The Broad is Back!

January 9, 2008

The news media is manipulating Americans

Filed under: American culture,Democratic primaries,media,New Broads,politics,protest — by maggiec @ 5:45 pm

One thing I’ve definitely noticed since I returned to America is the power of the media.  It’s something I noticed before, of  course.  It’s something I’ve worried about, as well, but the New Hampshire primaries have really opened my eyes.

Like most people, I probably only noticed something was terribly wrong because something I am concerned about is effected.  But last night the TV news on all the channels we were watching were basically writing off John Edwards as a viable candidate for the Democratic party’s nomination.  He got close to 17% of the vote in NH.  They didn’t even verbally mention Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich, though their numbers were on a ticker tape at the bottom of the screen.  They got small numbers, but why does that mean they are out of the race?

 As John Edwards said last night, 99% of the country hasn’t voted yet.  He’s right on that.  Iowa has a population of 3.something million.  NH has a population of 1.3 million.  There are 300 million people in the US.  How dare the TV news tell us there are candidates out of the race already?

We still have three weeks to Super Tuesday, this year on February 5th.  On that day, over 20 states will hold primaries, and over half of the convention delegates are represented.  Maybe after Super Tuesday, it might be OK to call the marginalized candidates, but I’m not even sure about that.

I am very concerned about how the US mainstream media is controlling democracy in this country.  A free press is supposed to help the people, not the corporate structure.  It is supposed to be a tool of the masses, not a tool of the power elite.

I’m not naive.  My first career after college was as a reporter, and it’s something I did off and on for over 20 years.  I know that newspapers are commercial enterprises and television news is even worse.  Of course, I share most print journalists disdain, bordering on scorn, for television “news”.  Infotainment is more like it.  Distract me with pretty images, balloons and talking heads and I won’t realize that I’m not hearing anything worth hearing.

Television news has its place, of course.  Nothing can replace its immediacy, but newscasters telling us things like “its over for Edwards” or “it’s over for Romney” gives that specious opinion the weight of fact.  And that’s wrong.

You all know who I support.  But this isn’t even about him.  It goes beyond the primaries.  Why are Americans allowing this to happen to our country?  When did we get so uninvolved?  This is partly rhetorical.  I complained about this back when I was a budding journalist in the early 80s, but coming back after all those years away has been a shock.

Right now I have no answers.  Right now I’m just blowing steam and issuing a warning.  And if you’re reading this, I’m probably preaching to the choir, right?  As I tell my family, just slap my face and call me Cassandra!  I’m issuing a warning, but no one is believing!

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