Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Campaign Coverage

Clearly, the press allowed the campaign to be hijacked by side issues like the Kerry service record in Vietnam, by 527 interest groups. This piling on, and lack of a response by the Kerry campaign helped derail the effort of the Democrats.
As the Committee for Concerned Journalists survey showed these issues and the coverage were in part failures of news organizations to portray truth as opposed to the familiar “he said she said” paradigm. It was breathtaking to watch bona fide military and intelligence failures by the administration offered up as the critical news they were, yet this was brushed aside by a propaganda machine connected to the president’s reelection organization. How can this happen?

It can when press, especially television, focuses on these sideshows. That’s the idea. The CBS story incorporated faked or inauthentic documents that became more fuel for the bias crowd who itself was responsible for the misinformation campaign on behalf of the president by proxy just as history has shown us the Bush family likes it: No muss no fuss. While this raged on the legitimate issues of war and domestic decline couldn’t even begin to break through into the American collective consciousness.

When print and TV co-opt slogans of one campaign such as “flip-flopper” without explanation that the term more aptly applies to the accuser based on factual evidence not out of context semantics, well, the public loses in a big way.
Similarly when the questionable values issue moves front and center the small stuff wins yet again. Coverage has to evaluate information and positions and reach some sort of a conclusion. Objectivity is scientific by nature. Until journalism adopts this level of scrutiny, lies will continue infect the public narrative.


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