Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Perception and the Media

There has been much chatter, from both online pals and the media, about last night’s Democratic debate.

As I wrote last night, my own feeling was that Hillary won. The media certainly was quick to give her the win, and the kudos reached a rather absurd level. (No, Van Jones, she wasn’t like Beyoncé.) I also thought Sanders did quite well, but to me, Hillary carried herself the best.

However, a handful of focus groups showed Sanders winning. Vox had an interesting article about this, taking a look at how they felt Hillary seemed too timid and Sanders came across as strong. I found this a little dismaying because it seems that a woman who gets passionate about something is deemed as ‘shrill’ or told to ‘calm down.’ (For the record, if you ever encounter me when I’m really angry, tell me to calm down at your own risk.) It is very much a double standard that women have had to deal with for pretty much forever. It reminded me a lot  of President Obama stepping back from the risk of appearing to be the ‘angry black man.’ Virtually everyone seems to have these hardwired perception filters that are really hard to overcome. I thought that Hillary was being calm but showing strength; others thought that she was too passive.

A gal can’t win for losin’.

Another interesting thing I read today was a piece from Paul Waldman in which he wrote about how the media will manipulate our thoughts on the debate. We’ve been seeing this a lot lately, haven’t we? Whether it’s the media writing story after story about Hillary’s emails or not reporting on Sanders’ events, it seems they have their own agenda to push.

A related story was from poll genius Nate Silver about how the media had been selling the narrative of Hillary’s campaign in disarray and how VP Biden might step in to rescue the party and blah di fucking blah. So after pushing that narrative, they are now talking about how she was triumphant, a veritable phoenix rising from the ashes of a dysfunctional campaign. However, as Nate points out, she has been the frontrunner nationally for the entire time, and by a fairly healthy margin. He does not state that she is a shoo-in, but odds show that she is the prohibitive favorite. However, their bogus comeback story is a lot more interesting than “yes, she was ahead before the debate and she’s still ahead after the debate.”

This is why I take so much of what I read with a grain of salt. Sure, a lot of what I read is biased on the left. I realize that. But I try to avoid the especially sensationalistic sites like Salon or Jezebel. The Daily Beast can be that way, too, but I pick and choose which articles I post from there. If something is obviously inflammatory or biased, chances are I am not going to post it. I grow weary of journalists pushing an obvious narrative about this or that candidate. I just want to see the straight-up facts and go from there. Many journalists have insightful and thoughtful opinions, and I enjoy those for what they are: opinions. I always try to keep in mind that that is what they are offering up and putting their own spin on.

Unfortunately, far too many people accept that manipulation as fact and don’t form their own opinions. They’d rather be told what to think than to think it through on their own. I’m certainly vulnerable to that to a certain degree, but I do my best to form my own opinions.

Most people who know me would probably agree that I have plenty of them!

1 comment:

  1. ... when it comes to media coverage, this era will be not to dissimilar from the late 1800's - early 1900's, with Rupert Murdoch as Citizen Ka--, er, Randolph Hearst..!

    The rise of the power of the low-information, fundamentalist Christian voter has really crippled Congress and politics nationwide in state and local elections... Kansas and Louisiana, IMO, have really been suffering from the lack of good politicians... and the idiots on the Hill, the 40 GOP politicians are really allowing the power elite (this so-called "Freedom Caucus") to further distance themselves through economic and social interests...

    ReplyDelete

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