Step aside Smarty Jones: Bush and Kerry have stolen the spotlight.
What you might have thought was a presidential election is really a political horse race hosted by the media.
Voters can put their money on Bush today, but switch to Kerry with a tweak of the AP Wire. The gates are open and the race is on.
From the first lap of this race, the media has taken advantage of their right to free speech. They have twisted their service as a government watchdog and turned their duty into that of name calling and classic rhetoric.
I have always taken media reports with a grain of salt knowing the first agenda of publishers is to sell papers.
As yellow journalism has proven, sensationalism is what America wants and unfortunately it is what we buy. However, this race is not just a sensational news story. It is the future of our country and it should be treated that way.
My first inclination that the media was cooking this campaign race came about when Kerry was called a “flip-flop” for his views. It is true that he supported a lot of issues and then reneged on them but that doesn’t show instability; it shows acquisition of knowledge.
As an educated voter I know this, but not everyone does. Recently a non-politically educated family member of mine called to say she is voting for Bush because the news said Kerry was a flip-flop.
Political partisanship has been a staple aspect of journalism predating the Revolutionary War. Then and now, media has been depended on for political and social guidance. If we are going to depend on the media is it too much to ask them to be more objective?
Ben Franklin, who was not only a founder of this country but a contributor to the early press said, “Printers are educated in the belief, that when men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the public; and that when truth and error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.”
But as it stands it is seemingly impossible to see any truth about the candidates when as citizens we are being flip-flopped by media coverage.
The campaign damage by the media might not be too deep as it seems voters are seeking facts straight from the horse’s mouth.
A Gallup poll reported, “Following the presidential debate, George W. Bush’s advantage over John Kerry on the question of who can be trusted more to handle the responsibilities of commander in chief narrowed significantly.”
The 491 people asked this question might not be representative of the entire voting population, but it does show a glimmer of hope.
Why should America be wary of the media? Does the name Dan Rather ring a bell?
Gallup also reported on Sept. 23, 2004, “News media’s credibility has declined significantly, with just 44 percent of Americans expressing confidence in the media’s ability to report news stories accurately and fairly.
This is a significant drop from last year at this time and reflects the lowest level of confidence in the media since Gallup first asked the question in 1972.”
Perhaps after Nov. 2, our “trusted” media will go back to reporting crime and salacious gossip. Until then, the race is on.
Nicole D’Andrea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.