In the 2016 Presidential election, the business of journalism is… business

For those who actually learned a little about history, the Constitution, and the value of journalism as a checks and balance on government power, they will be shocked to find out that at the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions, news reporting on the presidential campaigns will be sold to the highest bidder.

Forget the fact that media outlets like Fox News, MSNBC, and CBS have made a small fortune on ad revenues sold by covering Donald Trump since their viewership’s have skyrocketed just to try to catch a glimpse of the ultimate outsider.  No, in today’s corporate media, where journalism is all about ratings, sensationalism, and profits, a new report out on July 4th no less finds that several publications will be demanding payment from the newsmakers themselves to run articles and features during the Republican and Democratic conventions.

media consolidation

Several prominent Western news outlets including The Economist, The Atlantic, The Hill, and Politico are placing news coverage up for sale at the Democratic and Republican Conventions because who really needs the 4th estate of government holding leaders accountable during a time when the two leading presidential candidates are either under FBI investigation or are calling for a ban on a religious group?

These outlets who often wax poetically about the independence of Western media decided to give up hiding the fact that they are captured by wealthy special interests. As Lee Fang wrote in a July 1 article for The Intercept:

“For high-rolling special interests looking to make an impression at the presidential conventions next month, one option is to pay a lot of money to a media outlet. Lobbyists for the oil industry, for instance, are picking up the tab for leading Beltway publications to host energy policy discussions at the convention, including The Atlantic and Politico.”

Not to be outdone, The Hill, a Beltway political rag is offering special interviews with editorial staffers and promotional coverage at the convention to those able to drop 9 times the median salary of the American worker in one foul swoop.

The Hill promises ‘sponsors,’ at a cost of $200,000 per head, convention interviews with The Hill editorial board for “up to three named executives or organization representatives of your choice,” according to their brochure. “These interviews are pieces of earned media and will be hosted on a dedicated page on and promoted across The Hill’s digital and social media channels.” – Sputnik News

Now, is it any wonder that public trust in the media has fallen to an all-time low of just 11%?

Journalism has turned the most important election in America into a reality television show, where they attempt to program the masses into paying attention to scandal and hyperbole rather than the issues that will soon affect their lives dependent upon who wins the Oval Office in November.  And since journalism is now as big or even bigger than many corporate industries, perhaps it is time to look at its Constitutional protections as the gatekeeper to truth, and instead separate those that honestly report the news from those that are little more than entertainment and propaganda.

Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for,, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.