Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Have a Request

Would all the American people who supported the bailout please raise your hands?

That's it, don't be shy, get those hands up. Stand up and be counted if you thought that bailing out Wall Street was something that needed to be done with your money. Let the world see where you stand.

I don't see that many hands.

Here's the thing, after watching the cable news and reading newspapers the past few days, I was convinced that most of you all supported the bailout and were pissed that the House of Representatives failed to get it passed. However, that seemed at odds with all the reports I saw before the actual vote when thousands of you actually called your representatives to tell them that if they voted for the measure, they could count on never going back to Washington on the taxpayers' dime.

See the problem I'm having?

Every thing I've seen suggests that the vast majority of people thought the bailout was bullshit. Yet, the vast majority of news reports are accusing politicians of abdicating their responsibilities. That just doesn't make sense.

Politicians are elected to office to represent the interests of their constituents. Throughout history that means they vote according to public opinion. In the case of the bailout, that meant they needed to vote against the bill or face the wrath of angry Main Streeters. And so the politicians did the same thing they've done since the beginning of time; they voted with their constituents.

So why are they catching hell?

My theory is that the media has decided that the bailout is what's needed for the country and the mainstream media could give a damn what regular folks think. Look, I'm not saying that some action isn't needed, and maybe the bailout is the best plan, but the simple fact is that nothing I've seen has given me the impression that most Americans believe in the bailout. So, where exactly is all of this media outrage coming from.

It's coming from the media.

Never forget that most media sources are publicly traded companies whose stock prices, and therefore worth, are affected by what happens on Wall Street. A bailout that stablizes Wall Street also stabilizes them. It also stabilizes the companies that purchase advertising from media companies and advertising dictates profit margins. Basically, the media has a vested interest in seeing Wall Street recover that is much more direct than the average Americans. Furthermore, it's the media's business to maintain the status quo despite their stated purpose of shaking things up. Remember, a small amount of instability can mean more profits, but a large amount of instability ultimately is bad for business.

This reaction to the bailout failure is a perfect example of the media's role as information gatekeeper and agenda setter. They've decided that the bailout's failure is a result of politics as usual, and they are running with that theme. They've completed ignored the idea that the bailout failed because American politics operated the way most people expect it to operate.

Most Americans do not want politicians who make decisions that run counter to the public's wishes. They don't like paternalistic politicians who think they know best. If the public says get us out of Iraq, we want politicians to get us out of Iraq. We don't want to here about how instability in Iraq will affect the United States' security around the world. As information has become more available to the public, more and more citizens have decided they are just as qualified as any politician to run the world.

I'm not going to argue about whether that's a good mindset or a bad one. The simple fact is that it is reality. And it's the media's job to report reality, not to scream and pout because politicians didn't pass a bailout. I am disgusted by the way the media has shifted blame in this bailout mess. The real culprits are the American people, and the media. The American people told their politicians not to touch that bailout and the media gleefully reported on it.

It's a shame that the media has decided to take this tact on the issue. Sure, it would be nice if politicians had the moral strength to make unpopular decisions, but it's pretty hypocritical for a media that regularly avoids taking controversial positions to make that complaint. When was the last time a media company made a decision that wasn't based on focus groups or polls and was instead based on an idea of what is the right thing to do?

Yeah, I can't remember either.

America has the politicians and leaders it wants. The media has the government it has helped to create. If blame needs to be assigned, we all need to look no further than ourselves.


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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another Great post, Big Man! And I have to agree with you, on 99.9%.

Throughout this whole campaign season, from pre-primaries to now, the media has shown itself to be anything BUT unbiased or fair. Moreso than any time that I can remember, the media has been a lynch-mob, in a feeding frenzy. They attacked ALL candidates, choosing to report, and indeed, magnify every fault, blunder, past failing, and short-coming, no matter how small and/or insignificant. The issues at hand, or how the candidates would address them got very little exposure. I'm almost thankful for Palin: At least her perceived lack of knowledge & experience with politics and national issues has brought the media's attention back to politics and the issues.
And you're right; It's the public's fault. The National Enquirer still sells, right?

Big Man said...

Anon

The National Enquirer actually has one of the highest circulations in the country.

So yeah, it still sells quite well.

A friend of mine questioned whether the media's actions are signs of a delibrate plot or just accidents.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

You nailed it! "Never forget that most media sources are publicly traded companies whose stock prices, and therefore worth, are affected by what happens on Wall Street. A bailout that stablizes Wall Street also stabilizes them. It also stabilizes the companies that purchase advertising...

These same propaganda organs also cheerleaders of the Iraq invasion and war and rejected global warming until late 2006.

Your friend who thinks the media's actions are a deliberate plot resonates with me. My next post will address this; right now I'm just chilling until votes on the bailout are announced. I think it will go through this time... although since elections for them are coming up, the Bush Pirates might surprise us in shocking ways.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

BTW, Big Man, your page looks very weird when opened with Firefox but its okay on Internet Explorer. Been two days now. Never seen nothing like it on anyone's blog.

Your HTML, beginning with a Facebook thingy shows up above the header and it looks like all the HTML for you page. Download Mozilla Firefox (which a lot of people use as you supposedly pick up fewer viruses) and you can see it. You might want to delete this comment after you read it since it's not pertinent to your post. ~Kit

Raving Black Lunatic