How journalistic sensationalism buries real issues
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has had many opinion pieces written about him since he said the above last Wednesday. Here’s one more:
I don’t think Schumer crossed a line. Yes, he definitely could have used more amicable phrasing, but in context, he’s not the one in the wrong here. The right-wing media has been swarming this story since it made headlines, pointing fingers and jabbing at “the-so-called-tolerant-left” as many would say. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts began the slew of accusations, and it has since snowballed into a much bigger controversy. But everyone is missing the point. Schumer made his statement while outside a hearing on an abortion case. There has been never-ending coverage on Schumer’s comments and the response to them, but next to nothing on why he said what he said.
Louisiana rehashing legislation Texas tried to pass back in 2016. In 2016, Texas attempted to limit where people could go for abortions, under the guise that it made abortions safer. That was not the case and would have drastically limited the number of abortion clinics in the state. Texas was trying to ban abortions without doing so out-right. Thankfully, the supreme court ultimately voted to strike down the law. Now, Louisiana seeks to pass a nearly identical law, and it has again been brought before the supreme court.
But this isn’t 2016, and the cards are stacked against abortion rights with the new conservative majority in the supreme court. Every major news outlet is so focused on the spat between Schumer and Roberts that they are ignoring the actual issue. This is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. The 24-hour news cycle has caused new outlets to favor buzz-worthy over noteworthy.
Not to sound like I’m currently wearing a tin-foil hat, but maybe this is the desired outcome. Sensationalism to cover up the actual pressing issues. Flashy, clashing headlines, twitter beefs, and pundit round-tables about the controversies surrounding the people involved in certain issues rather than the issue itself.
This has been a huge problem with the media since Trump’s election. Media outlets often focus more on the things Trump is saying on twitter, or what shenanigans he is up to in Mar-A-Lago, than what he is actually doing. (Rather, what his administration is doing.) There are definitely times where this is warranted, specifically his tweets regarding Iran in January of this year, and his announcement banning transgender people from the military in 2017. But often, the media serves as a megaphone for his electronic tirades, making already bad situations worse. Nothing is done about the president’s Twitter habits when news outlets cover it, except that the network gets to fill a bit more airtime. It serves as something for the left to distantly gawk at and the right to rally behind. Soley reactionary with no action taken.
TLDR: Don’t let sensational journalism blind you from the real issues.