Tuesday, November 4th, the United States of America will vote for its 44th President and the days leading up to these elections have been filled with new advertisements and new “evidence” about one candidate in particular.
The Republican National Party and “right wing” conservatives cannot find any “skeletons” in Barack Obama’s closet, so they are digging up negative press on people with whom he has associated over his lifetime. This information that has been compiled has been used by the RNP to create advertisements suggesting that Mr. Obama is a socialist and terrorist sympathizer or at worse, a terrorist himself.
There is no denying however that much of the media is very Obama “friendly.” Does this mean that they have been printing or airing information that is false? Or course not, but the power of suggestion is not be underestimated. And there are many members of the RNP who share the view that the media and Hollywood celebrities are trying to influence the general public to vote for Barack Obama.
The question that arises then is whether or not the media is simply reporting news, or if they are creating news in an attempt to sway voters to vote for a particular candidate. This becomes a legitimate question when one sees comedian D. L. Hughley hosting a talk show on CNN. Would we have seen such a programme on this particular network a year ago? I doubt it.
How should one then interpret the actions of CNN replacing the financial show “Your Money” with the half comedy half talk show “D. L. Hughley Breaks the News?” Does the USA need a comedy act or does it need to know how to manage their finances in a soft financial market? During this show Hughley was not reporting news, so was he creating something new for people to talk about?
While CNN aired this particular comedy show, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News had on a guest who questioned whether or not Barack Obama could be trusted for his economic plan for the USA since he changed it so many times during his Presidential campaign. But, like CNN, was Fox News reporting news or creating something for people to think about?
A guest on any talk show will inevitably share her personal opinions even after she may have presented facts. That is why an expert is usually asked to come on a show. The host will want to present facts, but will want those facts evaluated by an “expert.” And human nature being what it is, the expert’s personal views will seep into the analysis thereby skewing the “evidence.”
The listening audience is then left with the job of deciphering what is fact and what is opinion. The host, in most instances, will control what the audience hears by presenting leading questions. While the journalist may have been trained to be objective, she has also learned how to ask questions that will steer the conversation in a particular way.
Avid news watchers will be able to see this clearly demonstrated on both CNN and Fox News. CNN’s political analysts are usually Democratic Party supports while Fox News guests are usually Republican Party supporters. This fact alone suggests that news will be created and not reported.
Many times the audience does not have to wonder if the networks are trying to sway them, because it is so apparent that that is what they are attempting to do. The editorial page is no longer in one column on one page. The media has unfortunately taken it upon itself to editorialize this US presidential campaign and one now wonders if it will all backfire on them.
By Wednesday morning the world will know how powerful the media really is if Mr. Obama is in fact elected as the 44th President of the United States of America. However, if Mr. McCain becomes the 44th President, it will be interesting to see if the broadcast networks and print media will be reporting news about the new President’s success at the polls or creating news about a failed election?