Monday, September 17, 2012

Political silly season

I keep seeing the news articles about whether or not media are reaping a bountiful harvest from the political ad spend in this presidential election year.  Truth is, yes, they are.  Maybe not as much as they had hoped, what with all that spending on shadowy stuff like social media, tweeting, texting, and other ways of avoiding actually having to give answers to questions that voters need to hear.

But every four years, traditional media get a nice infusion of dollars for those pithy 30-second commercials that are so carefully crafted, focus-grouped, honed and targeted so you, the voter, don't even have to think.  All you have to do is react to the stimuli.

If I sound jaded, I am.  Why, at a time when we have literally unlimited pipelines of communication, do people still rely so much on the TV and radio spot to inform them about a candidate's fit for the most important job on the planet?  Little wonder we hear responses like the ones I heard the other day, when a typical TV reporter asked typical people on the street who they intended to vote for and why.

"President Obama, because I just don't think Romney looks honest to me."

"Obama.  He really cares about people like me and Romney doesn't."

"Romney is just for the rich.  He'll take care of his rich buddies and we middle class and poor people will get hosed."

Lord help us all.  What a disgusting waste of highly-evolved media.

I would hope anyone--whether he is voting for President Obama or Mr. Romney--would have better reasons for doing so than what they glean from a television spot.  Or a line of rhetoric in a campaign speech, for that matter.

Are we really too busy to read opinion pieces, visit the candidates' web sites, research the many reliable, unbiased sources for the truth when so much is riding on how this election goes?  Could we take just a few moments from watching the Kardashians or Honey Boo-Boo to look up the records and experience of the two men running for president?

I'm afraid we are all too lazy or disinterested to go to the trouble.  Let the marketers define these men for us, then pick the one whose campaign team does the best job of selling the can of beans, not the one who would be more likely to do the best thing for our country.  Let them cull it all down to 30 seconds, then get me back to "American Idol."  Or even worse, vote the white candidate or the black one.  Or the one in the party you have always voted for.  Or the one your union, your minister, your parent, or someone else told you to.

Hey, with Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey both on that panel, the sparks will fly, I betcha!  And THAT is what's important!

Who was it who said, "People deserve the government they elect?"  I don't know, and I don't have time to research it.  They're about to vote somebody off the island and I don't want to miss that!"

Don Keith N4KC
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:

No comments: