April 19, 2019

Here's what I hate. These voter-on-the-street interviews we will be having all-day/every-day until the damn election in 2020. I hate them because for some reason, the only voters TV journalists seem to find are white people who will vote for Trump no matter what. Some love him, some hate him, but they are almost always white, and voting for Trump, Mueller report be damned. "He's good for 'Murica!" they drool. Then the reporter will come back on with a shrug that may or may not be accompanied by a disapproving look and say, "What are ya gonna do? This just seems to be what people want? Back to you, Steph!" It makes me in-f*cking-sane.

This morning, directly after Garrett Haake and Ali Vitali conducted just those sorts of interviews, Stephanie Ruhle had on an actual Black person who is mayor of a city in California who had a different idea of what people want. I genuinely applaud her for bringing on Michael Tubbs, mayor of Stockton, California. Nearly one-quarter of the residents live below the poverty line, and only 17% have a college degree. But when Ruhle asked Mayor Tubbs what matters to them, she went so far as to imply that the Mueller report DIDN'T matter to them. He set her straight, and quick.

MAYOR TUBBS: What we have heard from people throughout this morning, health care, education, opportunity matters, but I also know folks in Stockton, and throughout this country care about equality of the law. They especially care about their vote counting and understanding the vote is not a perfect tool but it is a tool with which to create the changes people want to see, so I think while people are struggling, working two jobs, one emergency away from eviction or bankruptcy that they expect their lawmakers, Congress and others to do the work in terms of investigating and making sure the United States remains a sovereign nation without foreign interference that our highest elected officials are reflective of our values that aren't Democrat or Republican but ones that make our democracy what it is.

Then Ruhle went back to talking about how the report has polarized people, and admitted her naïveté in having thought it might have brought people together. (YA THINK, STEPH?) Darrell West, her other guest, encouraged Dems to push the Mueller report as a "referendum on trust," in that if we can't trust him on his overall presidency, we can't trust him on other things like the economy and health care. This was, in my opinion, a pretty useless point - Dems already know we cannot trust Trump with so much as our Egg McMuffins.

Ruhle asked Mayor Tubbs about how his voters feel about the trust issues and the economy. She pointed to one of the people in Ohio just interviewed who'd said she voted for Trump because the economy wasn't working for her, and she thinks Trump's SO GREAT! with business and the economy. Mayor Tubbs took that hand-off like a champ, educating not only Ruhle, but the viewers on the fact that, believe it or not, "working class" people aren't just white and living in rural Ohio.

MAYOR TUBBS: And I think when you talk about the American people, you have to understand diversity, what makes America what it is. You have working class people and middle America people that aren't white, rural, and live in Ohio. Latino people, Black people, Asian people, et cetera, that live in communities throughout this nation, and I think people care about the economy and the economy is not working for them, and I think part of the argument we should make as Democrats is that if the president's preoccupied with obstructing justice, allegedly, or preoccupied with protecting himself from the findings of said report, how can he focus on fixing the fundamentals of our economy? And it shows that it says he really hasn't had time to do that, calling people into your office, having one on one meetings. Where are the phone calls about why one in two Americans can't afford to have an emergency? Where are the phone calls around making sure working people are working and being rewarded with wages, and paid for necessities, like rent, utilities, et cetera.

Instead of agreeing emphatically, and helping Dems and her viewers see that Trump, his associates and his cult cannot be changed or persuaded, Ruhle spent the rest of the segment debating with West about whether to impeach or censure Trump, and the value of simply not re-electing him.

Again, I really appreciate Stephanie Ruhle for having brought Mayor Tubbs on in the first place. There are lots of ways in which she has brought attention to issues other white journalists completely ignore. She was the first I noticed to amplify fundraising for the three Black churches burned by a white supremacist (son of a deputy sheriff! shock!) in Louisiana. She calls out racists on her show on a regular basis.

But if your goal is to help people understand why he should not be re-elected, then amplify everything Mayor Tubbs explained to you in his answers. Help your media colleagues understand, Stephanie Ruhle. Encourage them to ask questions in their interviews that might encourage the voter explore why the Mueller report SHOULD matter to them. Can they not ask these white voters in Ohio about specific things like plant closures or their own health insurance to break through the fog and haze and at least force some introspection? Why don't they do this?

Help your viewers understand that "when you talk about the American people, you have to understand diversity." Emphasize that every way you can. Urge your "road warriors" to find people who are NOT voting for Trump and put THEM in front of your cameras to explain why they aren't. You cannot tell me they don't exist.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.