MICKEY MOUSE MEDIA COVERAGE
by David Model, Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 10:42:56 AM EDT
The mainstream media is an essential component of the democratic process in America in that people's perceptions of events, candidtaes and issues is largely shaped by their coverage. Over the years, media coverage of elections has devolved into a mixture of discussions of images, superficial probing of issues, or calling a horse race.
Since the Kennedy-Nixon debates, candidates have become increasingly aware of the impact of television coverage. Nixon hired Madison avenue types to run his campaign which was transformed into one long commericial selling of a product. For example the ads questioning John Kerry's medals received during the Vietnam war must have been written in the sewer. Protraying Dukakis as a liberal and soft on crime was a egregious distortion of the truth. Issues almost seem to be incidental when unfortunate pronouncements of candidates are elevated to the level of critical issues. Every candidate will make the occasional slip but to treat it as a major story is appealing to the lowest common denominator. Anchors and commentators love to analyze polls to death treating the election as a horse race. Either the latest polls or how each candidate is faring in different States is a mugs game. Instead of tryng to second-guess the voters, the media should be focusing on issues. Ominously, discussing polls might even affect how voters will vote.
As long as the media is appealing to the baser instincts of their audience and insulting their intelligence, they should be offering an in-depth analysis of issues so that the voters have a choice.