Armchair Politica

September 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!

Christy Jones, CAE By:   |   September 03, 2008


  1. Lynn Hagan says:

    As a long-time member of AAUW, I am concerned about the way media is treating women candidates for executive office. From Gerry Ferraro to Hilliary Clinton, and now to Sarah Palin – no matter your polical view, one has to wonder why these women are being slaughtered in the media. It is time as women, and especially women in AAUW, to stand up in favor of women candidates and demand that they be treated fairly in the media. Never would such accusations or requirements be made of their male counterparts. Please let us take a stand on this – in a non-partisan way – to ensure fair and equitable treatment for women candidates for the executive office.

  2. Karen says:

    I do believe that the media is holding the candidates to the same standard. I think there is a lot of whining going on by many candidates …. and by women, as much as the others. I want to know the details about the candidates, their positions, their votes, and yes, whether they walk one walk, and talk another.

  3. Carol says:

    I worry about white women who are inclined to vote for Sarah Pallin because they think she will break the proverbial glass ceiling and because she is the safe alternative to Barack Obama. Pallin will set this country on its heals, not to mention the fact that she will set women’s rights and the overall movement back more than 20 years. How shortsighted can you be white women!!!

  4. christyjones christyjones says:

    I think the key here is finding out the truth about the candidates – how they voted, what actions they took in offices held, if what they say is actual fact, etc.

    It’s also the action we as individuals take (no matter what demographic we “fit” into) that is equally important – do we make a point of letting our representative (at any level) know our opinion on an area of concern? Do we vote at every opportunity?

    Visit AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist ( if you haven’t taken action lately.

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