Political discourse and junk food

I have been sampling the recent blizzard of liberal and conservative discourse and I find most of it is too much like junk food in that it titillates my interest but offers little in the way of sustenance or real value.

Political news from the MSM and from many bloggers is heavily biased and pushes emotional hot buttons to hide inferior research and lack of logic. This is quite similar to the adding of chemicals to junk foods to make them seem appetizing and cover up the lack of real food value.

The MSM is so obviously partisan that it makes little sense to turn on the TV and expect to get news. FOX supports the McCain campaign while ABC, NBC and CBS are media extensions of the Obama campaign. These journalists fawn on their favored candidates while pouncing on the opposition candidates.

Very rarely does an event get reported as it happens. Professional journalists feel obliged to "shape" the news so that the audience gets the journalist’s version of what just happened. Political bloggers have fallen into the same trap.

This "shaping" takes the form of leaving out words when quoting someone’s answer or editing videos to change the meaning of what a candidate said.

There is so much blather being foisted off on us as news that many of us no longer respect the "talking heads" who once dominated TV news. Rathergate should have acted as a warning that "manufactured news" will no longer pass muster, but this presidential campaign has shown that professional journalists have no shame and less integrity. Many bloggers no longer offer a useful alternative.

Whether it involves spreading rumors of Obama’s affair with a staff member or hyping the "ethics investigation" of Sarah Palin’s actions regarding a rogue Trooper, it appears there is little investigation or factchecking before spewing half-baked ideas to all and sundry.

Statements by the candidates are ridiculed by those journalists and bloggers who have a vested interest in the success of another candidate. I have read so much negative reporting by bloggers and MSM journalists that I have tuned most of them out now. I think that others are doing the same.

Joe Biden’s recent comment on the possibility of a post-election aggression from a foreign government was ridiculed by journalists and bloggers alike, but there is some basis for believing that an inexperienced President will be seen as an opportunity to be exploited by some foreign leaders. JFK was seen as a weak President by Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy’s eagerness to be reasonable and encourage understanding was no match for Khrushchev’s determination to debate and out-argue the less experienced president.

I am tired of the political junk food I am being served. There is too much unsupported opinion and too many obfuscations offered up by well-meaning partisan hacks. The more I dig into actual transcripts and videos by the candidates, the better I understand where they are coming from and what their goals are.

None of the candidates are perfect and they all have made their share of mistakes. What I am looking for is the meat of the matter and that is a sense of what they will do in office based on their past experiences. Anyone can make promises, but a person’s ability to deliver can be extrapolated from what they have already accomplished.

Leopards do not change their spots and politicians rarely change their pattern of behavior. Getting a true picture of a candidate’s history will provide a good clue as to how they will perform in office. The MSM does not currently provide a true picture of any of the candidates.  Bloggers are more open about their allegiances and they generally provide links to original source material. It is easy to crosscheck one blogger against others and draw some useful conclusions.

The truth is out there, but it takes some digging.

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