Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our emotional-electoral state

Shark Fu at Angry Black Bitch has a seriously incredible post today on her response to election coverage so far. Some parts are so true and so funny, it hurts. The thesis:

I don’t know about y’all, but this bitch has had enough political bullshit tossed my way in the last few months to keep me shoveling for a lifetime.

You can say that again.

I feel like a passerby who can't turn away from the hypnotic sight of a car crash. I feel like a broken-hearted teenager who, burned by the failure of his last attempt (back in 2004), refuses to get involved and get hurt again. I feel, frankly, like I'm getting jerked around. A friend I hadn't seen in a while asked me recently how I was feeling about the election, and I replied immediately, "You know what Noelle, I'm just so sick of being manipulated!!"

It's been that kind of an election, and I place a lot of blame on our media. They're like that girl in high school who would yell a piece of provocative gossip across a row of lockers and watch the student body freak out straight through 7th period. While CNN's (and NBC's, and NYTimes's, and Fox News's) advertising department laughed all the way to the bank, we poor folk have been subjected to manufactured conflict, drama, and tension.

In an election year, the media isn't covering what's actually at stake in our country. They aren't lifting up stories about the disappearing "American dream" of affordable housing, health care, child care, and decent-paying jobs. They aren't reminding anyone that we aren't taking care of military folks like we should, and they certainly aren't questioning the way we use our military might in the first place. And they are definitely, definitely not talking about what would happen in our country -- what is already happening in countries around the world -- if John McCain and Sarah Palin got their wish, and abortion became a crime.

No - instead of substantive coverage, we've mostly got an echo chamber, repeating sound bytes until they become common wisdom, become truth.

As one of Shark Fu's commenters, Rileysdtr, put it: "Nice game-changing speech, Little Sister! Expect a whale of a bounce in tomorrow's polls."


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