Hang Your Heads Low, Media People

Here we are, just a few days away from the election that has dictated media coverage for the last year. We have seen the two leading candidates log the highest unfavorable ratings among registered voters in recent memory. Between Donald Trump's rude and crude remarks regarding just about everything and Hillary Clinton's e-mail problems and other alleged sins, the American public deserves better. How do we get that, you ask? Very simple: let third party candidates step up.

The only problem is that third party candidates need media coverage because they don't have the big slush funds that the traditional candidates have. It is well known that Trump has had a virtual free ride in the media since he announced his candidacy for president. It has been a feeding frenzy of media attempting to land him for interviews every day. Even cable news programs within the same company have been fighting with one another over "his majesty's" availability.

I have been air-checking the mainstream network news products every night. Likewise for the cable news channels and print media. Where is the coverage for the other candidates? I sit in front of my television set and wait and wait and wait for coverage that never arrives. Except for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson suffering from "foot in mouth disease" on two occasions, his candidacy has gone unnoticed. You can also forget Green Party candidate Jill Stein. She also has received little or no coverage. Despite that, they have been pulling some very respectable numbers. Could they win? Probably not, but if there was ever a time to showcase other campaigns this is it.

In 1992, third party candidate Ross Perot was running at 39 percent for a while, ahead of Bush and Clinton. That was primarily because he was enjoying media attention. Both Johnson and Bill Weld (running as Johnson's V.P.) are former governors with strong political backgrounds. Don't the American voters deserve to hear from them?

As a broadcast journalist for almost 30 years, I can remember a time when we made an effort to cover all sides with, at least, proportional coverage. Yes, there is a problem of time and space, and you can't cover every small, fragmented party, but you can cover the formidable ones.

I am embarrassed to call myself a former journalist but I am more embarrassed for those in the business now who continue to forget their public duty. I guess covering third party candidates isn't good for ratings or the bottom line. Walker Cronkite would be rolling over in his grave.

It is the public duty of journalists to cover political events accurately and make sure a variety of perspectives are heard. If the media ceases to do its job of informing the public, our democracy will fall apart.