Politics and Media and the Impact of the Internet

Alain Sanders, a political science professor at Saint Peter’s University and former journalist, talks to Steve Adubato about the state of politics and media today, and why he is not a fan of the Internet.

8/8/17 #2065






"Welcome to One on One. I'm Steve Adubato. It is our honor and pleasure to introduce Dr. Alain Sanders, who is Associate Professor of Political Science, Saint Peter's University, and former Time Magazine senior reporter. Good to see you. My pleasure. Politics today, 2017, about halfway through the year, we'll be seen after that as well. How would you describe the state of our nation in terms of the political divide? A complicated question... Well, yeah I mean the simple answer is highly polarized. The Left doesn't trust the Right. The Right doesn't trust the Left. The Center is delicate. In some ways crumbling. And we're in a serious polarized environment right now. So we're doing this and then let's just say the Trump Administration has provided a whole range of interesting things to talk about. We're doing this literally on the same day that James Comey is testifying. Mm hmm. Everyone's talking about it. But this, again, will be seen after. What impact has Donald Trump had on the political slash media environment in this country? Well he certainly put the media on the defensive and he has put the media in a situation where he has to prove its trust. And that's a difficult thing to do. The media environment is difficult, it's always difficult, because you're always dealing with politicians who are busy spinning, or not... What makes it worse now? And this expression "fake news" wasn't around until recently. Well what makes it work is a direct attack, it's very similar, of course, and you'll recall, to... Is it Nixonian? Yeah. Very much so. Remember Spiro Agnew and his attack on the media? "Nattering nabobs of negativism" right? Absolutely. Right. And now it's called "fake news" but we had the same approach, the same attack, and the same... a very environment back during the Nixon years. Sure. The American public? Do you think... that's not a monolithic entity, but do you think most Americans are looking for... those of us in the media, cause I... we often get accused of this. Even though at PBS, we don't have a point of view. We're not like MSNBC, Fox, CNN, others, who have commentators on the air, anchors on the air, expressing points of view. Mm hmm. But I'm curious about this. Do you think most Americans are looking for those in media to press those in office and ask challenging questions, even if that person happens to have voted for and liked that person? Meaning, "are you for Trump or are you against Trump?" As opposed to, "No, we're asking the President tough questions"? Well I think there are two components to the American public mind. One is, you..."