Framing the Debate

For the past several months we have seen many stories in the press about Senator Barack Obama and how he has wide appeal among voters. He is seen as someone who can unite those on both sides of the aisle and independents as well. Or, so the press would have you believe. But is this the truth or just another example of how the media is trying to frame the debate once again.

A quick look at the past few months of polling at RasmussenReports, the most accurate independent polling firm for the past several elections, tells us that Senator Obama is viewed favorably by 50% of Americans. His chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton, is viewed favorably by 52%. We have heard a lot about this race, as if the one who is nominated here will be our next president in 2008.

But what I find interesting is the complete lack of any reporting on Rudy Giuliani and Senator McCain. While McCain is viewed favorably by 54% of Americans, Rudy Giuliani’s rating puts him over 70%. That is over 70% of Americans have a favorable view of Rudy Giuliani. And in all polls with Giuliani running against ANY democrat, he would win in every one of those races right now. My question is, why aren’t we hearing about this? Why does this news completely fly under the radar while we are continuously told that Obama is the golden child, the man who can unite us all? It would appear to me that Giuliani is the man that currently fits that bill. At least it would if the media were being honest with the American public.

The media in this country have been behind determining what we talk about for decades. They determine who is considered electable, who is not and who should be invited to the presidential debates. However, with the continued advancing of ‘other’ journalism, either alternative media or independent bloggers, maybe we can see a change in this trend. Maybe this story itself tells us that even though we are repeatedly being told one thing that Americans are holding on to their own beliefs and not falling for it this time.

I am not in any way naive enough to think that the polls in February 2007 are going to be what happens in November 2008 and I certainly am not optimistic enough to think that the media attempt to frame the debate for better ratings or a more favorable candidate will not have any effect. But I suppose I am hopeful that we are coming to a point in the near future where it will be harder and harder for the media to be the political informational monopoly that they have been for decades. And if the quality reporting that we’ve seen from them over the past several years (up to and including wall to wall Anna Nicole Smith coverage) continues, it will force those who want to be informed to other avenues for information.

The very bright prospect is that perhaps, within the next 20 years, someone not of the two major parties might be able to use these avenues to get their message out to the American people. The large media organizations currently block access to these now but by forcing individuals to go elsewhere for news perhaps the realization that they have been led by sheep for so long might come to the voters in this country.

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