Of the five Republican debates and of the three Democratic debates, not one moderator has askeda question involving the words “poverty” or “poor.” While the subject has been touched upon by some of the Democratic candidates, namely Bernie Sanders and briefly Jim Webb, the topic has been entirely unmentioned by the moderators during the three Democratic debates. In the GOP debates, the candidates only bring up the topic as a way to swipe President Obama, which is fair enough but is not a discussion of poverty much less a good-faith attempt to mitigate it. By comparison, the Democratic debate moderators brought up “ISIS” or “Terrorism” 21 times total in all three debates.
A recent study in The Intercept found poverty’s non-status on television isn’t just limited to the debates. Cable news was over 20 times more likely to mention ISIS or terrorism than poverty during the heart of primary season in late 2014.