The Daily Political News…

November 6, 2015

……all chatter, glitter, and a smattering of facts to lend some credibility….

From all appearances, the news media of today is more about theater and entertainment than it is about “news”. It used to be that when a car hit a tree on Main Street, it was reported that a car had hit a tree on Main Street. Boring stuff, perhaps, but essentially accurate, to the point, and factual. Today, such an event would be a theatrical production, with the basic facts buried under layers of gratuitous film clips of the wreckage and dazed or dead victims, speculation, and other associated irrelevancies.

The morning news tends to be a daily compilation of three or four hours of three or four selected stories, endlessly reformulated through the magic of journalistic alchemy into limitless variations of Chicken Little’s famous “The Sky is Falling” scoop. In fact, my wife and I have likened watching the morning news to sitting in a chicken barn while 20, 000 hens try to out-cluck each other. The onus is on the viewer to separate data from the detritus, and the ratings are no doubt based upon the detritus.

As we approach the presidential election scheduled for a year from now, the decibels continue to rise in the chicken barn and the “facts” are obscure at best. I remarked this morning that I have yet to listen to or read the uninterrupted presentation of the candidates views and plans for addressing the challenges projected to be encountered over the next nine years. It seems that all we hear about are the latest standings of selected candidates in a series of polls.

Listen up, media, I can’t speak for others, but I’m fairly confident that, like me, the majority of voters would prefer to vote for a candidate based on his or her views and plans rather than on an array of statistics prepared from data collected from the unnamed, analyzed by the unknown, and passed out like lollipops at a town parade by grinning studio puppets who interrupt each other, as well as guests, to foment controversy at every turn. Keep in mind that fomenting controversy is not the same as asking controversial questions.

It is telling and, for me, a strong indication that the media is selecting and grooming the most entertaining candidates, and not necessarily the most qualified. The candidates who have been attempting to address the issues trail the pack.

The poll “leaders” are a bombastic Narcissist, the wife of a former president whose campaign theme song is “I am Woman, Hear me Roar“, an avowed socialist who purports to know what is best for us and promises to spend our money to effect those fiats, and a conservative African American physician being probed about his adolescent delinquencies instead of his adult accomplishments.

The media folks describe this circus as a process of vetting the candidates, furthering the implication that it is their franchise to filter out the field for us so that we only have the alleged cream of the crop to contend with. Now, I’m a supporter of the media as an institution and see it as a vital link between the citizens and “what’s going on”, but I also expect that resource to honor the First Amendment by reporting the Who, What, When, Where, and Why with an eye to accuracy rather than an eye to the ratings. I also expect the media to respect my right and ability to decide for myself who promises to be an effective public servant. Perhaps it is time to start vetting the vetters themselves, though I fear precious few would make the cut.

I remember thinking some thirty years ago, while employed by a local weekly newspaper, that the best way to find out what a political candidate was really all about was to limit one’s research to publications and news items issued prior to their announcement of candidacy. I would repeat that today, but would change it to “the ONLY way…”


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