Were you able to tune in and catch any of the conventions late August through early September? I tuned in to each in part to catch speeches by Ted Kennedy, who battling serious health issues received a rousing amount of emotional support from his democratic brethren. I caught some of many speeches from both conventions but the one I tuned into mostly was Republican Vice Presidential and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's remarks. Regardless of where your politics lie, it is amazing that just a few short weeks ago Palin was a virtual nobody outside of Alaska. I mostly think of Palin for selling the state's jet for government use on Ebay. Today, Palin and the other candidates are under a media scrutiny, a process you'll hear referred to as 'vetting,' more than anything imaginable.The media has a purpose in our society. We Americans don't think much of the media, I've heard it described the media is made up of people who would cannibalize each other. That said we're the first as consumers to pick up the tabloid rags sold at supermarkets and watch the tv tabloids and latch onto any amount of gossip about public figures and celebrities regardless of the facts and more importantly relevance. Does it matter that former presidential candidate John Edwards had an affair? If he were still running for the office I'd argue it does because it goes to his character and morals. No longer a candidate, I think it matters less. Much less. John Edwards is nothing more than another citizen to me and you as we sit here in Pennsylvania. What about former President Clinton's misgivings? Given the situation and its being committed in the oval office I'll argue this was a great abusive of power and our right to know was justified.
My point is our need to know about the personal lives and intimacies of public figures and celebrities has gotten to the point of saying a lot about us and our incessant need to know every little detail about as many people as we can. Especially those who have some degree of success and wealth. The point was made a few months ago that when a pair of Philly TV news anchors got into a heap of trouble that privately many of us felt better about ourselves because we love to see the perceived elite among us fall.
A long time ago in a classroom at Temple's main campus a professor of media history, Fred Farrar told me the media is in business to make money and that means increased ratings in broadcast and higher circulations in the print industry. Give the consumer what they want and today that means a lot of scandal and improprieties. The best way to let politicians know you won't succumb to negative advertising is tell them. Call their campaign office, write an email or letter but let them know. The best way to deal with the media is even easier. Don't support the media channels that you believe are working to run stories you think go to far. The media is supposed to be a watchdog. A watchdog, not a pit-bull. So turn the channel or don't buy the periodical, newspaper or magazine you believe crosses a line.
The most important thing is getting educated. Each candidate running for office either locally, statewide or nationally has their position and plan on a range of issues, many posted online at the candidate's respective websites. Read credible, fact based sources about the candidates to get informed and stay away from the sources of information that don't offer any real content instead choosing to give the latest dirt or scandal update.
The media, politicians and their ability to go to market with a successful campaign or product only works when we drink the 'kool aid' as its referred. By a choosy media consumer, stay away from the scandal sheets and tabloid tv shows. Get educated, find out what's important to you and who's the right person to achieve the fundamental goals you think are best for our country, state and community. Then when you go to the polls on November 4 you'll know you exercised your right to vote in the most productive way. See ya around town.
David DiRenzo, Milford Township, is a sales manager for a radio station based in Philadelphia, he can be reached on his website and blog at www.onemansview.net.