Apr 22, 2008

American media/politics: Good or Ugly?

I watched the primary election results come in from Pennsylvania primary today. It started me thinking about the amount of time all the mainstream media are spending on primary election coverage in the US. I find it problematic that so much media time is spent covering presidential election politics. Given the limited time and space that the media has to present any kind of information, I really wonder at the fairness of covering the election campaigns to such a degree. The American mainstream, in any regular news cycle, devotes only a small fraction of its already limited coverage to such problems as the world food crisis, global warming and environmental issues and other concerns of global proportions. This results in a representation of America as a country more concerned with the trivial aspects of its own provincial politics than of problems that affect the world.

It must be said that media coverage gets people excited, and getting excited about political campaigns, especially presidential ones, can motivate people to get more involved in the political process. This is certainly a good thing. But unless we take the step to do something after the campaigns and the coverage are over (run for office ourselves, organize community members around an issue, educate others about real problems and suggest solutions), we have let the media control how and when we take responsibility for our civic participation.

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