Media needs makeover


The mainstream media have an inherent obligation to tell the truth about the campaigns that will generate our nation’s next leader. They have a responsibility to investigate and report all angles of a story. They have a duty to inform and protect the American people.

And they are failing miserably.

On Jan. 6, Fox News held a Republican forum in New Hampshire in an attempt to give the state’s voters one last chance to see five of the seven Republican presidential candidates speak before the state primary. Candidates Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul, however, weren’t invited.

Paul, the maverick 10-term congressman from Texas, has been met with about as much resistance as can be expected for a libertarian-leaning Republican that values personal freedom and detests the war in Iraq. But when Fox News chose to exclude him from their nationally televised debate, it marked a new low.

The station claimed that he was not invited for the same reason that Hunter stayed home: because he was not a viable candidate.

However, in the days leading up to the forum, it was announced that Paul had raised nearly $20 million in the fourth quarter-likely more than any other Republican. A strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, where he collected 10 percent of the vote, also preceded the forum.

Gradually, a boisterous American minority became upset-and rightfully so-by the fact that the full field of candidates was not being given a fair shake during the primary season.

The media have spent the vast majority of recent ink and airtime ignoring the real issues and-in turn-the American people. They have spent a staggering number of segments discussing the undertones of Mike Huckabee’s Christmas advertisement, the fighting spirit of John McCain’s 95-year old mother, the whisper in Mitt Romney’s ear and every angry word shared between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But I highly doubt that the casual viewer of network news could tell me about Romney’s seemingly non-conservative health plan, McCain’s strange stance on immigration or Obama’s thoughts on a possible U.S.-Iranian conflict.

In the recent past, there has been a clear progression toward political apathy in this country and it doesn’t help in the slightest when our major news outlets care more about turning the electoral process into a three-ring circus than they do about the real issues.

However, our ability to make a reasonable decision about who our next leader will be begins to disappear when the news leaders-who claim to be “fair and balanced”-take it upon themselves to tell us who the viable candidates are. By attempting to choose for us, the mainstream media is silencing important voices. In reality, they should be doing the opposite.

If we want to be a serious part of American democracy, we need to develop our own opinions, apart from the unreasonable bias and superficiality that often creeps into professional news.

And even though you probably didn’t hear much about it, the people in the state of Nevada may have recently scored a victory against media bias, as Paul took second place in that state’s caucuses.

In doing so, Paul beat Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses; McCain, who took the New Hampshire primaries; and Rudy Giuliani, who was a national front-runner until late December.

It appears that, without the help of the friendly folks at Fox News, the people of Nevada were able to make their decision.

It is time to quit basing our knowledge of this world solely on what we hear from MTV news breaks and a selection of talking heads. It is time to stand up and look into these candidates’ stances on our own. It is time to take this country back from those that read a teleprompter.

Take a minute and attempt this, so the next time you hear someone mention a political issue, you may just have an opinion of your own.