The point is, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to perceive the conditions of one’s environment. They’re just given.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the journalistic environment that’s created around our Presidential debates. The people asking the questions have the power to influence how the audience perceives the whole experience. None of the debates so far have featured progressive journalists framing questions. This needs to change.
The first Democratic Presidential Primary Debate will be moderated by these journalists: Dana Bash, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Juan Carlos Lopez. When you have a panel of centrist insiders posing questions from their point of view, the perception is that the only “right and reasonable” point of view is that of the Beltway Insider. Especially in our current “disruptive” environment, with ascendent outsiders such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, it only makes sense to include journalists who are adept at navigating this new landscape.
CNN would certainly have to look outside of their stable of journos to find a progressive voice. But they sure didn’t seem put out at having to outsource an ultra-conservative talking head when they tapped evangelical radio host Hugh Hewitt from far-right Salem Media who participated in the last CNN Republican Presidential Primary Debate.
In the case of the Democratic debate, to silence the progressive voice seems a spectacular misstep. This could be an opportunity for CNN to prove its relevancy by bringing on a top-tier progressive such as Katha Pollitt from The Nation, David Corn from Mother Jones, or Thomas Frank from Harper’s — thinkers who can elevate the discussion to a true national debate on issues important to Americans, rather than the usual pitting of personalities against each other.
I’m not holding my breath, but I will use this link to sign the Roots Action petition which reads: For the sake of basic fairness and balance, you should add to your panel an unapologetic progressive for Tuesday’s debate.
And I hope you will too.
Brook Hines is a writer, photographer, activist and former alt-weekly publisher, as well as an award-winning advertising creative with more than 20 years’ experience crafting strategy in “words + pictures” for clients ranging from banking and financial services to radical nuns. She’s the Senior Political Correspondent for Progressive News Network, the Communications Chair for the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Outreach Chair for the Orange County Democratic Party, and the 2015-2016 Co-Chair of New Leaders Council, Orlando Chapter.
All opinions offered here are her own, delivered from the perspective of social theory and cultural criticism. Political and media analysis through a progressive lens; owned by no one, and bound to piss everyone off, eventually.
You can easily find Brook Hines on Facebook and Flickr. Read all of Brook’s articles here.
These are her Italian Greyhounds, Trouble and Daphne. Born on 4-20-2000, Trouble’s full name is Boots Dunn Trouble. Like Cher and Prince, Daphne only needs one name.