Thank God, someone finally said it (and said it well), calling bullshit on how the media sexes up elections, at the expense of substance, to keep all of us locked in the stupidity that has become the process.
In the October 9 edition of Rolling Stone, the always superb Matt Taibbi goes to the heart of the matter, saying what I've been griping about for years: That our electoral process is overly long and overly hyped, burying the issues beneath the blather, all for the sake of sensationalism and selling soap. That in its race to boost ratings, the media has made most Americans increasingly more disenchanted with the process and, by implication, doing its part to undermine democracy.
As always, Taibbi calls it from the gitgo (below the fold):
What we Americans go through to pick a president is not only crazy and unnecessary but genuinely abusive. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent in a craven, cynical effort to stir up hatred and anger on both sides. A decision that in reality takes one or two days of careful research to make is somehow stretched out into a process that involves two years of relentless, suffocating mind-warfare, an onslaught of toxic media messaging directed at liberals, conservatives and everyone in between that by Election Day makes every dinner conversation dangerous and literally divides families.What I loved was Taibbi's solution to the problem (again, something I've been saying for years), one that would undercut the political pornography that the media is selling:
The campaign should start and finish in six weeks, and there should be free TV access to both candidates. And it should be illegal to publish poll numbers. This isn't as crazy as it sounds – they actually had such a law in Russia while I lived there, and people were much happier. (Well, they were still miserable, because they were Russian, but at least they weren't stressing about poll numbers.) Think about it: Banning poll numbers would force the media to actually cover the issues. As it stands now, the horse race is the entire story – I can think of a couple of cable networks that would have to go completely dark tomorrow, as in Dan-Rather-Dead-Fucking-Air dark, if they had to come up with even 10 seconds of news content that wasn't centered on who was winning.Oh, to noot have to read another idiotic poll....
As always, not reading all of Taibbi is like ordering a burger and then only eating the side of fries. Follow the link, enjoy, then come back here and leave a comment!
(Cross posted at The Firebird Suite where I blog about parenting, politics and the Pphhh in Phoenix)