This revolution in communication isn’t over. The 2016 presidential campaign has brought us more dramatic transformations in the art and science of political communication. It’s changed what constitutes an appropriate statement by a candidate or campaign, and changed the content and nature of the news itself. Most of this has been driven by one candidate.
Now Hillary Clinton is a public figure, and in an era of wall-to-wall PR it’s hard to argue that she’s not playing the game. But perhaps she simply backed into it. Perhaps she’s that Sixties activist at heart who preferred behind-the-scenes advocacy and the humility of action — but got drawn into politics as a result of her husband’s career. Perhaps she is a reluctant politician, not a Machiavellian schemer.
This year is on track to be the world’s hottest on record, exceeding the previous hottest year, 2015, which exceeded the previous hottest year, 2014. For the news media, this campaign offers a teachable moment. If you want to tell the most important story in human history, if you believe that rousing your audience to civic action is part of journalism’s job, you might want to cover the 2016 campaign against the backdrop of brutal climate change, and to frame this election as a choice whose consequences could be irreversibly damaging for the rest of human history.
That Donald Trump may believe we are living through another 1968 says less about the nation today and more about a man who may be our president. He admits to getting his news on cable, which creates a virtual 1968 with its constant images of unrest, violence, terrorism, and crime. But a virtual 1968 is not a real one, and we must expect any leader of our country to resist the emotional pull of gruesome television images and to think rationally and deliberately about the real state of our nation.
Ali-Frazier. It was an event everybody in America paid attention to. In our fragmented media environment today that wouldn’t happen. That’s unfortunate.
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