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How Does Mainstream Media Affect Your Political Views?

Updated on October 12, 2012

I don't normally write about politics because I believe that every person has a right to their own opinion. This will be more of a rant than a hub as I have become increasingly disillusioned with this farce we call democracy. Normally I don't like to complain about things unless I have a solution to offer so I am really out of my comfort zone here. I honestly think I just need to say these things in order to process the logic of my own thoughts and feelings. So please, don't target me for verbal abuse or label me as some radical thinker. I am far from radical but I just don't understand what is happening in the political arena.

I do think that mainstream media is guilty of fueling the feud between Republicans and Democrats. Maybe I'm just old school but I do remember a day when the media reported the facts. At least the major networks did. There was always some renegade news organization that would color the temperature of politics with their own crayons but for the most part, when you turned the news on, you got news.

Several weeks ago I was laid off. With a 40+ year work history of being reliable, innovative, resourceful, and more, I am finding it difficult to find a job. It is a tough spot to be in simply because of my age. My resume reflects that I've been working for 40 years. I can't hide it. So obviously I'm not 22 years old and looking for a minimum wage job. Oh how I wish that were true. <she laughs> My point is, I'm spending a lot of time at home right now and I am a confessed news junkie. But today I was refining my resume while one of the mainstream news channels aired in the background. It suddenly hit me that I was being bombarded with news propaganda. These mainstream media outlets are fueling this dissension in Washington, like gasoline on a campfire. It's sick really.

I turned the news off, fixed a cup of coffee and went to sit on the patio with my thoughts. They came fast and furious but the one that stood out was that power and greed changes people. I honestly want to believe that most people enter the political arena because they want to make a difference. Don't they? So what happens to them? Suddenly, these grassroots people who once worked for the betterment of their communities have become celebrities with power. They are treated like celebrities by the press corp, with reporters hanging on every word. They are thrust into the life of fancy dinners with big corporate leaders, high financiers, and the like, and they forget where they come from. More importantly, they forget that they can go back there in an instant. One devastating illness or a tragic accident could put them right back in the place I sit today; wondering how I am going to pay the bills. Just maybe we are not doing our jobs as their constituents. Should we not be visiting their offices or writing letters that remind them that but for the Grace of God, they could be us?

Each of us has the right to chose our candidates, to vote for the person we think would do the best job. But I can't help but wonder how many of us have forgotten, or never realized, that the right to choose also carries some responsibility. How can we expect politicians and news organizations to behave responsibly or respectfully when we elect them and forget them, or watch them without feedback? isn't it our responsibility to hold them accountable? Isn't that the reality? If we turned the channel when we witness biased reporting, would they get it? If your senator couldn't walk in his office without wading through a crowd of "interested" citizens, would he stop and think?

I don't have the answer but for me, the reality of politics is that it is my social and moral responsibility to choose the information I allow into my brain and, to hold those I choose to vote for, accountable for my trust. I think I have failed myself and that I need to do better.

© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.

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  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Sunshine, you are my first giggle for the day. I'm glad you approved your message. Thanks for reading my little rant. Sometimes I write just to hear myself think. Figure that one out. lol

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

    The media doesn't influence me whatsoever. To me they are just a bunch of fluff who care more about their ratings than about their viewers. They throw us a bone and try to cause a riot, in which they succeed sometimes, but in the long run they are only making themselves look bad. We need to make our own choices without being brainwashed.

    My name is Sunshine and I approve this message! :)

    I wish you good luck in finding another job. In the meanwhile enjoy your time off :)

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hey MizB- I always appreciate your comments. Not sure about the worthiness of an editorial though. It really was just a venting session.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    Doris James-MizBejabbers 5 years ago

    Irc7815, your frustrations are duly noted! I think this could be published as a great editorial in anybody's newspaper.

    Chris, as a journalist of many years, I sadly have to agree with your assessments. I saw the real changes beginning when I went back for my masters degree 20 years ago. I would be ashamed to call myself a journalist in today's TV. At one time we were taught to be neutral and report both sides of the story, but today's audience has their choice of political grousing or Hollywood reporting. Our statewide newspaper isn't any better. It is ultra conservative, and for "balance" it runs two liberal columnists a couple of times a week.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks Chris. I appreciate your comments and your encouragement. I was feeling very frustrated when I wrote this. I get so tired of the bickering and then certain media personalities egg it on. Arrggghhh !

    I have, on occasion, volunteered for various campaigns and enjoyed it immensley. I felt like I was contributing, rather than being a bystander. Your point is well taken. Kudos to you for being a positive force.

  • Chris Dane profile image

    Chris Dane 5 years ago from Maryland, USA

    I appreciate you sharing your heart felt thoughts on this election. If I may offer two things:

    Yes, the media has changed. The media inherited undue political power with the decline of central party apparatus in both major political parties. With the growth of the 24 hour news cycle, this has become a nightmare of ratings over facts.

    Second, I understand anytime anyone feels disillusionment or disenfranchisement from the current system. That's a healthy, sane response. But don't give up. If it helps, I would point out that we've never been a democracy but a representative republic. There is some comfort to be found in understanding the processes and mechanics of the system. I would urge you to get involved with a political interest club, group, or PAC, or better yet, form one yourself. You'd be surprised how easy (and fun) the whole messy process can be and that, yes, you do have power. But for some reason, we don't share the way to do this with each other like we should. You can do it!