Martin O'Malley who? It is the media who crowns the king

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley (left).
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley (left).

I recently conducted an unscientific survey of “everyday Democrats” (those not strongly involved in politics) to try and gauge how accurate was the polling for support of Democratic presidential candidates. Once a conversation would arise with someone identifying themselves as a Democrat, I asked them a simple question, “What is your opinion about Martin O’Malley?” Unless the person was from Maryland, invariably, I would get a near universal response of “Martin O’Malley who?”

And so it goes. The political Catch-22 system of politics in America. If a candidate does not raise enough money quickly enough, then that candidate is not seen as being viable. But often the reason a candidate does not raise enough money is because the media does not cover them fairly. Likewise, since so few people know O’Malley’s name due to media exclusion, he is not doing well in the polls.

O’Malley’s predicament is similar to what faced 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, Gary Johnson. Both are interesting, qualified candidates that the public would likely love, but for one reason or another, are excluded from gaining any real traction due to media exclusion. In 2012, it was clear to anyone paying attention, which the mainstream media are paid to do, that Johnson was not only qualified but was the most interesting person to cover. His positions were also, most in line with the general American public; however, the general media refused him regular and equal coverage. The results of which, was no one knew who Johnson was and was not going to vote for him. The media failed in journalism 101 — informing the public in an unbiased fashion.

The only two people Democrats (or the general public) hears about on the Democratic side are the names of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Sanders is treated more like a gadfly than a real presidential candidate by the political media, something I am sure O’Mallley wouldn’t mind at this point as he fights to gain traction with the mainstream media. With 15 or 16 Democratic presidential candidates who have officially declared, it is hard to decide who gets coverage and who does not. But, O’Malley has been a popular Governor of Maryland since 2007, one would think he is qualified and should share equal coverage with Clinton and Sanders. But nope! The mainstream media is not having anything to do with him — evidenced by no one knowing who he is.

Sure, they’ll give O’Malley  a quick five minutes here and there, but certainly not enough for people to remember his name. And name recognition is 97% of the battle to getting elected in America, or at the very least to become a final contender. Even with Bernie Sanders speaking to a crowd of 10,000 supporters last week garnering him some media coverage, it is almost as if the 2016 general election ballots have already been printed and Bernie’s name is nowhere to be found. Sorry Bernie, the media has made its choice.

Clinton, who has done everything she can to piss off the press, still remains Queen in their eyes. It seems as if there is nothing Clinton cannot do to derail their enthusiasm for her candidacy. And there is the danger. Because she gets the overwhelming bulk of media coverage on the Democratic side, she is all the public hears about, so when pollsters ask the question, Hillary’s name comes up because it is all they know.

Rather than educate the public as to who the candidates are and what they stand for, the mainstream media chooses to mention Clinton’s name far more often than any other candidate. It is the media who crowns the king.


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