The word is in and the people have spoken. Campaign coverage has been abysmal.
While Americans try to deal with a slow economic recovery, politicians and the media spend millions to throw useless celebrations (i.e., conventions).
The campaign coverage that we've seen recently is a microcosm of how the media and authority figures have related to each other. The refusal to hold elected officials accountable by the mainstream media has led to a revolution of sorts; it's led to the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, citizen journalists and alternative media outlets.
NPR posted a blog about this very issue. They received numerous complaints from their listeners about the lack of tough questions when interviewing candidates. According to one NPR listener, Kevin Baker of Arlington, VA, the election coverage was inadequate: "Every Democrat interviewee recorded is universally positive about Obama with no challenges offered from the interviewer. Everything is taken at face value."
Need to Know's 37-year veteran executive producer, Marc Rosenwasser, also had something to say about the campaign coverage. In a TVNewser op-ed, he asked why it was necessary to spend millions of dollars flying employees to the conventions when much of this coverage could be reported "via a pool feed."
Are those specials really necessary, anyway? After all, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and others already provide more extensive coverage. And, of course, the "NewsHour" team on PBS offers three hours of prime-time coverage each night, enabling millions still without cable to see it all.
But since so few people are watching the convention, anyway, I'm sure your corporate bosses would be happy for you to do less.
So here's my idea:
When 2016 comes around and beyond, don't just do something, stand there. Stay home. Send a few correspondents and crews to the convention sites and do the rest by remote.
Political conventions just don't seem to matter anymore. When you have wealthy individuals, unions and corporate donors bribing politicians with millions of dollars in order to fund their campaigns, delegates have little to no say in who is elected as their nominee. When presidents and presidential nominees have to raise at least $1 billion to become president, the average American is left out.
The role the Fourth Estate is to challenge authority and to be a watchdog for the people of the United States. Instead of being a watchdog, much of the media have become lapdogs, so it's not surprising to see support for the media and Congress at historic lows.
People think these entities are working together and why should they think otherwise? Many of us are familiar with the Obama campaign stipulation that if journalists are to get quotes attributed by the campaign, they reserve the right to veto them in an attempt to control the message. Is this what is to be expected from the media?
These conventions have turned into promotional campaigns for politicians. Really, the media have turned into PR agents -- spreading misinformation and lies from politicians' mouths to the ears of the public. There is too much of a focus on ratings and celebrity-like coverage as if our elected officials are larger than life. The conventions have become some sort of rite of passage ceremony. We've made their jobs so much easier for them by not asking them the tough questions and holding them accountable for their hypocrisy.
The media and Congress are seen as do-nothing entities and at times have colluded to work together to misinform the public in order push an agenda. This couldn't be any more apparent than in the instance where Congress agreed to audit the Federal Reserve. The audit turned out to be nothing more than Democrats supporting the regulators while Republicans backed the decisions of Wall Street traders.
People aren't tuning into the convention anymore. Romney saw a slight bump in his popularity after the RNC, but according to Yahoo! News, it was short-lived. While the citizens of this country struggle to make ends meet, our politicians are looking to relate to them by spending millions on campaigns and celebrity events. This should serve as a glimpse into the mindset of Washington.
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