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Archive for the ‘John McCain’ Category

new_sheepLast night I was trying to find the latest news on Barack Obama’s cabinet appointments, when I ventured to the front page of the CNNPolitics.com, and was thoroughly annoyed by the headline they’d placed atop all the others: “Is Romney the Man to Save GOP in 2012?”

This is not news now, and might not even be news later. Something that may or may not happen four years from now is not a current event. Yet, there it is, the top story at CNN.

Presidential elections in this country now last for over half the length of a sitting president’s term. The 2008 elections are barely a week behind us, and already we’re blitzed with speculation and hearsay about what’s in store for 2012. Perhaps Americans wouldn’t be so economically screwed today if, back in 2004, when the mortgage crisis was still avoidable, our citizens been less concerned about when Hillary would officially announce her future plans to run for President?

As unprofessional as our friends in the mainstream media have been, the “dumbing down” of the news is as much our fault as it is theirs. They are, after all, in the business of making money. The higher their ratings soar, the easier it is to find sponsors willing to pay to advertise during their programs. That means what we see on the so-called “news” is a function of what we most desire to see—and not a reflection of what is important. If, collectively, we were more informed, we’d be outraged over the fact that this bullshit passes as newsworthy. We’d cry out for details about Blackwater shadiness, or about the growing U.S.-Pakistan conflict. Were we an engaged citizenry, our sneaky Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wouldn’t have gotten away with his $140 billion gift to banks, courtesy of taxpayers.

In fact, fuck it; I’m deleting CNN.com from my Mozilla bookmark icons. For too long I’ve let that network remain my “most trusted source” of Internet news every morning, the site I check when time only permits me to check one. As MSNBC leans Leftward and Fox News bends unapologetically back toward the Right, many viewers remain convinced (as I was until recently) of CNN’s fairness and neutrality. Is that because they dump on all U.S. presidential candidates equally? Of course, nearly all my early assumptions about media bias were misguided or wrong, starting with the premise that “news” should be considered “objective” and “fair” so long as it doesn’t clearly favor one major political party over the other. That might have made sense; but only if all possible worldviews and political stances were covered by one major political party or the other.

But another imbalance exists, taking the form of an apparent consensus, by all mainstream news channels, to over-report on the presidential race and under-report on everything else. That’s where the real bias lives. They do it because they’re lazy and self-absorbed; they get away with it because, so are we.  Far from being fed up with these overblown non-stories, we rather prefer to read trumped up rumors about John McCain’s mental health fluctuations or Barack Obama’s scandalous adolescent acquaintanceships—while American wars persist on multiple fronts and our economy continues to crumble.

I don’t mean to imply that election outcomes are not important. But the day-to-day gossip mill that churned out pages of useless trivia about different spats among presidential hopefuls is not (as CNN would have you assume) the most pressing news event on any given day.

ashley-dupre-spitzers-prostitute2So engrossed were we in our own insular political sideshows that it barely registered when noteworthy events occurred outside of U.S. borders. So, if you’re from one of those countries that are having a crappy decade, please pardon our outward indifference to your plight. We have no idea what’s happened in the world these last two years. We missed it all, or tried to. Eliot Spitzer’s prostitute’s sucky MySpace songs got more play than genocide in Sudan, the Cyclone Nargis, and the Sichuan Earthquake combined.

The hyping and overmarketing of presidential campaigns lets the media to ignore the crucial or controversial news stories. This is good for the media because it can refrain from reporting real-life news that might aggravate their sponsors. And while this is problematic on their part, we viewers give them an excuse by reinforcing the notion that we care more about the presidential race than we do about other important happenings in the world today. That we care more and more about the presidential rumor mill means we care less—or not at all—about Congress passing some obscure, quickly buried bill that will allow domestic spying or torture. We care more about which presidential candidate’s religious affiliates offended which rich white person today.

Rather than solely condemn CNN and Fox News for the stories they choose or refuse to supply, one might blame the American citizens for our own spoiled ignorance and the information we do or do not demand.

As a result of the media’s failure to cover stories outside the soap opera, any sly scumbag with aspirations to cheat, swindle or manipulate large majorities of people knows to wait until election season to do it. Alas, perhaps that’s why the next campaign season is starting before our wet-behind-the-ear President Elect even knows who his Secretary of State is.

