Archive for January 17, 2012

EYE-BALL’s Harry’s Growl – 17th Jan ’12 Update – The US Election campaign …

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Harry’s Growl – 17th Jan ’12 Update –
The US Election Campaign …

Happy New Year one and all  …
The Australian political year has started with a whimper.  All the attention is on the US’s Republication campaigns on the road to the Whitehouse elections later this year.

Watching the media spin on the candidates brings to mind a theory that has filled my head space every time an election is in full swing.

Who Investigates US Presidential Campaigns?

Having watched ‘The West Wing’ several times – with particular affection for the Series 7 Presidential campaign – US politics excites like no other. Our own campaigns are stoic affairs with little glitz or glamour and in all honesty – perhaps no glitz or glamor should be the way election campaigns should be waged.

The issue is that US campaigns are like a ‘soap’ show – viewers and persons interested want the claw scratching, they want the sex scandal, they want the stand up knock ’em down public brawls,  it has become a TV debateathon and all candidates can only lose in that arena.

No – American politics is on the nose and fast approaching skid-row in creditability terms. The issue at stake is every other Democratic Nation is following the same lead as American political campaigns.   The vetting process has to be extreme – nobody disagrees with this – but the media are so invasive that we now look for candidates who trim their pubes for when and if they get caught in a backstage moment of lustful stress relief.

How did Politicians get elected before full on media focus?  The media coverage has made it easier for candidates to sell their message – every public appearance is a photo-op – the hand shaking, baby kissing, children in schools opportunities, the hard hats, bicycle briefs, the shovel in hand, every photo-op is an opportunity for candidates to portray an image they want sold to the public.

Does anybody stop and think about this for a moment – is the media persona really the true character of the candidate?   Who outside the inner trust circle of a candidate gets to see the real person?   Politics has become about media coverage and the personalities and players who only let you see what they want you to see.

Without media coverage Politicians of a long ago time went out into the dark streets and homes of potential electors and courted support in a direct manner.   Now TV producers can make or break a candidate with a slanted image or story.   The media have so much power and in that context – there has been much debate on media ownership and its influence in political campaigns.

The many parliamentary enquiries into media ownership in this nation had still left us with condensed ownerships.  The ongoing UK enquiry into the ‘News of the World’ scandal is evidence of just how media is connected with Government and the personalities who sell the Governments message.

Murdoch press is such a major player in UK, US and Australian politics – that block of Nations can pretty much control the UN, NATO, ASEAN, and other economic summits – the dye is always cast when it comes to Murdoch and who he supports in election campaigns.

The question has to be asked – with all the enquiries on media ownership laws – who investigates ethics and associations in any electoral campaign?   Who investigates the standards and the integrity of the media in any electoral campaign?

Every one of the Republican candidates has been groomed and plucked to an inch of plastic improvements – it is more than likely that some have even taken that step – but the necessity to have ‘sex appeal’ in front of the camera is so demanded of front-runner Political candidates that TV producers and directors need to be re-schooled on integrity and moral boundaries.

All of us demand our news in smaller doses – the repeat format of 24 hour and hourly news deliverers mean we only play scant attention to headlines – listening for a new story and new imagery with new dialogue – media political coverage goes on the nos every quickly unless it had connectivity – boring candidates and oral delivery make for poor ratings and advertising appeal.   This very commercialisation of political campaigns huts us all in that we don’t get the good candidate as much as we get the candidate with eye-candy appeal.   We will never get the best candidates elected in the media format of current political campaigns.

It’s all reversed about – candidates spin their message to suit media coverage – not media coverage forced to cover all candidates without prejudicial cutaways and shock value footage to sway public opinion.   Who investigates the ethics involved in these messages?

Defamation rules are thrown out during electoral debates – that is why a law degree is mandatory for most prospective pre selection choices – yet the voter wants a slanging match – the process has become combative because that is the way media wants to sell electoral campaigns.

Advertisers are more demanding of how they spend their budgets – and media outlets have to juice it up to ensure advertisers stay loyal … in this scenario who looses out?

The whole Nation does and at every level of public office – coverage is not about candidates unless their able to sell advertising space.  Who determines the space fillers?

That then leads to the reduced coverage of genuine alternative candidates and that in turn yields elected officials who behave like movie stars with not a bit of substance on real policy knowledge.   We as a civilisation have created this – its part of the reason for the current backside of the slippery slide value of life on this planet.

Take for example – the matter of Craig Thompson as a Member of the Australian Parliament – is he a moral person?  Who of us would know?

That is not to say that I’m more moral – it’s just that I would never run for public office because in my mindset I am not worthy – but is Mr Thompson worthy?

His alleged crimes are serious and he held the balance of power within the Gillard Government most of last year in the face of calls for his resignation.   Should he have gone?

Well the word is that he will go this year – but what is the integrity and moral reward  behind that timing?  By all means be accountable for your actions and do what you have to do – but hold on a minute – lets wait on that until we can get an extra vote to make sure we retain Government!!!   Where is the moral lesson in that approach – and we all wonder why politicians rank lower and lower as each year unfolds.

Who will raise standards – as opposed to the lowering of them?   Without and oversite sheriff – all we can expect is for it to continue its current path … and we all have some idea where that might be.

This is what politics has become – rainbow morality pitched in line with differed agendas within agendas that suit personal agendas.

The media flip-flop their coverage to which has more advertising appeal.  This time last year Australia’s TV screens were 24/7 about the QLD and Victorian flood carnage.   Yes the local loss of life was tragic – yet South American and Philippine floods caused well over 1000 deaths at the same time and the media coverage was a 30 sec story on every other news broadcast … and then it was back to the live footage of the heartbreak and devastation caused by the local floods.

The Republican campaign is in full swing – and of little interest to most Australians.  Yet those who are engrossed get little coverage other than summary updates for Aussie based US correspondents meeting a pressured deadline to meet early morning Australian news broadcasts.   How can real opinions be formed on the US Republican campaigns based on these scripted and edited 30 sec stories?

The question should be ask of all Governments – why have media ownerships been allowed to evolve the way they have?   Why is there no investigation into media coverage of electoral campaigns?   How can political campaigns be made to have more direct interface with non mainstream or party faithful rally’s?   It’s a big ask – Politicians can do a letter drop because taxpayers fund it – if they were forced to spend that expense in other ways that allowed the crowd heckle and questions from the floor – in that environment the cabdidate can never control the media outcome if he/she gets it wrong.

What does the letter drop educate us about a candidates ability to think quickly and act independently?   How can we get the odd-looking and quirky style candidates to a media podium so we can really hear their message?

We all deserve the electoral process we currently have because we all collectively don’t give a shit.   Well – that attitudal framework has given us the Government we all deserve – there are candidates out there who won’t run because they don’t get a chance under the rules media outlets adopt to appease owners and advertisers.

There needs to be a full investigation into electoral campaigns to level the playing field for independent candidates and candidates with less sex appeal than the ‘Ken and Barbie’ prototypes that Party politics want and promote.


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Harry’s Growl …


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