Political Debates and Deceiving the Audience


“Never add anything that wasn’t there…never deceive the audience” are points that Kovach claims in his book, yet journalists and people everywhere seem to be ignoring these facts amidst the current political climate in the United States. Although in some cases the coverage is not completely off base of the statements made by the candidates, they distract from the real issues such as the ongoing war in Iraq, social security, healthcare reform, just to name a few. After the first real presidential debate this fall, when people should have been analyzing and focusing on the issues, even just what the candidate supports, people were too hung up on Mitt Romney killing Big Bird or the two nominees resolving the race in a Pokemon battle.  Mitt Romney made some comments during the debate regarding government support and funding of PBS, and taking that way in order to save government spending and move funds into more necessary aspect of the government.  However his comments have been taken and turned into an anti-Sesame Street campaign, for example in if you support Romney, Big Bird Dies.  Meanwhile, the people’s ability to text their thoughts into the debate did not necessarily have the desired effect when one person texted his opinion that the presidential race should be decided by a Pokemon Battle between the two candidates.  While freedom of speech is supported in this country, this may not have been the best piece of speech for the broadcast channel to display on the screen beneath the candidates.  There are memes, gifs, articles, news stories, and other forms of media flooding the internet regarding these two rather trivial bits.  While they are true, and do relate to the debate, they distract from the debate itself and in a way turn the question into whether or not you want to kill Big Bird.  Journalists should be focused on the story at hand, not the comments being made by people, for by doing so the journalists are helping to deceive the audience and the audience is in turn being distracted and neglecting to learn about more important issues at hand.  Just speaking to people about the presidential race, people are more likely to state that Mitt Romney is going to kill Big Bird as opposed to knowing anything about Mitt Romney’s 5 Point Plan or Barack Obama’s plan to create more jobs or his reaction to Romney’s plan.  While technically these tactics and actions are not falsifying information or deceiving the audience, they are distracting the audience and drawing their attention away from the core issues, which hopefully can be brought to the foreground soon in order to educate Americans about the candidates that stand before them, fighting for the presidency.

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