The media powerhouses of our country have completely hijacked this presidential election. It is a shame when five or six gigantic private companies have the ability to throw things so far one way or the other. They are all in bed with each other, too. The saddest part is that most Americans do not understand the steady brainwashing they are receiving. I am not a conspiracy theorist kind of guy, but from what I have been observing, our media systems must have something up their sleeves. I am lucky enough to use both the Internet and the mass media outlets to get my news, but most Americans do not. When I open up a newspaper, or turn on the television, all I see is biased propaganda thrown in my face about one candidate or the other. Sometimes, as in the case of say Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, their names are not even mentioned as those who are running for president. We get bombarded with “presidential preference” poll numbers coming out of early primary and caucus states that do not mean a damn thing towards who gets the nomination. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc. are calling winners for these primaries with one percent of the vote in. One percent? One percent!?! Are you kidding me? So we all sit back as consumers to this great fiasco without lifting a finger, then read the morning paper and see some off-base headline like, “John McCain Soars Like a Bald Eagle Through D.C. Primaries.” Then it is set in stone, John McCain wins. And, he must be totally patriotic because he won Washington, D.C AND soared like a bald eagle! He won Washington D.C. because that is where he works.
The United States voting system does not even work in this way. Most states have both a presidential preference poll, as well as some sort of caucus. These caucuses are the key to winning state delegates. State delegates then go to a National Convention to vote for the candidate that they choose. I doubt the vast majority of Americans understand that is this how the process works, but it this is how it works. So, when the media tells you that John McCain won a state with 50 percent or so, they are giving you the poll numbers. What they are not telling you is that, in some cases, folks like Ron Paul have secured more delegates than the person who won the poll. Because they do not tell you this, everyone assumes that these lower-level candidates do not have a chance and tend to disregard them. The strategy ends up working, and these candidates fall off the radar.
All I want is the real scoop. I do not want it watered down, and I do not want it with a spin. I want candidates that do not have the name recognition or the money to get their time, too. Since when do we as Americans allow the media to choose what is best for us? That is not the job of the media. The job of the media is to tell us facts. And they do a very poor job of that as well. Every newspaper and television news program has its own set of political analysts to do our thinking for us. We have become the dumbest country on earth. I frankly do not trust everyone around me choose the next president of the United States. I do not even know if I trust myself at this point. Clearly we have not been doing a very good job of it in the last eight years.
Our two-party system is partly to blame as well. If you are not in with the big dogs at the National GOP or Democrats, then you can basically assume that you will be losing the election. Beyond that, the media is not going to give any coverage to the third-party candidate that decides to challenge the establishment. Ralph Nader, anyone? Not for me. But please, give the man his fair shot.
Who does the media say can win? Who cares? Vote your heart.
Kevin Conner is a third-year student majoring in communications studies with a minor in creative writing. He can be reached at KC651660@wcupa.edu.