The Very Rich Hours of the Lambrights

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Read This Before You Vote

July 30th, 2008 · No Comments

One of my pet peeves is the way that the media, particularly TV news, covers presidential elections.  Here’s the usual sequence:

1)  Candidate A makes some outrageous statement or runs an ad that is probably not accurate.

2)  The news programs spend hours debating why the candidate made that statement and how it’s likely to affect the election in a strategic sense.

3)  After a few days, the news coverage moves on to the next scandal or juicy bit of gossip.

Nowhere in this sequence does anyone actually talk about the truth or lack of truth in what the candidate actually said.  Isn’t that the media’s purpose?  I think there are a couple of reasons this happens:

1)  It’s easier and cheaper to have some talking heads debate campaign strategy than it is to do the hard research it would take to properly evaluate campaign statements.

2)  Journalists believe that they have to present campaign statements in an uncritical manner in order to maintain balance of coverage.  “We report, you decide”.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative:  www.factcheck.org.  This site is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.  They fact check all the ads, speeches, and press releases of the presidential candidates.  If they get their facts wrong or say something misleading, this site will call them on it.  It’s a non-partisan site; you’ll find both McCain and Obama getting their fair share of lumps.  If you want to know more about what the candidates really stand for, this is a good place to start.

Tags: Politics

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