Marc on the Banality of Mainstream Media

Election 2008 and the Media

Pulling from the bottom of the deck? Playing the race card?

When Obama said, “What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He’s risky.” he was right.

Who knows how many voters will not vote for Obama simply because he is a black man? It is not a white working class issue, but is an issue for many that cuts across the entire spectrum of white people in America-working class, middle class, rich. There are a lot of visceral things that define how we vote. We don’t determine our
votes entirely on the outcome of long, intellectual deliberations of the issues. One would hope that is part of it, but that is not what motivates many people when they pull that lever or push that button or punch that chad or write in that name on the first Tuesday in November.

The creative campaign war team around Senator McCain are the same people, or mindset, who during the 1988 presidential campaign played the “race card”  by using William Horton to help George Bush defeat Michael Dukakis and who brainstormed into being the sultry
white women asking Harold Ford to “call me” in Tennessee
. All of this is playing on the innate racist fears of America. Tapping into the worst within us. They are the ones who cleverly rode the swift boat to sink Kerry and are now attempt to smear Obama with being the mindless pin up dreams of Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton.

This is going to be very ugly. Now, politics in America has always been ugly. It was historically contained and restrained by a media that was limited to print and partisan print, at that, read by a chosen few. Now the complexity of modern technology means constant accessibility every vantage point.

Unfortunately, whether you believe the media to have a liberal or conservative or just a corporate bias, it is mostly mindless bland blather despite all its immediacy and visual bells and whistles.

Obama is treading lightly, fearing to touch on race but you know his Republican opposition will keep bating him with it, subtlety and overtly, throwing it America’s face.

The network media will soundbite for all its worth into the shallowest part of our consciousness touching our deepest fears without any substantive conversation to jar us into thinking.

Twenty four hour news stations and all we get are drivel and sound bites.

Just look at this week. It seems as though major TV media and some print are working to trivialize this campaign and especially Obama’s message.

Now, let me clear, as I will post in my coming blogs, there is a lot about Obama’s platform and ideas that bother me, stuff I don’t think he has thought through enough. I am not talking about critique of substance but a trivialization of ideas and the very future of America.

Obama came out with a major statement energy policy this week. It was well thought out, and one may have serious disagreements with it (as I did).

None and I mean none of the major TV media used this an opportunity to set up Obama’s vision of ending oil use in our lifetime versus McCain’s vision of more oil exploration and nuclear power. They could have produced a stunning debate on one of the most important issues of our time. It could have been visually and intellectually compelling. Where was it? Not there.

Instead, they trivialized Obama with NBC News anchor Brian Williams devoting 30 seconds to theses critical energy speeches. All Williams had to say was, with no details or analysis mind you, was some quip Obama was “refining” his energy plan. The other media didn’t do much more with perhaps even less substance.

The McCain love fest is back, the media has grown tired of its new love interest, Obama, the uniqueness of the color of his skin fading in the dullness of their mindless coverage.

We face a critical juncture in our energy future, in the war in Iraq and our foreign policy, in issues of torture and our conduct internationally, our economy fraying at its carbonized edges with auto and airlines teetering on verge of collapse and own infrastructure bankrupting cities. All we get is Brian Williams and Katie Couric their ratings and their banality.

Sorry folks, had to vent .. it was driving me nuts.

What do you think?