackluster.
"But don't you care about your country? NBG and MSFBC are powerful institutions, they help shape public opinion. Don't you have a responsibility to call out Trump and point out how dangerous he is," I inquired of the executive.
"We're just giving our countrymen what they want in order to make money. What's wrong with that? Look, man, the country loves celebrities. That's what Trump is. Like any celebrity, he's just a commodity that can be sold for a price. At MSFBC we sell him for a price that our sponsors pay us cause our viewership goes up when he's on. Besides, he's rich so people live through him. It's too complicated for me to explain to you," he said.
"Try me," I responded.
"We're selling a persona for money. That's what TV does. Trump is just part of an illusory world of created characters. The illusion of Trump is so vivid that's it's real to people. The reality is that he an ignorant fool with a short attention span and an emptiness that can never be filled by any amount of publicity.
" Of course If I can get somebody to say just that on TV that's good because it's sensational and attention getting and keeps our viewers. But the commentator wouldn't be able to help our ratings in the first place unless we created the illusion of Trump as some kind of a powerful and admirable icon when he's actually nothing but a poor slob in need of a mental health professional. "
"This is a very powerful condemnation of your business, Mr. Lackluster,"
"Don't get me started! If I catch one of my children watching TV I'll put them up for adoption."