Reporters and editors for the corporate media apparently learned everything they felt they needed to know about covering election campaigns in high school. In high school elections the only basis on which to choose between candidates are personality, appearance, poise, confidence, speaking style and (less often) debating skill. High school teachers and administrators invariably say that the experience of deciding for whom to vote in a school election should be used as training for participating in our national democracy as adults.
This message, that when choosing a president or Congressperson we should make the decision on the basis of the image the candidate’s campaign has presented, is apparently one that the reporters and editors for the main-stream corporate media have taken to heart. Besides, it is much easier to simply report what the candidates are saying, how they appear and speak and the image that the campaigns are presenting than to do investigative reporting. Actually doing some research and reporting whether what the candidates are claiming is true or not is a lot of work, Besides, investigative reporters who take their journalistic responsibilities seriously are often criticized as being biased by the supporters of the candidates whose lies they have exposed.
For example, in the Republican candidates debate last Tuesday, asked whether we should have invaded Iraq, Mitt Romney said that war could only have been avoided if Saddam “had opened up his country to I.A.E.A. inspectors, and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction.” He dismissed this as an “unreasonable hypothetical.”
That, of course, is not how it happened at all. Saddam Hussein did allow the inspectors in. Remember Hans Blix? Remember how he did not find any weapons of mass destruction and was asking for more time to complete his inspections. President Bush was the one who ordered the inspectors out so that we could invade. You can look it up. If you did you would be a better journalist than most of the people who covered the debate. I could not find any report in the main-stream media that provided any fact-checking for any of the candidates’ statements, including Mitt Romney’s revisionist history.