Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I think that's basically right. The way I see it, the media, itself, is effectively indifferent to the marketing it presents. Think of a television being aware of its content. It's not. But it is aware of certain marketable attributes which it has direct control over-- color, tone, saturation, volume, etc. It doesn't want to deal with certain content that doesn't behave well in its frame. If it has such content, it does what it can to jettison it or modify to meet what it considers acceptable standards. As a consequence policy discussion of any depth is necessarily truncated. Sound bites and image frames are the order of the day for candidates. Policy discussion of almost any length get shown the door. Pervesely, (a winning )war is more marketable than boring old Social Security discussions from a viewership perspective. In Presidential politics, in many ways, it's the good looking charmers who'll win the election cycles, their platform can be recycled styrofoam and it won't matter--because they'll look and act the part of an appealing candidate which--from the media frame perspective-- is really much more important.

On television, the Democrats I think suffer a serious disadvantage because of their actual experience with ruling as a majority party--they know something about both policy and the subtle art of political compromise neither of which make good televsion. Republicans know neither, but have mastered the sound bite and the "One of the People" personas in the form of Bush or even Limbaugh. It's not that their ideas are smart or even practical as policy matters, but that they are easily spoken and digested by an increasingly spoon fed American public (and increasingly anti-intellectual  American public, I fear)...Thus, yes, their are politic hacks who get paid very well to manipulate the media and to sell their candidate exactly like a toothpaste or hair gel is sold. The media is only complicit to the extent that it inevitably strives for the optimum viewership; which increasingly means dumbing down the content. Hence stupid candidates win, smart candidates lose, and we invade Iraq against the will of most people in this country and the world. There's certainly some rightward bias in the system as well based on corporate ownership, etc. But--except in the case of Fox News or certain obviously tilted news programs --  I'd wager the bulk of the problem is entire media/advertising market system. It drives everything to the lowest common denominator.

by delicatemonster (delicatemons@delicatemonster.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 10:00:42 PM EST
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