Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 25 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/27/16

Lester Holt Asks Zero Questions About Poverty, Abortion, Climate Change

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   3 comments

Original here

By Adam Johnson

Debate moderator Lester Holt, asking a question that did not involve immigration, healthcare or student debt.
Debate moderator Lester Holt, asking a question that did not involve immigration, healthcare or student debt.
(Image by (image: NBC News))
  Details   DMCA

Presidential debates do as much to illustrate corporate media priorities as they do to showcase the candidates. They provide a snapshot into what the media, in this case represented by NBC's Lester Holt, prioritizes as issues worthy of discussion.

A week before the debate, Comcast-owned NBC announced the topics, and one could already tell we weren't going to be in for a substantive evening: "Achieving prosperity," "America's direction" and "securing America." This generic approach led to a generic debate that focused mostly on horse-race disputes and vague, open-ended questions about taxes and jobs.

Holt didn't ask any questions about the following topics: poverty, abortion, climate change, immigration, healthcare, student debt, privacy, LGBTQ rights or drug policy. (NBC reported before the debate that abortion and immigration were two of the policy issues that voters were most interested in, as indicated by Google searches, along with the economy and police shootings.)

What was discussed: jobs, Trump's tax returns, who did or didn't support the Iraq War, raising taxes on the rich, race (framed mostly in a way that pandered to Trump's theme of a country in disarray), Russian cyberattacks, ISIS, Obama's birth certificate, Clinton's physical appearance and whether the candidates would accept the election results.

Obviously, a moderator can't cover every topic in a 90-minute debate, but one can hardly imagine a scenario where the candidates weren't asked to discuss taxes on the wealthy, ISIS and the specter of Russian cyberattacks -- topics, not coincidentally, the average person is rarely if ever affected by, but receive nonstop discussion on cable news and opinion sections. Holt even framed raising taxes on the wealthy -- whose share of national income has multiplied six-fold over the last 40 years -- as something Clinton had to "defend."

Total mentions from the moderator and the two candidates combined for ISIS were 24; Russia/Putin had 16 and Iran 19. Total mentions of abortion, poverty, health insurance, LGBTQ rights and voter suppression were zero. Climate change was only mentioned--once--because Clinton brought it up.

As FAIR (5/6/16) noted previously, in nine Democratic Party debates, there were no questions asked about poverty. As Think Progress (4/14/16) pointed out, there were also zero questions about abortion.

Issues specifically affecting the poor, LGBTQ people and women (aside from a question about Trump denying that Clinton had "a presidential look") continue to be overlooked. To the extent race was discussed, it was framed with the false parity of "race relations." Holt didn't ask Clinton, for example, how she would fight racism -- a word Holt never mentioned -- but instead asked her how she would "heal the divide." (In Holt's defense, he did press Trump on his racist "birther" campaign.)

The next debate will be on October 9, hosted by ABC's Martha Raddatz, a reporter noted for her closeness to military sources (FAIR Blog, 11/14/11).

Must Read 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Fair Org Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

NYT Declares Snowden a Thief -- and Journalism a Crime

Remembering the Gulf of Tonkin, and the Consequences of Wanting to Believe

Do Racists Like Fox News, or Does Fox Make People Racist?

Facebook's New Propaganda Partners

Centrist Pundits Paved Way for Trump's 'Alt-Left' False Equivalence

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend