Political Candidates and the Media

All candidates become media creations…one way or another, through a combination of vitriol and sentimental hogwash, eventual belief in any of it depending upon the viewer’s predisposed political views. As much money and work go into such propaganda as in Oscar-winning films. With the right material arranged cleverly, Joseph Stalin became a media god to his own people. I’m cautious about any such blurbs of anyone running for public office.

Mao Zedong

I’d rather see a combination of good and bad things in making up my mind, based primarily upon facts and my own intelligence to tell the difference between truth and media hype. I’m just as suspicious of those little films about Hillary, Bernie, and all the other prospects as I am about The Trumpster. Candidates who are reviled by the opposition appear also in misleading clips edited almost to death in order to make those folks appear villainous (i.e. President Obama via Fox News). The media cannot just influence our political views. The media can create them, so I take all such TV coverage, positive AND negative, with a grain of salt, which usually puts me somewhere in the middle between extreme conservatives and wacko liberals.

dictators

This is another reason that listening to only one television network for one’s political views is probably dangerously skewed. On television the two extremes are Fox News (hyper-conservative) and MSNBC (hyper-liberal). Issues are tweaked on both, though I gravitate toward the latter, as I believe its fact-checking is rigorous most of the time, and I’m not sure that Fox News even knows what fact-checking is.

stalin

We sometimes think of “propaganda” as being used only in third-world countries or in regimes like that of Mao Zedong, Hitler, Mussolini, etc., tweaked truths shifted to recreate, enhance, or hide a leader’s image, but the fact is we still use the media to cajole, convince, persuade or convert especially those who may still be on the fence about their affiliations.

marionette

A brief but perhaps expensive film placed in the right time slot with the right images, narrative and music can create loyalty or loathing, depending upon the viewers intellectual and emotional inclinations. Such media tactics can reaffirm one’s already established views or sometimes alter them, but it’s one of the reasons campaigning is so exorbitantly expensive in America, though there generally has to be some level of charisma in a politician’s profile to make even the most expensive commercial have any effect. Jeb Bush spent an enormous amount of money (more than any other candidate) on his campaign but didn’t have the draw in terms of his own personal charisma to build much of a bonfire and ended with hardly a candle flame to illuminate whatever political prowess he had.

marionette 2

Finally it’s up to every voter to do his homework about anyone with whom he or she is politically smitten. It’s important to see various views from various news sources in order to avoid the all too comfortable state of being rendered another of the many marionettes voting for an image instead of a living, breathing person.   JB

man and tv

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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