Thus most Americans are not aware that Bernie Sanders is running on the most progressive Democratic platform since the Great Society. Or that the otherwise crummy Richard Nixon boosted more progressive domestic measures than Hillary Clinton, things like the EPA, affirmative action, the Clean Air Act, the first Earth Day, indexing Social Security for inflation, Supplemental Security income, OSHA, and healthcare reform.
Instead of a debate over definitive action we are given an endless manipulation of definitions of which "qualified" is just the most recent example.
This is an important development in American life that I call semioticism, in which what we say matters more than what we do. Aside from TV news, it is also heavily encouraged by our colleges and universities that teach their students to place great emphasis on the inner meaning of what people, especially important ones, say.
For example, in recent campus based civil rights efforts, there has been a striking emphasis on dealing with symbols that appear offensive as opposed to, as in earlier times, taking on actual serious offenses such as segregation. And the media helps, witness the near total lack of coverage of ways to improve police forces in the wake of many revealed offenses. Once you cover the offense, called it racist and discuss it at length, you just move on to the next incident.
We need a lot less time spent on the inner meanings of what people say and a lot more on the outer results of what they do. It used to be a key principle of journalism: what was actually happening, not what people say about it.