Armchair PoliticaSeptember 03, 2008
I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching TV and am in control of the remote, at commercials I bounce back and forth between channels trying to avoid the ads. I’ve decided the major TV stations are in cahoots. They purposely plan to have ads at the same time, so you are stuck watching one no matter which station you’re on. The morning news shows are really bed partners; I can’t catch different news, weather, or even traffic without switching away from NBC, ABC, or CNN to some obscure station, which is usually showing what the local schools are having for lunch.
Speaking of things being scripted, how much truth is there in the conventions I am watching? Listening to the various speakers at both the Democratic and now Republican conventions, I have no doubt that every single moment is scripted, choreographed, and rehearsed. While I want to believe in the promises being put on the table, I know the odds of even a small percentage of them making their way through the political channels into law are very, very slim. Both parties have had their share of negative publicity, but even that has likely been orchestrated by an unknown, unseen backroom newsroom editor who must be leaning in one party direction or another.
I remember reading an article about how vetting stories for the news has changed in recent years. Many steps that used to be done before a story got printed — “proofing” for clarity, correctness, and honesty — apparently don’t happen anymore. Where do you go for balanced viewpoints, for speeches that are real and not just made to seem real, for news that is not orchestrated, unchecked, or promoting somebody else’s preferences? I know I am a woman of the “right” demographics and that both parties are “wooing” me (as one news anchor recently said), but please don’t assume I’m ignorant and can’t read between the lines.
And speaking of women, no matter what anyone thought of Hillary Clinton, she won’t be the woman breaking that proverbial glass ceiling in 2008. Another woman has a chance at that role, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who has been nominated as the GOP VP candidate. Stories about Palin have been popping up fast and furious; again, the question of accuracy has to come into play here as well. Is she going to be the woman to break through where other women have failed to do so to date? What do you think?
Of course, action speaks louder than words, even when those actions have been scripted in advance. Check out AAUW’s Congressional Voting Record and see who voted for what. Read our own “on the spot” convention blogs by AAUW’s Lisa Maatz. And the next time you want to know what our schools are offering our children for lunch, check out your local TV channel between 6:45 and 7:00 a.m. — at least in my town they focus on this hot topic daily!