Free/Paid Media


Still, I have hopes and dreams that both paid media and free national media will decline in their power to shape elections. Raising the effective price of running a primary campaign using traditional means might force candidates to get creative about other ways of campaigning, particularly by creating and mobilizing volunteers. You can’t knock on every door in California, but your volunteers can.

A much worse problem than either free or paid media is the free media that results from paid media, ie when the Swift Boat Liars released their little smear campaign, and we had six weeks of nonsense about people needing to report baseless bullshit because it’s “out there” and “a phenomenon” or something. I can’t remember if the arguments were even that coherent. I was drinking a lot at the time. You buy a little airtime, run the commercial once in upstate New York, and the next thing you know it’s on CNN 24-7 and all they do is replay it while they discuss it.

(Now, most of that was my boyfriend John’s fault, for not coming out the same day and saying, “It’s a pack of fucking lies.” Had he done so, the story would have been a lot shorter and a lot fairer to him.)

I don’t know what could possibly be done about this other than vociferously challenging this kind of behavior, and making it a little more obvious to reporters that hello, you’re being played, pretend to care, okay? I don’t know that this is something that can be stopped.


5 thoughts on “Free/Paid Media

  1. Sorry to double post. But let me also add, what is the endpoint of the current cycle where we apparently already have what seems like a dozen folks already in the presidential race with 2 years to listen to the drible of malicious lies?
    Will this totally turn people off to politics? Will it make people so jaded that they won’t trust anything?
    We are destroying the society if we hold the current course.

  2. Hi Athenae,
    First of all I agree with you. I’d also add the Swiftboat-type lies are so effective because the picture of the lie sticks in your mind and takes weeks to erase / debunk.
    But I’d like to ask your opinion as a journalist of the following idea. (I am not a journalist nor am I the son of a journalist): The only way I can see the current trend being modified is if journalists become either criminally or civilly culpable for both intentionally modifying the truth and/or not taking a “due diligence” for the facts they report. While there is some responsibility for what is reported on private individuals, public individuals are basically fair game.
    As an example, look at the recent news flap on Fox (no longer Fox News) regarding Senator Osama (I mean Obama) studying terrorism as a child at a Muslim college (Oops, must have been a rumor from the left).
    The Osama / Obama – innocent typo or intentional for the purposes of libel?
    The rumor of Obama at a Muslim college as a youngster is so ridiculous on the face of it, I would think at least a total disregard for any sort of fact checking.
    But then, what demons would such liability let out of the box? Could Bush sue CNN if they call it a “Civil War”? What about if they referred to a failed plan?

  3. Isn’t it amazing that reporters and editors always find they just have to report nonsense like the swift boat liars hit piece, and endlessly air it to let people know what they are discussing, but they never have to do the same when a Democratic favoring TV moment surfaces? Like, Howard Dean’s “scream” heard round the world, and heard again, and again, and again, and again… But, Bush’s daily, or hourly mangling of English isn’t worthy of even being shown once on the TV pundits shows. One would think that the pundits might just once in 8 years want to discuss just what the Hell did “that” mean? And, to do so, would have to show the offending clip of video over and over, say 3 times?

  4. “(Now, most of that was my boyfriend John’s fault, for not coming out the same day and saying, “It’s a pack of fucking lies.” Had he done so, the story would have been a lot shorter and a lot fairer to him.)”
    What in the world make you think that? The basic fairness and decency of ‘big media’?
    There were plenty of stories debunking the Swift-Boaters, and they made no difference. I doubt that Kerry adding his voice to them, however loudly, would have changed the basic arch of the story one inch.

Comments are closed.