Like death and taxes, there is another unavoidable issue we all face; that’s the undeniable influence of media on our lives. Is there any way we can avoid it? Probably not, but I’d like to offer an out-of-the box suggestion.
As the election draws closer, we are bombarded with noise on all sides. Our inboxes are filled with requests for contributions as policies are becoming clearer and candidates jockey for position. Meanwhile, there is the incessant droning of 24-hour cable news networks, as each side takes on the other.
Democrats have the additional burden of a primary battle that sees them fighting each other while each maintains they are the best choice to beat Trump. Being an incumbent has decided advantages because resources can be focused on the opposition and not those within their own party. Arrows flung during the primaries can be used to weaken an opponent during the general election campaign.
Then there is the issue of foreign intervention, which, despite this administration’s denials, played a major role in the 2016 election. This is something that will definitely become an issue in the 2020 election, yet in a recent phone callbetween Trump and Putin, Trump refused bring up the topic of the 2020 election and even joked with Putin about the Mueller investigation. Presumably, Trump is expecting the same kind of “support” for the 2020 campaign.
How is this even legal?
How can we tune out the noise and focus on the issues? Is it time to unplug, turn off the news and listen to the candidates without the spin? Can it even be done in this age of 24 hour news and social media? It’s worth a try, but highly unlikely.
The spin doctors of the media, both regular and social, will seek to influence opinions. Despite efforts to silence those on both the far right and the far left, there undoubtedly will be new sources of misinformation to be addressed. And, despite past history, there are those who will believe the lies and conspiracy theories while calling the facts “Fake News”. And there will be candidates who will continue to spread these theories, no matter how outlandish they are, and no matter what facts are uncovered to refute them.
It’s time to unplug. Turn off the television. Abandon social media. Listen to the candidates and make your choice based on their words and not some media interpretation. Go to rallies (yes, even THOSE rallies, if it helps). Speak directly to the candidates, if possible. Look at their websites to clarify their positions. Find a way to get through the smoke and mirrors of the media.
Can it be done? It’s highly unlikely. We are far too attached to our devices. We are too connected to one side or the other. Getting our news only from those sources we agree with doesn’t help. As difficult as it may be, speak to the other side to get their views.
It may help in shaping an informed decision. Anyway, it’s an idea, and one worthy of consideration.
CJ Waldron is a retired English teacher from upstate New York. An adjunct instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, he lives in Conway, SC with his wife, Donna.