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Media cycles perpetuate "-isms"

By Jeff

Of course race, sex and age are more discussed in this election season than they have in the past; there’s a black, a woman and a 71-year old running for president. I will admit that as a straight white male, I really haven’t been exposed to prejudice in my life. I realize there are prejudiced people, and while I haven’t experienced bias, I haven’t witnessed much either. And when I have witnessed it, it has immediately been stamped out by everyone around. Racists and sexists are becoming more of a minority in this country every day. The real reason race, sex and age have been so prevalent in this campaign are because of laziness and pandering.

When Sen. Clinton’s camp talks (or plants in the press) of sexism or the “glass ceiling” in an effort to explain why she’s fallen behind Obama, it strikes me as a cheap political ploy to either energize her supporters or to try and pander to current Obama supporters. Maybe the Clinton campaign can convert some Obama supporters by appealing to their liberal guilt and questioning their sexism.

(continued) The Obama campaign can use the same tactics, and I’m guessing probably has, but I can’t really think of any examples. I find it odd when supporters of both Democratic candidates cite either sexism or racism as an excuse. So since Sen. Obama has won the nomination (yes, he has) is the Democratic party shown to be more sexist than racist?

The major reason why these issues have been so prevalent in this campaign, is due to the laziness of the press. We have three major networks trying to fill 24 hours of news; when it’s clear that there just is not enough news to fill a 24-hour news cycle (especially when the only time you’ll hear of a country outside the U.S. on the news is in regards to Iraq or when some natural disaster happens). Because of that, they have to create issues and create controversies to fill the time. So they come up with foolish, incendiary topics that get people riled up and get ratings. It’s transparent and pathetic.

Unfortunately, 24-hour cycles of discussions on the candidates’ differences on immigration, drug policy, the national debt, social security and actual issues are too complex and “boring” to pull in sufficient ratings; so the media focuses on easy “Is Obama sexist?” and “is Geraldine Ferraro racist?” issues that take 30 seconds to understand.

People in this country absolutely have irrational biases, but the fact remains that we had a woman and a black man competing against a field of old, rich, white men for a presidential nomination, and all the white guys lost. Every current poll I’ve seen predicts that Sen. Obama is going to be our next president. Racism continues to be a problem in this country, but it continues to be less of a problem every day as those with irrational biases become marginalized by the fact that more and more people in this country simply don’t care about race or sex and ignore those who make it an issue.

Tags: media coverage , talker of the week

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