Media bias and shades of "personalan" in the US presidential election

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Two months away from the US presidential election, the campaign is rising in fever pitch Democrats and Republicans woo voters to their respective platforms. More people, other than the Americans are drawn into the suspense of what may come out in the polls. In an increasingly global world, this election is significant in many ways.

For a long while after the 26th amendment of the constitution in 1971 which expanded the voting to younger Americans (18 to 21 years age,) —a group with low turn-outs in the polls, more young Americans seem interested to participate. First time in US electoral history an Afro-American-senator runs for presidency and GOP elevates a young housewife-governor as its vice-presidential candidate.

Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, 1960-2004

Year——————-% of Voting-Age Population
1960—————————–62.8
1964—————————–61.4
1968—————————–60.7
1972—————————–55.1
1976—————————–53.6
1980—————————–52.8
1984—————————–53.3
1988—————————–50.3
1992—————————–55.2
1996—————————–49.0
2000—————————–50.3
2004—————————–55.5

Source: Statistical Abstract of United States/ Choosing the President 2008: A Citizen’s Guide to the Electoral Process (League of Women Voters, Globe Pequot Press, 2008, p. 11)

The changes in mass media have brought the political exchange in real time with the internet lording over the decline of newspapers, especially among young voters. The airwaves and TV are filled with undigested news, propagandistic opinions, and partisan exchanges scrutinizing the candidates’ qualifications to a point that irrelevant issues seep into mainstream discussions.

Traditionally fair and balance, the liberal media has turned into a partisan arena with interest groups at play. Under the cloak of “decency” bitter controversies, mudslinging, and innuendoes are emerging in the media, just like in Philippine politics. These frustrate fair dissemination of information, more to the disadvantage of the voters.

Bias & Hypocrisy Condemned, Fairness Urged

Gov. Sarah Palin takes center stage tonight (September 3, 2008,) to accept her vice-presidential Republican nomination. It is her defining moment to introduce herself—make Americans know what she represents so voters can decide if she is worthy of the vice presidency. But frenzied sniping by the media on her young daughter’s pregnancy tries to carve a negative impression on the conservative governor. Hotly circulating in the internet, TV, talk shows, and newspapers, the manipulation of her child’s predicament makes the public wonder if this election has to degenerate into personal attacks rather than a focused debate over important issues.

On his own admission, charismatic Sen. Barack Obama passionately subscribes to the Christian tenet of “doing for the least of his brethren” making the Democratic presidential candidate look holier than his political rivals. But the public knows Obama almost doesn’t help his impoverished blood brother George in Kenya who speaks coldly of him in a CNN interview. The media, nosey over Palin’s personal life choose to be silent about it. Long angered by Pres. George W. Bush and the Republican administration, many media elements favor campaign coverage of Sen. Obama than for Sen. John McCain whose patriotic public record and experience since his 5-year incarceration as POW in Vietnam is unrivalled.

Bias, hypocrisy, propaganda, and questions of fairness hover in the minds of the public. Americans therefore have to be vigilant and discerning. They have still two months to decide. The stakes of the election aren’t anchored on personal issues of the candidates. The economy, homeland security, healthcare, immigration, taxation, global warming, energy sufficiency, social security, education, religious rights, abortion, stem cell, gay marriage, and foreign policy stand as major considerations that voters must focus on. Impacting the future of America and the world, these issues must be above ulterior motives and must be rendered separate from the agenda of individuals, interest groups, partisan politics, and those of the media. =0=

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