Monday, August 09, 2004

When Media Becomes the News

I was sitting down this morning with my low-carb bowl of puffed wheat and a cup of coffee around 8AM, and flipped on CNN. The image that greets me? Mark Racicot. What a way to kill the morning appetite. The good news is, Racicot tends to jumpstart my blood pump in the morning faster than a Starbucks double espresso. The bad news is, I have to actually listen to him to have the desired effect.

Listen, I'm off from work this week, and I want calming waters, not a torrent of anti-Kerry vitriol to start my day. So I switch the channel to MSNBC. Don Imus is ripping "Lady Macbeth" Heinz - Kerry. I didn't stick around long enough to find out what that was all about.

One click of the remote, and I'm on Fox. That speaks for itself. A second click of the remote, and the TV's off.

In the same space of two minutes, no less than all three of the major cable news nets are doing the pro-Bush / anti-Kerry dance. I don't understand it. There is no balance. I know that Fox is kicking ass on both CNN and MSNBC in the ratings, but for jeebus' sake, they're both carrying this "catch-up" thing to the extreme.

Poll after poll consistently finds John Kerry leading by increasingly significant margins. Thousands upon thousands of people are turning out for Kerry / Edwards rallies every single day. Contrast this with a few hundred hand-selected supporters that are given access to any Bush or Cheney appearance. So I'm thankful that, at least for now, the American people seem to be tuning out the 24X7 Kerry bashing fest.

Or, maybe...just maybe...

They've never been tuned into it.

The true news speaks for itself - the economy is on the skids again (like it ever got back on the rails for the average person), the never ending "war" in Iraq continues to fester and grow (did you know 17 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq this month?), people are trying to figure out how they're going to write that first college tuition check for their kid this month, they've seen the "take home" pay decrease a bunch this year (because healthcare premiums have skyrocketed), and it costs them twice as much to fill up the gas tank as it did just four years ago.

So, no matter how hard Mark Racicot and Imus and TeamFaux bang the drum, people actually do know what's up. You can bathe a pig in perfume, but at the end of the day, it's still a pig.

Ok, so I'm a dreamer.