Friday, August 26, 2011

Looking for a candidate? Don't trust national media for truth.

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

Some of you may have noticed already. Political “season” has begun.

Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party and others are digging their soap boxes out of the wood shed and getting ready to hit the campaign trail for Presidential Race 2012.

The list of candidates throwing their hat into the ring becomes longer each day. Many candidates have already begun campaigning.

I like to think of this initial phase of the campaign as the one in which candidates find out which election promises that will never be kept are the ones that get the most cheers in a given city.

I am also growing to believe that a majority of failed campaign promises are not necessarily the fault of any given candidate. Rather, once the newly-elected politician is sworn into office, he, or she, finds that the gargantuan bureaucratic monster that has been created over the past 235 years prevents most meaningful legislation from ever seeing the light of day.

I also believe that wealthy corporations and individuals who are powerful lobbyists for their personal agendas have been allowed to be the wrench in the machinery for far too long. Too many politicians are under the influence, in varying degrees, of these lobbyists. A majority of legislation that passes through our federal, and to a lesser extent state, legislatures, is in my opinion, formulated and filtered to make sure that powerful lobbies make money, or at least don’t lose money. What is best for citizens doesn’t even enter the equation.

So how do we go about choosing our candidates?

Some of us do listen to speeches and read quotes directly from the candidates. Many of us form our opinion based on what we read in the news. I believe that is a very dangerous way to make a personal choice for a candidate for office.

It is no secret that large news organizations are some of the most biased organizations in the world. When it comes to politics, America’s national media can make the National Enquirer look like a reputable news source.

All of them, yes all, love to do whatever they can to make a candidate, or office holder, look bad. I think back to the brew ha ha that was made when then-President Gerald Ford slipped coming down the steps of Air Force One. The national media laughed at him and implied Ford was clumsy. In fact, Ford was a very accomplished athlete, playing football for the University of Michigan. Ford was even offered a contract by the Green Bay Packers.

When our political candidates are not making physical missteps, the media searches for gaffes made in speeches. I know that I want the person who receives my vote for president to be able to think and perform well under pressure but anyone can make a mistake.

There have been studies done that show how our presidents age substantially during their term in office. I believe that it is as much due to a thoughtless and ruthless media as it is to the “normal” pressure of running our country.

I don’t claim to know the history of how or why our major news organizations became so one-sided for whatever political party they support but I am convinced that money was, and probably still is, involved.

I am in no way saying that the press should not report on the activities of our candidates and elected officials.

What I do know is that shopping for the candidate that deserves our vote in November 2012 is too important to be entrusted to our biased national media.

It is both sad and scary that our national media, in whom so much faith is entrusted to inform us of facts, is more worried about making sure that the proper political spin is put on a story so as to ensure that their personal favorite candidate or party is shown in light they wish to shine, than about truth and honesty.

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