I'll admit it: I've become a news junkie recently. I can't say that I really enjoy watching the news about the campaign, but there is something intriguing about the whole thing. There is also something sick about it. I heard today that the total being spent is about ONE BILLION dollars. I'm not sure if this is just on the presidential campaign, or if that includes the other races.
Because our old TV can get about a zillion stations, I can switch between local stations that show local and state candidates whining about how they've shown such great leadership that they deserve to be elected again, because they can work across the aisle. These are supposed to be their attempt at positive ads, but that is only in comparison to the previous vicious ads containing distortions that were shown to backfire. The opposition tries to stick to the issues, but someone who has a history of pointing out problems in society doesn't necessarily have the ways and means to fix those problems.
I eagerly awaited a debate between three candidates so I could learn more about the independent candidate. When his solution to the current problems was to get the people back into the store to start buying things again, my reaction was, "Hellooooooooooo. That's what got us into this pickle in the first place." My mark on the ballot won't go next to his name.
Then there are the big three networks and the cable networks. Some people accuse each of being too liberal, too conservative, or too something or other to be unbiased. Some of the journalists do make an effort to be balanced and unbiased, but others make no pretense about hiding their own views. I'm amazed at the pomposity of some of the hosts of the shows on the so-called cable networks (we don't have cable, but we get these shows.) They choose their "guests" to slant views in a certain direction and/or they jump all over the views expressed by the guests. Some of these shows at least have the honesty to name their biases. Others pretend to be unbiased journalism. There are a couple of hosts, however, who treat the guests with respect and make at least an attempt to have people with divergent views. I personally have no respect for the guests who interrupt the other guests.
News as entertainment is problematic. But we've discovered a relatively new "news" show that has an unhidden bias, but has great wit as well. Last night this show ran tape of a number of the verbal gaffs of the presidential and vice presidential candidates, including some of those who wanted to be the presidential candidate. It was interesting to see if and how each noticed when he made a major mistake in speaking and how each tried to recover.
Those were only short clips, so they are hardly a good measure of the candidates. But making mistakes, realizing it, and reformulating what one says or reformulating a policy is, in my mind, a good measure of the humanity, humility, and wisdom of a leader. Our candidates have sometimes taken an idea, especially a proposal from the opposition, and twisted it enough to make it seem wrong or even evil. I've wondered how much each of them really believes what he is saying? Does he know that he is twisting facts and words? Does his staff ever tell him that he has made an error? If he is told it is wrong, but repeats it anyway, what does that say about his character? I hope whomever wins can actually feel proud of how the campaign was run.
NOTE: He = he/she.