Still, there are some who saw and see nothing wrong with the saturation of Election ’08 coverage. They believe they need to mull over the vibes they get from the candidates, and that requires constant surveillance. As long as we crave that overconsumption, CNN will happily pour provide it; see which comes up with the goofiest Freudian slip; inspect their medical records; condemn the drugs they did in high school; make sure the male candidates don’t act too flamboyant; make sure the women are both feminine and sufficiently masculine; evaluate their acquaintances; insist they ditch the ones we deem too rude.

It’s a tough job—being an American citizen, juggling so many pertinent subplots at once. But we’re happy to do it, because we are “the American people”, whose honorable character is exceptional in every respect. All we ask is that there are no distractions as we’re diligently scrutinizing our candidates; our mainstream media must never burden us with trivial headlines, like:

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Below are two maps.  The first shows the parts of the U.S. population most likely to have fewer than nine years of education.  The second map, oddly comparable to the first, highlights which of our nation’s counties were more likely to vote Republican in 2008 than in 2004.

edu9

mccainmap_2

This brief entry is intended only for those who would agree with me that, in general, education is a good thing–i.e., that schooling beyond a middle-school level prepares us for the real world and enables us to make informed decisions as adult citizens and voters. If you don’t count yourself among such believers in education, then your way of thinking may prevent you from seeing my point. Or it could be that you’re just not particularly apt at reading maps, or converting raw numbers into meaningful conclusions.

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Superman 2

While covering the presidential horse race, CNN and other mainstream news outlets keeps showing “delegate counts” without explaining their significance, as if there’s no real distinction between “superdelegates” and the apparently not-so-super ones.

But there is a distinction, an important one. Regular delegates, or “pledged” delegates, correspond to actual votes. Superdelegate votes reflect the arbitrary whims and fancies of powerful individuals. (more…)

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Democrats should not nominate Hillary Clinton, because she can’t be trusted and because she’s a woman.

There–I finally said it. For some time I’ve kept quiet about my conflicting inner dialogues about Hillary Clinton. But my desires to see anybody but Hillary get the Democratic nomination are not subsiding, thus I must now profess to my blogging friends (with whom I usually agree) that I believe Hillary wouldn’t be any better at the helm than somebody like John McCain. Several times I’ve contemplated coming out of the closet as an adamant Hillary-nonsupporter, but lately its been abundantly clear that my heart simply will not be in it, if I’m asked in 2008 to pose as someone who trusts Clinton.

woman president

But the statement I want to make is even more controversial than that, and I know it may infuriate the feminists in my discipline–many of whom would nominate Aileen Wuornos for President based on vagina points, serial-killer status not withstanding. I’m not speaking out against Hillary solely because I dislike and distrust her immensely and believe she’d make a hideous president; even if I didn’t perceive Clinton as a power-hungry phony, I still would hesitate to vote for her (in the Democratic primaries) because she’s a woman. That’s right, I said it–flip out feminism! Call me pejorative names if it helps you simplify the situation. (more…)

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The GOP’s position on YouTube

As if young voters needed further evidence, Republicans have shown once again how little regard they have for the future of our country. This time I’m not talking about their economic or environmental sloppiness–debts to society that Generations X and Y will someday be forced to repay. Those catastrophic blind spots aside, what pissed me off today was their blatant disregard for the future’s technology and the young people who have embraced it. (more…)

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Right now the media elites are weeding out the unwelcome candidates–those most likely too rock their boat. If elected, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich or even John McCain would severely jeopardize the too-comfy corporate lifestyles of Fox News and other pretend news sources. So the effort to swat these ’08 boat-rockers into Howard Dean-land is underway. (more…)

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A true “patriot” loves America enough to speak out against its corrupt politics. The U.S.A. was born out of protest. Our forefathers (frequently misremembered as servants of god) risked their lives revolting in protest against 18th century England’s abuse of colonial power. If we respect these so-called founders as passionately as our bumper stickers indicate, then why are we so afraid to follow their lead? Why do we balk at the mere thought of calling out those who abuse the power we’ve entrusted them with? (more…)

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