Thursday, November 15, 2007

He who asks the questions … answers the questions.

Libdrone and MadameX asked the question: What’s the biggest obstacle to electing the right presidential candidate? In this age of quick mass media, I believe it’s a lazy and sensationalistic press, eager to be led. Whoever frames an issue wins the debate. The following are a few examples of lazy, sensationalistic reporting.

The SCHIP issue was framed by the Whitehouse as medical care for children in families with incomes 200 percent higher than the poverty level. No media organisation has asked the right question; whether the poverty level is correctly calculated.

In a 1999 interview on CNN Al Gore said “during my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet,” explaining his sponsoring of a bill that provided funding for research that eventually became the internet. His opponents accused him of claiming to have invented the internet. Which story do you suppose the media ran with, the story requiring some research work, or the simple, sensational, and false story? Of course, the media reported, and continues to report, that Gore said he invented the internet, accusing him of being a serial exaggerator.

The easiest story for a lazy media is “here he goes again.” Democrats are supposed to effeminate and dishonest and Republicans are supposed the be tough and moral. Consequently, stories about republicans having affairs and stealing candy from babies get ignored because they don’t fit the mold. Stories about Democrats failing to tip a waitress or getting a hundred dollar haircut become the news feed of the day, month, or even year. The story about Rudy Giuliani fighting terrorists on Sept 11, 2001 is played and replayed every day. Never happened. Rudy gave speech after speech, but any hamster could have done that on “9/11.”

Every election cycle, the most thoughtful presidential candidate falls off the radar early in the process because the media ignores issues in favor of stories about personal habits. I almost feel sorry for Paul Tsongis, Joe Biden, Dick Lugar, and George H.W. Bush (Pre-Reagan incarnation, in 1980). Big media coverage went, instead, to Ross Perot who pushed our political debate into the gutter with stupid platitudes like “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist.” Ross …. obviously, it does.

1 comment:

Alan said...

Thanks for answering our question. I don't disagree with anything you said, though I do think the viewers who consume the abysmal media product are more responsible than the media themselves, as techfun and other have argued in other posts to our carnival.

Thanks again for participating.