Monday, June 30, 2008

The Presidential Campaign: Hyperbole and Invective

At a time when the nation faces an energy crisis, a housing crisis, and the strong possibility of the economy slipping into recession, America needs a political dialogue from the presidential candidates that focuses on these issues and how they plan to solve them. Unfortunately what we get from most of the media is a never-ending flow of hyperbole and invective. Anytime either candidate says anything that can be taken out of context it is immediately done, so that the media has an eye or ear catching headline to attract its audience. When Senator McCain says something that can be interpreted as him misunderstanding what's going on, the "age issue" is frequently brought up. Republicans shout that "Obama is the most liberal person ever to run for the presidency." The implication being he will turn us into a quai-socialist state. News: we are one already. Obama is accused of having a plan for Iraq that will lead to a disastrous defeat for this nation and catastrophe for the Middle East. If Obama is elected, there will be US bases in Iraq for some time to come. None of this addresses the key issues that we need to hear about.

In an article in the Chicago Tribune, Mark Silva was stated the following:

“It's probably time to stipulate that John McCain and Barack Obama are good
Americans. It may also be time to acknowledge that McCain is not "confusing
the basic facts and reality'' in Iraq, as Obama's chief foreign policy adviser
has suggested, and that Obama is not "wedded to defeat'' in Iraq, as McCain's
chief foreign policy adviser has suggested. And McCain's campaign may be a lot
of things, but it's hard to believe, as Democratic National Committee Chairman
Howard Dean said on cable news TV this week, that it's "sleazy.''

Yet, in the over-the-top environment of an over-heated presidential campaign, still in the early stages of a five-month marathon, hyperbole is the stuff of headlines.
And misconceptions run so deep, and are so readily misconstrued by
opponents and sheer mischief-makers, that now the Obama campaign has launched a rumor-control Web-site which finds itself addressing the rumors that the
on-again, off-again, flag-pin wearing senator from Illinois refuses to say the
Pledge of Allegiance. See Obama pledge - from that day in June 2007 when he
presided over the Senate. “

Silva goes on to address what I believe is one of the major roots of the problem “All this is worth remembering as the surrogates of the presidential campaign step forward to say things that the candidates themselves are loath to say - and there is a reason they let other people do this sort of talking for them.”

Between the media's thirst for sensational headlines and the presidential surrogates misquoting, misstating, and generally twisting the opponent's words into a political pretzel, we end up with a lot of words with little useful meaning. All too often political campaigns end up being to quote Shakespeare "full of sound and fury; signifying nothing."

2 comments:

The Synergist said...

Naturally. The media rely on ratings to support the price of ads, and on ad revenues to support their business model. How can they be expected to do anything other than find things to suggest it's a close contest? They don't want to report on where McCain's big money comes from, that's the same money that's buying ads - it's their PROFIT.

You and I can follow the money, and we can see where it leads, but we cannot expect the media to report on themselves, it's a conflict of interest.

Much more useful to report on Dobson or Megyn & Malkin's outrageous and egregious antics, while parroting soundbites such as "terrorist fist jab..."

That's where their money comes from.

Neil Benson said...

Your comments are much appreciated. I checked out your links and they are very interesting. I plan a future post on "Fox News: The Ultraconservative Broadcasting Company."