Politics And The Media Essay

933 words - 4 pages

The intent of this paper is to discuss the reporting of the 2008 Presidential Campaign with regard to the media, in all forms, seeming overwhelmingly to focus on racism and sexism as a central theme in the nomination of the next democratic presidential hopeful. The foundations of my response will be taken from a debate hosted by Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now! in a radio program held on January 14, 2008. The title was Race and Gender in Presidential Politics: A Debate Between Gloria Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Feminism pioneer Gloria Steinem and Princeton University Professor of Politics and African American Studies Mellissa Harris-Lacewell presented their positions well, with valid uses of examples, but unfortunately, were quite clearly from radically opposing positions. This is an example of the unfortunate side of all the reporting of this political campaign by the media; instead of being objective, they focus on the sensationalizing of issues that are not representative of our societies concerns or views.The DebateGloria Steinem wrote a piece in the New York Times in which she presented the case for Hillary Clinton as a victim to sexism and the status-quo for men in politics (2008). This editorial piece was made the initial focus by the host, Amy Goodman, and the debate never seemed to be able to move beyond a man versus woman, white versus black point, counter point. To her credit, Ms. Steinem attempted to deflect the criticism by stating that she was not endorsing any political candidate, but Ms. Harris-Lacewell was like a pit bull on a pork chop. She tended to demonstrate hostility at the concepts presented by Steinem which, to her point of view, was "asking us to ignore the ways in which gender and sex intersect" (Goodman, Harris-Lacewell & Steinem, 2008). The next issue brought up was Harris-Lacewell implying that Steinem failed to recognize the power that white women had over black men, and therefore, by extension, black women. Her point was that until this aspect of inequality was recognized, women's rights would only be applicable to white women. The debate only spiraled downhill from that point, with one of the final ponderings being whether or not if a white woman voted for Hillary Clinton she would be demonstrating racism. The point in all this, and the relevance to my reaction is that this news organization, Democracy Now! chose to abandon their position as an "independent media" (Democracy Now!, 2008) provider by embracing what has been the standard in today's political reporting, sensationalism. They did this by intentionally seeking out two people that they could be sure would be polarizing and combative. Entertaining as the interview was, it was surely not newsworthy or insightful from any non-radical viewpoint.Ism's Invade Politics and The MediaThe example I offered from the debate on Democracy Now! is not unique or even obscure. Unfortunately, the media...

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