Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Media-influenced Voting

Well, it's finally here. Election Day. After marathon campaigning, media blitzes, slogans and negative ads, it's time for America to elect our president. I am usually filled with pride that this country gives every citizen the right to vote. I see news stories with Americans from all walks of life, at all stages in their lives, proudly leaving voting locations with the satisfaction of casting their equally important votes for the most important office in our land. But this election, more than any other in history, gives me reason to pause.

We have become such a society of short, PR-laden sound quotes, where people get their information from headlines, news briefs, tickers on the bottom of sporting events, bits and pieces of news stories, e-mails that have been forwarded all over the country with questionable facts and stories angled towards special interests, blogs, and so many facets of mis-information, that it gives me a stomach-ache. So many people are voting for candidates based on what someone else has told them, whether it is a news anchor, a preacher, a teacher, a parent, or a friend, and NOT because they have researched the issues and the candidate's REAL agenda, based on their history, not on the packaged press kit information that some PR agent has distributed.

It makes me wonder. On one hand, it is remarkable that within eight years of 9/11 we are this close to electing a black man whose middle name is "Hussein". But on the other hand, what does it say about us as a society, when we allow the media to have such influence over our direction?