|Media, Ignorance and the Presidential Election
Author: Crystal Stone PM
I really need help with revisions on this. I've edited it over and over. It's due tomorrow and school let out early so my teacher couldn't look over it one last time. Help! pleaseRated: Fiction K - English - Words: 1,004 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Published: 12-13-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2449828
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While passing advertisements on the highway, I began to read them out of boredom. Real estate agencies painted the asphalt with their success stories. Dental institutions showed people with perfectly straight teeth and white smiles. Psychology centers drew wonderful sketches of happy families in attempts to persuade the dysfunctional family to turn towards them. Although to me the billboards seemed so unreal the pictures, slogans, fonts, and colors all intrigued me. I began to ponder the impact that the portrayal of anything, whether news stories or free market advertisement, has on my decisions…
Forms of news media intrigue and influence not only me, but people in America every day. Magazine pictures and newspaper articles litter grocery stores checkout aisles and shelves. Most major web portals or browsers have a page of news. Radio stations broadcast world affairs. Many television channels' devotion also lies in disseminating news. Media infuses my society, becoming a catalyst for both major and insignificant choices made daily. Media is just like advertisements; it appeals to its audiences' senses whether conscious or subconscious. Unfortunately, this is not without the pollution of prejudice. Most news media is biased because successful free market media is created to satiate its audience with what it wants to hear. The average person has neither the time nor the desire to analyze their sources to make wiser decisions, especially when at first glance the media answers the question that is most pressing on their mind. The key then, to solving the problem of biased media, is education.
An ignorant society will judge either product or person portrayed through media by its preconceived notions and stereotypes. This does not just pertain to things such as the brand of butter to buy but also to the most momentous decision a country makes: the electing of an official to govern the country for a specified term.
Media in America attempts to portray candidate views on important issues but it does acknowledge race, gender and religion of candidates, too. The problem is, our society lacks background on the presented issues; therefore, they are unable to come to educated conclusions about imperative concerns facing the world right now. Rather, they simply stick to the stereotypes they have adopted and the prejudice topics that captivate their attention. More over, most Americans are too busy to notice or are simply politically apathetic. Due to this, they look at the first thing that hits their retina. The media is not the problem; the problem is the people.
Media has always focused on the race of candidates because the public has strong feelings about it. Today there is a candidate running for president of African descent named Barack Obama. There was uproar in the media recently on Barack Obama's supporter, Oprah Winfrey. She is a highly praised American of the same race as him. This made the media cover the public's jump to conclusions about her motivations. One news paper went as far as saying that "Oprah sends a message to all American women that it is OK not to vote for Hillary and one to African-Americans that they need to vote for Obama." Media found a way of criticizing the supporter and the race at the same time.
For the first time in American history, a woman is a presidential frontrunner, making gender a topic of interest. ABC News even published an article entitled, "Hillary Clinton Hopes Country is Ready for Female President". Even in my school, one of the ninth grade Civics classes had a debate on America's readiness for a female president. The boys pulled out statistics on women's intelligence quotients compared to male's intelligence quotients. They found a statistic stating that women's intelligence quotients are generally 3 6/10 points lower than males. Although that may or may not be true, when you look at leaders in history, some women have been effective. Margaret Thatcher is one example. Although outside skeptics may have criticized her, she was in office for 11 years and highly praised.
Religion has always been a topic receiving much attention from the media and the electors in America. Just a week ago, Mitt Romney obtained publicity for his speech on his Mormon faith. One newspaper said Mitt Romney was "vying to become the first Mormon president". The same newspaper said that he decided to "give a speech focused on his faith and the role of religion in politics because the subject is of interest…" In reality, although the speech did mention his faith, he told America, "I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith." Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, is in agreement with Romney. Mike Huckabee, while answering a question on his belief in creationism, said, "It's interesting that that question would even be asked to a person running for president. I am not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth grade science book, I am asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States." The presidential candidates have the same view when it comes to their religion and their ability to run the country. They all believe that their religion have nothing to do with their ability to be president.
Americans need to know what political qualities a potentially strong leader possesses. Americans need to know what issues have the most importance and that race, gender and religion are not some of them. Look at Hitler. He was elected in Germany for his charisma. People were desperate and elected him through their ignorance. The result was a world in turmoil. The effects of ignorance are devastating. Although I think that media plays a part in the electoral process, I know that education, or lack thereof, plays a larger role. What is our population to say with the rights they gained from our forefathers if they are not educated enough to think critically and know what to say?