The Hypocrisy of Hype


Madison Dalton, News Editor

Government transparency is critical to democracy.  But, unfortunately, the flawed picture that our media paints of modern politics is nothing close to a clear pane of glass.  Indeed, we live in a world where core political issues have been bundled up and sold as entertainment.  Most news networks are highly polarized and practically all are to some extent inaccurate.  Yet, most dangerous of all, these networks—though hardly informational—give viewers the illusion of they themselves becoming well-informed about the political atmosphere we live in.

Commercials are a quintessential example of this phenomenon.  Recently, in this election year, the American public has been showered with political propaganda from both sides.  This is expected.  But propaganda loses all value at the point where it becomes totally and blatantly inaccurate.  And that is exactly where our nation currently stands.

Just one of many examples of this is the first commercial released by Mitt Romney for the 2012 presidential campaign.  In the commercial, Obama is heard saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”  As it turns out, this statement was takien slightly out of context.  It was a voice clip taken from a statement Obama made in the 2008 election, in which he said, “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’”  Alas, the American public was informed, yet informed completely inaccurately.  And this happens all the time, on both sides of the isle.

But the inaccuracies don’t end here.  Even our top news agencies have become so polarized that they are intentionally sacrificing accurate reporting for increased viewership.  It is no secret that Fox News is predominantly right-winged, while MSNBC sways heavily to the left.  According to the New America Foundation, “The problem, the panelists [from the April 2012 event, Red Channel, Blue Channel: How Fox and MSNBC Are Transforming American Politics] seemed to agree, isn’t necessarily the perspectives of these pundits – but rather when they try to mask those biases behind veils of supposed journalistic integrity.”  In other words, opinions are now being passed off as legitimate facts.

Another point to note is the cost of election advertisements in general.  As of July, reports the New York Times, the Republican and Democratic parties have spent a total of $897.9 million on their campaigns.  This doesn’t even include the over $126 million that has been spent by outside organizations.

And what if you have the credentials, but not the cash? It’s quite simple: you lose.  An ironic realization for a nation that has potential, but—despite the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on election media advertisements—a lack of cash.