For the last couple of decades, we have witnessed the Presidential debates become nothing more than media controlled dog & pony shows. Actually calling them ‘debates’ is quite the inaccurate term to use. These so-called ‘debates’ are more like media controlled question and answer sessions, and that’s something that needs to change.
Since the beginning of May, we have seen nine debates featuring Republican candidates for President of the United States. Nine different sessions in which a media representative asks questions to each candidate and then gives them a set amount of time to answer. If the answer targets another member of the debate, then that person is allowed a timed rebuttal to defend themselves or strike back. This circle repeats itself for a good hour or two depending on which network is sponsoring the debate. We have to ask ourselves though; how is this a debate? What are we supposed to get out of these short-answer sessions with candidates who are running for the most important office in the country. The answer is nothing.
Let’s be brutally honest here. The election of the President of the United States is controlled by the media. Perhaps that is a bold statement to state, but when you really look at what’s going on, it’s very true. Pay attention early on in the debate season on who gets questions asked to them the most while others are ignored. Ask yourself why candidate A is getting the question on taxes, yet the other candidates get some other question or no question at all. Take a look at the time that is spent on two or three candidates versus the rest of the field when there are really six or seven people on stage who should have questions asked of them as well. Anytime those other candidates get asked a question, it’s just a bone thrown to them or a charade to make the people feel like an actual discussion is going on, and not a media controlled propaganda machine in action. When was the last time that the American people actually chose their Presidential candidate and not spoon fed one by the media?
People need to stop and ask themselves why they are taking candidates like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry seriously. These are the two primary Republican candidates the media has tried to shove down our throats and two individuals who big business loves. We seem to forget the fact that the media are run by corporations. These same corporations have huge interests in Washington and what the current issues are. Wouldn’t it make sense for them to want the media; which they own, to go ahead and mold a candidate for the American people. A candidate they can trust and one who’s pockets they will line during the 2012 election cycle? This was the exact case in 2008 for President Barack Obama who saw exponential campaign donations from not only individuals, but also from Wall Street firms as well, including Goldman Sachs as can be seen from the chart below.
We have people out on Wall Street and in every major city across the country and across the globe, that are protesting for an end to the Wall Street’s strangle hold on the world economy. The media worked so hard to ignore these people in the beginning, and now they are working hard to discredit them by making them the ‘tea party of the left.’ By classifying them as a distinguishable group rather than a group of people with mixed ideas coming together for a common cause, the media can control the message. Despite what this media has put out in regards to Occupy Wall Street and the far right has run with, the fact is the ’99%’ are a very diverse group of people from different political backgrounds. Sure many on the left have jumped on board as well because they are angry at the economic situation as well, but you find many who believe that Wall Street is out of control and libertarians as well who are just as angry about what has transpired in recent years. The media has a vested interest in controlling the message about Occupy Wall Street, just as they do in making sure the ‘wrong’ candidate doesn’t get time during one of their so-called debates.
When will the American people actually see a Presidential debate again? An actual period of time set aside where candidates discuss certain issues without a media associated moderator stepping in every 60 seconds to let them know their time is up. When can the American people get answers that are long and thought out and ones that can be rebutted with concerns by each candidate on stage. It might make sense to have a more controlled setting when there are eight people on stage, but what about come September 2012? Why is a moderator needed at that time? Why can’t the candidates discuss the issues in a civil manner and actually have a real debate over the future of this country. The stopwatch needs to be taken away and candidates voices need to be heard. Let the American people see what they really stand for in more than 2 or 3 sentences. Let the people have answers that will help them pick which candidate represents them best instead of which one they are having to hold their nose to vote for because they never really had a choice to begin with. What is it going to take for this to ever truly happen? As our own President would put it; “hope and change.”
At the end of the day, that is what it would take. It would take a change in the political environment and a hope that the media doesn’t interfere in a way to shut down the type of change that is needed. Of course the sad part is, the only way the media does not stop a movement is if corporate America doesn’t see it as a threat. Perhaps the only way the American people would be able to do that is pretend to support big business and Wall Street, while hiding their intentions to build a brighter future. There’s a great line of lyrics in the song ‘Satellite’ from the band Rise Against. It simply says: “that’s why we stick to your game plans and party lines, but at night we are conspiring by candlelight.”
The lyrics talk very much so about the movements we see here today. Many people watch their CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, etc. yet they watch them to see what they are doing and to give them the idea that they care about what they say. Instead people conspire against the media on alternative news sites, political blogs, and youtube. People stand-up against a media that has long forgotten them all the time. The only problem is that voice isn’t loud enough yet, but you can almost be rest assured it soon will be. The internet age has changed the scope of the way the American people look at and treat their news. It has also changed the way they look at their candidates as well. It’s why despite not having a real chance to win the Republican nomination at this time, candidates like Ron Paul still have a huge following. The mainstream media and right-wing media like to call his followers a cult, but his numbers have grown exponentially over the years and he has the campaign donations to prove it. The mainstream media does everything it can to quiet down and ignore Ron Paul because they are scared. As the establishment, anyone who they cannot control the message from and anyone who stands up against them will always suffer their wrath. Ron Paul might have a lot of things that he can be criticized on, but being a part of that establishment is not one of them. Unless that is of course you look at the fact that he’s been in and out of the United States Congress since the 1970′s. Even still, no one is quite as outspoken as Ron Paul is against the current political climate, the way the government works, and the media as well. This is the exact reason why the media works so hard to discredit him, because sometimes he’s actually dead-on in how they are and who they work for. It goes to show you that even a candidate with a true grass roots movement, can’t even muster up enough power to take on the corporate media conglomerate.
There are no easy answers on how to bring true debate system back into this great country of ours. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take patience. Most of all though, it’s going to take willpower. It’s going to take a lot of effort from everyone who’s tired of having candidates hand-picked by the media to stand up and say they won’t take it anymore. It’s going to take movements, protests, and the type of frustration that demands change. It’s going to take people demanding that each candidate have a voice on stage and each one be allowed to answer and rebuke statements thoroughly. Those same people who boo/cheer answers in the audience at debates need to stand up and demand longer time and demand iteration be allowed. The media moderators need to be booed and heckled when they call ‘time.’ Then maybe, just maybe there might be some sort of actual debate to where the American people can make a sound decision on whom they vote.
Can the American people do it? They can if they want to, but after all is said and done, do they really want to? Sometimes it becomes comfortable and easy to let someone else pick everything for you. Easy to let them worry about the hard decisions that need to be made. It’s perfectly fine for them to feel that way as well, but they need not come crying when they are unhappy with the results. After all, they have no one else to blame but themselves for continuing to be a sheep for the media who will happily round them up into their pen.