Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

As the two parties continue their search for their candidate for President, the media’s relentless coverage gets more and more absurd. Watching each network’s coverage feels like a bad episode of Star Trek where no matter how silly things are, they just keep getting more and more ridiculous. Worst yet we have not even reached the important part. Even after the madness of the primaries is over and we know which two candidates will compete for the Presidency, the coverage will just get worse. As viewers, we are in for a long road.How do we find a balance between remaining informed about the people who want to govern us and retaining our sanity and any of our moral values? Watching this insane coverage is almost impossible because there is no line between the important news and the useless banter. They move seamlessly between analyzing a Clinton’s proposed health care system to analyzing whether her skirt was too long or too short. As viewers, what can we do to change a trend that has been heading down hill for decades?

The answer is both simple and difficult. We have to stop watching. And luckily, the Internet has caught up to the TV as a media and news source. It gives us another choice when the TV is not tolerable anymore.

While the Internet is rife with misinformation and plain old made up fairy tale lies, it has recently surged with honest professional people who are trying to get facts and good information out there. With a little effort, time and commitment, the average American can go online and visit the candidates’ websites to read articles written about politicians archived from the beginning of their careers. You can compare stances on tax reform, foreign policy and environmental issues. When the viewers get to choose what information they want it keeps the unimportant fluff from invading and watering down what should really matter.

That does, however, leave one huge problem for the viewers. What happens when all that the viewer chooses is the un-important fluff? What if the media is right and is just giving us what we want? What if less and less people care about actual facts and care more about Britney Spears than the coverage of our political system? How do we as a society change our expectations and interest in whom, how and why we choose to elect to run our country? That is not so simple.

We have to start teaching children at a much younger age the difference between real news and celebrity gossip overexposure. We have to work as a society to do something about too much media with too much time on its hands and a drive for sensationalism and over-informing the public. We, as the general public, need to make a serious effort to reward candidates who stay above the mess. We should take notice when they run honest and serious campaigns. We should tune into journalists who provide campaign coverage that informs and avoids simply digging for dirt. It is easy to blame the mass media at large for the silly state of things, but the truth is they are only part of the problem. We as the public are a much bigger and much more important source of the problem.

Ted Trevorrow is a third-year majoring in English. He can be reached at ET666499@wcupa.edu.

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