Tuesday, May 06, 2008

US Media Trivializes Campaign 2008

By Robert Parry
May 6, 2008

Every four years, during U.S. presidential elections, the same thing happens, except it’s always a little bit different.

Some clever political operative injects “oppo” into the campaign – some little “scandal” that supposedly speaks to the “character” of a candidate – and the press corps obsesses on this marginal issue nearly to the exclusion of all substantive matters.

Read on.


Mary said...

Excellent article, but have you noticed that the same thing is happening with another non-issue, that being the matter of the so-called nuclear reactor in Syria? This has ramped up the issue of Iran having nukes (which it does not, nor is it capable of having them for at least another 5 to 10 years), and has brought out the most ridiculous bellicose bloviations by all of the candidates, most notably Hillary Clinton. The press is discussing something that isn't real; and the candidates are stupidly responding. Obviously, they should be focusing and commenting on the wars we already have, not indulging in bloodthirsty conjecture on what they would do "if" Iran nuked Israel. I wish I knew why the American people insist on being so stupid. Wherever the mainstream press leads, that is where they will go.

Anonymous said...

Agreed about the press, but all the same, I think this has shown something about Obama's character--he's a politician who is willing to pander to America's jingoistic self-image. Martin Luther King said the same thing as Wright regarding US support for terror overseas and for that matter, if Obama was good friends with Robert Parry he'd have to dissociate himself from Parry's opinions.

Of course Obama has to run away from such opinions to win, but maybe he could try doing it in a more graceful way, rather than simply claiming to be shocked at the comparison of US policy to terrorism. If he's being honest about his opinions, then he is not anyone a progressive reader of this site should be enthusiastic about, except as the least of three evils.

big em said...

I have to agree with Mary above that the American people share at least 1/2 the blame here. As Consortium News, FAIR, Z-Net and numerous other left/liberal/progressive (whatever you want to call us) oriented media critics correctly state, the mainstream commercial media is (surprise, surprise) structurally oriented towards profit and corporations (and their first cousin, militarism). And the American public IS bombarded incessantly with messages 'confirming' this POV, so it's not a casual indoctrination.

That being said, however, we're moving beyond the point of a 'manipulated public' scenario and into a 'willful ignorance' position. Some of these events are just TOO blatant for an average, aware 6th grader to miss, much less an interested adult. For instance, even if you didn't follow US politics at all, didn't it seem strange how W & friends we're SO concerned about Iraq when we were purportedly trying to get Al Queda/Bin Laden in Afghanistan? I get the feeling that around half of the US public want to posture that they care about other people (both domestically & abroad), but they really want cover to be able vote 'greedy' and this sort of trivial media coverage gives them seemingly plausible reasons to vote for people who are going to keep their SUV in relatively cheap gas, climate & non-US populations be damned.

The old quote (from early 1900's) by HL Mencken comes to mind all too quickly: “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

Uncle Ernie said...

Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much... being a member of the bash Hillary MSM after all. Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it!

Bill from Saginaw said...

The answer to Parry's bigger question - how the American public can avoid the recurring nightmare of silly news organizations trivializing and distorting the presidential selection process - may be found in the Obama campaign's rhetorical theme that tries to turn Atwater-style attack propaganda back against its proponents.

Thus, when Hillary stirred the pot on Reverend Wright, her negatives went up even a bit more than Barack's negatives went up. When Gibson and Stephanopolous got too over the top, the studio audience booed.

As some pundit once remarked about how you counteract Karl Rove and the right wing propaganda machine, you can expect them to keep on doing it until they finally lose an election because of it.

Bill from Saginaw