OBEY! says the mainstream media.
CAN RICK SANTORUM AND THE GOP GET A FAIR SHAKE?
I ask this when we well know that there is so much media bias against conservative/religious thought. As we near yet another presidential election, I thought it interesting to consider the immeasurable influence the media has on every day politics and the presidential election.
I also wonder what most Catholics think of the media’s treatment of Rick Santorum. At the end of this essay, I will mention a rather surprising positive review in Time magazine by Joe Klein, who isn’t by any stretch of the imagination on the right. But first, some other thoughts.
Although we in the US pride ourselves on freedom of the press and excellence in journalism, many don’t realize just how manipulated we are by the news coverage of politics. The TV tells so many what to believe and how to think. It is perhaps even more than you would imagine.
Case in point–look at the way Gov. Brewer has recently been treated by the media at large. The photo of her wagging her finger at President Obama has been plastered all over the mainstream press.
FINGER WAGGING and more
Recently, the mainstream media circled their wagons on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. They have been lambasting the governor for her ‘finger wagging’ at President Obama.
The media released one out-of-context image with her finger raised to the president. Immediately, Gov. Brewer was declared as attacking the president, showing disrespect and even a racist. Democrats demanded that she apologize without the full evidence of the situation at hand. Should one photo be the barometer of Gov. Brewer’s treatment of the president and evidence of racism? I don’t think so!
If you watch the full event courtesy of Newsbusters: Exposing & Combatting Liberal Media Bias, it is clear how distorted the accusation of “attacking the president” is from watching the video. Remember the mainstream media portrayed her as “disrespectful and attacking.”
Here is the video:
First of all, you clearly see how warmly Gov. Brewer greets President Obama. Secondly, Gov. Brewer recently released the letter she handed Obama, which is very respectful and contains a friendly invitation to lunch. She kindly invites him to visit the border with her and to have lunch. Plain and simple. She doesn’t insult him.
From the video, it is difficult to define the conversation as disrespectful. Granted some of their discussion is blocked by the limo, but overall she greets him in a cordial manner. Apparently, they discussed her depiction of the president in her new book with each of them having opposing views.
Following the media blast of Gov. Brewer, she has now stated that in mid-sentence the president actually walked away from her. So it seems both parties had a tense moment and dealt with it differently. This is a far cry from being accused of “attacking the president” and even “a racist.” So how did we get here?
MEDIA CONTROL THE MESSAGE
For some scholars, N. Chomsky among them and here quoted, it is believed that America has become a “spectator democracy.” Here the “public is seen as a ‘bewildered herd’ that needs to be directed, not empowered.” Furthermore, he states that the public relations industry in the US “focuses on controlling the public mind and not on informing it.”
It does seem that with every four years dominated by a presidential campaign, the country is unable to focus properly on our most critical problems. Many in the country are addicted to the news cycle and every word, sneeze, smile or frown makes headlines. Is it not over-rated political theater?
Endless hours are spent with the talking heads chattering away about inconsequential fodder. Eg: did he really say that? Did she really wear that?
The mainstream media tell us who are the frontrunners. They stage the lights. The cameras move at their direction. They select the stories to be told. They create the bandwagon mindset. And, of course, they muzzle, distort and mock the conservative voice. The incidents of mainstream liberal media bias are all over the place.
They are the primary vehicle for disseminating the propaganda of the left with terms like “a woman’s choice”, “diversity” and “empowering the poor.” In some respects, we could say that we have a ruling class, a monarchy–it is the media elite. This explains why President Clinton was given so much “understanding” while Herman Cain was grilled.
Many could question if we are moving even closer with each new election to something like Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in his book 1984? For those who oppose the ministry, we will be accused of thought crimes. Too gloomy? Is there any hope on the horizon? I think so.
RICK SANTORUM’S COVERAGE
I don’t think I can say that everything is in the grips of the media monopoly. I have seen some surprising examples that would suggest that the answer is no. In Time magazine (January 16, 2012), Joe Klein says some rather nice things about Rick Santorum.
About Santorum Klein writes, “Unlike a great many other political loudmouths, he lives his faith.” After Klein recounts the Santorum family’s loss of their baby Gabriel and Karen’s refusal to have an abortion Klein stated, “They are a remarkable family.”
In closing his article, he wrote, “He may not win the nomination, but he has already won a good deal–the respect that attends a campaign, and a life, that has been honorably waged.” I have to say I was pleasantly pleased with this review and found it to be somewhat in contradiction to what I had earlier thought.
I truly believe that with the internet and so many alternative media sources, the coverage of the campaigns will be increasingly monitored. Certainly with the creation of independent blogs like this one, we have a much better chance of getting our voices heard. So remember: we are not puppies in training, and the media is never to be blindly obeyed.
Jennifer Roche has authored many articles for secular and Catholic publications including the National Catholic Register, Inside Catholic, Crisis Magazine, the Catholic Herald (London, UK) and written a travelogue on the Maltese Islands called Cat Tails from Malta. She has also contributed to GodSpy, Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) college guide, MeloMag art magazine and Absolute Arts. She welcomes your comments!