Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Swallowing the bitter pill

If you read the news, or listen to the radio, or watch TV, you would think that Barack Obama's comments about the bitterness of small town, lower and middleclass Americans was controversial and somehow worth debating.

It's another manufactured controversy and the way the media has swallowed it and spit it out proves again that there is very little thought given to much of what is printed and broadcast. Yesterday, to his credit, Colin McEnroe printed Obama's remarks in context to demonstrate that they have a ring of truth.

Unfortunately, McEnroe had spent an entire hour the previous day discussing the remarks as if they were really worthy of remark. Worse still, he had two political consultants who pretended to have worthwhile things to say, while they said absolutely nothing of worth. And this is exactlty what's wrong with the media's coverage of this campaign. It is without substance. Whether it's Hillary's cackle, McCain's homage to the Beach Boys, or Obama's minister, the press has focused on everything but what is truly important. In the hunt for headlines and ratings, newspeople have focused on slips of the tongue, petty disagreements, bad jokes and minor details, and have ignored the issues of substance - the war, the economy, education, poverty, justice, because none of these things is easy to explain in a soundbite.

I urge you once again to take an hour and watch Elizabeth Edwards address at Harvard. Would that she were running for president.


Anonymous said...

Here's what John Stewart had to say on Monday night's show about Obama being called (horrors!) an elitist:

"Doesn't elite mean good? is that not something we're looking for in a president any more? Y'know what, candidates? I know that elite isn't a bad word in politics..... but the job you're applying for, if you do a good job, they might carve your head into a mountain! if you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the fuck are you doing? ... In fact not only do I want an ELITE president, I want someone who's embarrassingly superior to me, somebody who speaks 16 languages, and sleeps 2 hours a night, hanging upside down in a chamber they themselves designed .... "

Ed McKeon said...

Although there might be a shade of difference between "elite" and "elitist."