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Cue the Chorus

1 August 2008

What’s wrong with the news media?

The McCain campaign knows exactly what’s wrong with the media.  Now with the help of Rovian-style advisors, the McCain campaign is ready to use that knowledge.  McCain and his advisors clearly don’t want the chatter on cable’s daily political offerings to be about policy issues.  They know they will lose those arguments in the eyes of the suffering American voters.  So instead of admitting their plans to follow the economic and military policies of the Bush Administration, they have chosen to cue the Greek chorus to distract attention from that fact.  And, boy, are they good at it!  Are you sure that Karl Rove isn’t standing behind the curtain controlling the image of The Wizard?

The so-called liberal media has been quick to join the chorus served up by McCain spokesperson Rick Davis: Obama is playing the RACE card!  Picture Mr. Davis in a George Michael costume conducting the chorus.

The Media sings:
Let’s talk about race, baby.
And not about policy.
Let’s talk about all the things that raise ratings
And are sexy
Let’s talk about race.
Let’s-talk-about-race!”

You know the tune.  And so does the media.  They harmoniously unite to spread the word that there’s a race war going on in the presidential campaign.

Now, this is funny because it is sad.  It is sad because it says a great deal more about the news media than it says about either candidate.  Every day both candidates goes on the stump and talk about their views of how to handle the very real problems that face us out here in the real world.  But the McCain campaign correctly figured out that the only way they could get any real attention from the media was to go outrageously negative.  So they did.  What sad commentary it is!  A seemingly honorable man driven to dishonorable behavior in order to get attention.

McCain himself denies any involvement in any racial attacks against the Obamas, and the news media leaves those remarks unchallenged, offering tacit agreement.  But this is disingenuous on the part of McCain, who was the victim of this kind of race-bating political dialogue in the 2000 Republican Primary where George Bush also denied any links to the scurrilous attacks surrounding McCain’s adopted daughter.  Nobody today really fails to see the fine hand of Karl Rove and his minions in 2000, and recently those same minions joined the McCain campaign.  Let’s face it — it’s the oldest trick in the Republican playbook.  Let surrogates make outrageous claims against your opponent and then play the shocked and dismayed candidate as you deny any involvement whatsoever.

That said, the real problem here is the news media’s affinity for sensationalism.  It’s as though every network has become E!.  The only real hope we have in this country that democracy will succeed as our governing principle is if the electorate has a way to get the truth about the issues that we face in a governmental form that calls for shared responsibility by citizens and the government we elect.  The reason our forefathers codified freedom of the press in the very first amendment to the Constitution was to allow the press (media) freedom from prosecution for questioning the direction of our leaders.

My review of the Greek Chorus?  A sad song sadly sung.

Today’s media has laid down on the job.  All they do is follow our politicians around and spew forth what the partisan lines are on various issues – almost always social issues.  And if something salacious or controversial pops up, so much the better.  These days reporters seem unwilling to roll up their sleeves and dig beneath the rhetoric for the truth and disseminate that information out to the people who are charged with choosing the political direction of this country.  I wonder what Ben Franklin would say.  Come on, guys and gals, you can do better!  We’re really hurting out here, and you’re filtering our issues out of your coverage, preferring to concentrate on the cosmetics of the campaign.  Please, do your job and help us out.  Pretty please?

That’s it for today, fellow liberals.  Keep fighting toward November!

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