As many of my fellow college students have expressed to me in the recent weeks, the once-exciting presidential election has disenchanted many of us with the constant mudslinging between candidates and spin from news networks. Does anyone really care about reverends, aside comments (re-publicized and analyzed out of context) or bowling scores? I would hasten to say that we could all care less - we want to hear about policy plans. More than this, it seems like the news media has done its best to latch on to (if not spur on or exaggerate) the cat fighting, thereby ignoring the important issues which could be discussed.
Another blogger discussed his frustration by pointing out our obsession with likability: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where did we get this notion that the President of the United States should be a drinking buddy? Where did we get the notion that the strongest nation on earth should be led by a folksy, easy-to-like drunk?Ã¢â‚¬Â Here, here.
Though I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t listened to Tim Robbins' speech at the NAB in its entirety (but have listened to most of it and read a number of articles discussing it), it seems his desire for media to refocus on important issues rings particularly true in light of the current non-debates.
Each of these candidates has promoted his or her ability to change business-as-usual politics Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they are all failing miserably. But I can't help but feel that it's not entirely their fault - the news isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t making it easy. When photo-ops in bars and bowling allies are the biggest headlines, and the only questions being asked are about previous personal attacks from candidate supporters, then candidates arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as able to Ã¢â‚¬Å“rise above the fray.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I, for one, would love to see a significant change in political media coverage and campaigning because I think
itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unfortunate that the only alternative view we have on current politics is on the Daily Show and Colbert Report Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even though I love both. When will the candidates
get to the issues? Will we have to wait until after the primaries (and is that fair to whomever doesn't make it that far)? When will the coverage look at what the substantive discussions and policy
plans of each candidate Ã¢â‚¬â€œ instead of what theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re wearing or who is speaking for them?