Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Textbook case of media bias update

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

An addendum to my most recent entry on the topic.

Most mainstream media outlets make it out like covering smaller party and independent candidates requires massive amounts of time and resources. They seem to think it requires something like sending questions to 'third party' candidates via carrier pigeon and then conducting a national search someone to translate the response from Ancient Basque into English. Perhaps they don't realize that many 'third party' candidates are not kooks who live in mountain cabins and that many of them know how to use fancy new inventions like telephones and email. The modest Adirondack Daily Enterprise shows that it's possible to cover such candidates (Libertarian Eric Sundwall in this case) with neither sky nor bank account collapsing.

Another rationalization for what some call 'political bigotry' is that no one cares about smaller party and independent candidates. Something like 1/3 of Americans are registered as members of a smaller party or as independents. Why SHOULDN'T the points of view of a third of the country be reflected?

By contrast, I've seen countless articles in The Post-Star and other print media outlets (such as here and here and here and here) about the analog to digital television transition.

Now, this only affects people who get TV over the air (such as by rabbit ears). It does not affect people who subscribe to cable or satellite. Most estimates peg the number of Americans who receive TV this way at between 6-7 million, or around 2 percent of the country. This might be overestimating because it likely includes those who don't watch television at all.

So The Post-Star and other media have no problem bombarding us with articles about a digital TV transition that affects only 2 percent of the people, but when it comes to reflecting the beliefs of over 30 percent of the people, it's 'irrelevant.'

Some have described our society as being entertained to death. Perhaps it's no accident that the media caters to the 2 percent of the people who risk being deprived of shallow, mind-numbing entertainment but refuse to acknowledge the 30+ percent who are already being deprived of political representation.

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