Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brennan Blogs: Did the Media Get Obama Elected?

Below these comments you will find a video which was sent as a link to me by my father. His point was that the underprivileged masses can be easily persuaded by the "pro-Obama media." My post is not about debating whether the media was pro-Obama. From my perspective, I'd say the media was, in fact, somewhat pro-Obama (but really only to a negligible degree). What my post is really about is discussing the truth behind what groups of people make up those among the population we might call "easily influenced."

My father is right about one thing - the underprivileged, uninformed, and/or uneducated (all completely different things) are, in fact, impressionable and easily influenced. My father's argument is that the underprivileged are so highly susceptible to influence by those that would promise them the world, i.e. Barack Obama as my conservative father perceives him, because they are all witness to what they don't have and want a piece of the pie. Aside from echoing Marx's fatalism, whether my father knows it or not, his argument also derives from social conflict theory, a theory which explains the constant struggles between the "haves" and the "have-nots" fighting it out for limited resources. Under conflict theory, since the "have-nots" want what the "haves" have, the "have-nots" tend to grasp on to the most easy and convenient solutions (often introduced in the form of platitudes) to get them their fair share. Moving on, those who are generally uneducated or uninformed (you can be educated, but still be uninformed about politics) are so easily influenced because without the necessary information to reference, they'll take what small information is presented to them (as their only source) and use it to overgeneralize in forming a perspective. This is why the power of the media is so dangerous and why the internet, an extremely user-friendly medium to find readily accessible information, might be our only salvation.

The point here, one that many on the conservative side miss, is that such a phenomenon of easily influenced voters isn't just a partisan problem, it is a bipartisan problem. Even though there is a larger percentage of certain demographics often included in each party, those distinctions are usually too small to hang your hat on. There are still people of all demographics (such as race, sex, religion, class, etc.) which largely belong to both parties. Accordingly, stupidity and ignorance, as much as Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity would have you believe, are not just liberal traits. Additionally, avenues of influence are readily available to both sides as well - one can click on either of MSNBC or Fox News depending on their natural disposition.

The basic argument is always this: "Those who disagree with my side must be naive, ill-informed, unintelligent, and/or uneducated. If they were not some or all of those things, they would agree with me because my perspective is the only rational one." I do find it ironic that more often than not it's those fox news viewers out there, you know the viewers of the "unbiased" network, who make this argument. MSNBC may be pompous in its liberal bias, but I rarely see that network spewing the kind of pure hate that I have to tolerate from the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter, and O'Reilly. Again, sorry to break it to you "true Americans" and fox news die-hards, but there are just as many idiots on both sides of the political fence. It is sad, however, that the divisive elements of our society seem to more commonly originate on just one side of the aisle though (hint - it's the Karl Rove side).

In compliance with this trend, it is those same condescending conservatives that purport the video below. That said, enjoy... or don't.

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