Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Voting, and Common Sense

There's a presidential election coming up in America. Americans who plan to vote are probably looking for information on the candidates, their history, character, and positions.

We can get an eyeful at the supermarket checkout, among the chewing gum, breath mints, tabloids, and celebrity magazines.

The Us magazine due to hit newsstands and checkout lines this week promises to outshine periodicals discussing Keira Knightley's fashion sense, Jessica Alba's cleavage, or Hulk Hogan's family problems.

The Us headline sets the tone: "John McCain's Vice President SARAH PALIN: BABIES, LIES & SCANDAL" - the last three words and ampersand in big, bright yellow letters.

In a way, Us is giving equal time for both tickets. The celebrity magazine did a cover on Barack and Michelle Obama back in June. The Obama coverage took a rather different approach, though.

June, 2008 This week
"Michelle Obama: Why Barack Loves Her

She shops at Target, Loved Sex and the City, and never misses the girls' recitals. The untold romance between the down-to-earth mom and the man who calls her 'my rock.'
"
"John McCain's Vice President SARAH PALIN BABIES, LIES & SCANDAL"
  • Under attack, admits her daughter, 17, is pregnant
  • "Investigated for firing of sister's ex-husband
  • "Mom of five: New embarrassing surprises"

I don't dispute the general accuracy of either set of Us articles. But I do think that the magazine was rather careful in selecting what to write about the (wonderful) Obamas and the (scandalous) Palin.

America has freedom of speech, and Us publisher Jann Wenner is exercising that freedom. The editors of People magazine exercise that freedom, too, telling how she's managed a political career and five children: including one with Down syndrome. And now, her teenage daughter's pregnancy.

Which brings me back to the November election.

There are weird rumors about Barack Obama: that he's
  • A radical Muslim
  • The anti-Christ
  • Endorsed by the KKK
They're not true.

Now that the Republican ticket has been established, I'm pretty sure that strange stories will be circulating about John McCain and Sarah Palin. Given the way Us has led the way, I think we can count on some along the lines of 'they're seen together so often - do you suppose there's something going on?!'

I know: Barack Obama has said 'hands off' the families. That was a classy statement. But I doubt that there will be any shortage of crazy stories about all the candidates.

This should be obvious, but let's remember: some magazines, newspapers, and news media tend to publish all the news they feel like printing. It's a good idea to collect all the facts: not just the ones from one set of supporters.

In the news:

2 comments:

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Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Anonymous,

Actually, this is one of the more sensible comments left by the "Anonymous" community.

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.