Mainstream media's dismissal of third party candidates seeks to convince the public that Clinton and Trump are the only choices available to voters.
Following the first presidential debate, CNN held a focus group at the University of Richmond in order to gauge public opinion of the candidates based on their debate performance. However, the opinions of those who had chosen to vote for a 3rd party candidate were allegedly censored. According to Justin Smith, one of the focus group’s participants, those who said they would cast their vote for a third party candidate were intentionally mislabeled as “undecided” voters. Smith said that 12 of the 28-panel members, almost half, told CNN that they would be voting for a third party. However, once CNN saw the response, they decided to re-shoot the segment because it didn’t fit the narrative. They then redid the segment and replaced the “3rd party” option with “still undecided.”
CNN and other mainstream media outlets are desperately trying to curb growing US demand for a major 3rd political party that can compete with Republicans and Democrats. According to a recent Gallup poll, 58% of Americans say a third party is needed because the two “traditional” parties “do such a poor job” representing the American people. Gallup said that these views are consistent with the increasingly negative views people have of both the Republican and Democratic parties. However, some argue that it’s not the parties as much as their candidates this election cycle as 65% of respondents to an earlier poll by Data Targeting said they would be willing to support any candidate other than Trump or Clinton. These numbers are especially staggering among young voters as 91% of voters under the age of 29 said they would vote for an independent candidate over Trump or Clinton. Similar sentiments are also strong with the elderly as noted by an uptick in obituaries warning others from voting for one or both of the establishment candidates. A recent ballot test even suggested that any independent candidate – if given the same coverage as the Democratic and Republican candidates – would immediately begin their candidacy with 21% of the vote.
Mainstream media is all too aware of this trend, but many have cast their lot with the establishment candidates anyway, particularly Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. This is especially true for CNN. One of their hosts, Chris Cuomo, said that the media “couldn’t have helped [Hillary] more than we already have. We’re the biggest ones supporting her campaign.” CNN also cut off a reporter on live television after she dared to discuss Clinton’s vulnerabilities as a candidate. Other mainstream news outlets have followed suit.
The Huffington Post recently fired long-time contributor David Seaman and deleted his columns from their website because he linked to a video questioning Clinton’s health that had been viewed over 4 million times. Seaman described the move as “chilling.” Even PBS was caught censoring a Jill Stein interview where she made critical comments of Clinton’s positions on the TTP and Obamacare. Not surprisingly, many of these media organizations, including the New York Times, Google, CNN, and PBS have all donated large sums to the Clinton Foundation. However, this dishonest reporting has had major consequences as over 77% of Americans no longer trust mainstream media television. Americans actually have more confidence in banks and the police than they do in television news and newspapers. However, mainstream media can still cause damage and their efforts to censor third parties and air biased reports work to subvert democracy and the voice of the American people.
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