In each election, the media were supportive of the liberal parties: In America, Democratic Party Candidate Hilary Clinton was heavily favored by the media over Republican Party Candidate Donald Trump. In Tonga, the media were in favor of Friendly Islands Democratic Party (FIDP)‘Akilisi Pōhiva over Independent Candidate Samiu Vaipulu the conservative.
But even the fact that American politicians aren’t allowed to have ownership in any media outlet, it did not slow the overwhelming media bias that was piled upon Democratic Hilary Clinton. The opposite was also true in Tonga where politicians are allowed to have their own publications openly supporting them.
Mr. ‘Akilisi Pōhiva has his own newspaper the Kele‘a, and the rest of the print media in Tonga are spinoffs from his publication. Radio and TV powers in Tonga are government owned, but they’re staffed by Democratic sympathizers. And despite the Democratic Party’s loss in the 2010 Elections, nobody took notice that Tongan voters had rejected the biased journalism in the media for the Democrats.
It resulted in another erosion of voters’ trust in 2014 where Independent candidates (9) and the House of Lords (9) won the majority of seats in Parliament. The Democrats had won only eight (8) seats, down from 12 in 2010, and down from their popular days before they burned Nuku‘alofa in 2006. Therefore, seven (7) Independents defected selfishly to join the Democrats in order to receive Cabinet portfolios, and elected Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva in exchange.
That was the work of a media that weren’t listening to the wishes of the people. They did not hear the voters who were crying out from the depths of poverty, unemployment, and high inflations, which are devastating their families economically.
American Voters Reject Media Biases
The lessons learned from the recent American Presidential Elections are reasons why President-elect Donald Trump scored such a highly resounding upset victory against the biased media, and the Democrats. American voters tuned out the popular media and their lies and false reporting favoring Hilary Clinton, meanwhile badmouthing Donald Trump.
The media had anointed Democratic Mrs. Clinton to become the 45th American President years before the election even started. No longer did journalism integrity matter; politics had become more important to major media outlets. Additionally, all their political surveys produced results favoring Mrs. Clinton. But the voters were much in tune with Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” “Create Jobs,” and “Keep Out Illegal Immigrants.”
The media simply ignored the people living in the heartland of America. They were too occupied with the liberal views of the folks living in the big cities. Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump made daily trips during the 18 months of campaigning to the heartland of America and listened to their problems. Mrs. Clinton confined herself to her city people.
These people of the heartland of America were hurting financially for a long time. But the media and their Democratic cronies had forgotten who they are, focusing on the city folks only. Ironically, these were the people who traditionally voted Democratic for generations. Unfortunately, they were the “forgotten working men and women” of America whom Donald Trump’s message connected with.
And in the case of the Tongan media, they are ignoring the cries of the Tongan public who is hurting financially. The poverty level in Tonga is 25%, which means 25,000 people are in dire poor conditions to feed their families. The Tongan media is following the examples of the American media: They have no clue of what’s in people’s hearts and minds.
(Sione A. Mokofisi is Editor of Niuvakai-Tongan Enquirer newspaper and Website. He is a published syndicated columnist living in Tonga, and travels frequently to his adopted country, the U.S.A. He holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix-Arizona).