On the one hand...on the other hand...

(Apologies to those who have already been subjected to my rant about this...)

We've all, I think, been getting pop-up ads and spam asking us to vote for Bush or Kerry, or trying to sell us paraphernalia for Bush OR Kerry. Then there was JibJab, which did its best to make just as much fun and no more of Bush than it did of Kerry, and vice versa. Today somebody, who clearly only wants to know the email addresses of pet owners in order to sell us stuff, wants my CATS to vote for Bush or Kerry.

Just as much as these charlatans try their damndest to exploit the genuine depth of political feeling (with no regard for content of same) to their own capitalistic ends, so too does the mainstream media degrade itself with its ritualistic displays of obsequious evenhandedness. The claims of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" might be shown to have no merit in the body of a newspaper article, but its headline still blandly suggests that, well, opinions differ, etc., both sides of the story need to be presented, no conclusion can yet be drawn, etc. Obviously, journalistic objectivity is mythical; even in displays of evenhandedness, the media have an enormous role in deciding what actually constitutes the two sides of the story. (In this case, it could, for instance, be "on the one hand, Bush says he had nothing to do with the ads; on the other hand, some are investigating whether Bush had anything to do with the ads, that would be illegal"; but it's not.)

So is the mainstream media structurally the same as JibJab and the pet vote scam spam? I.e., here's one side, here's another side, you get to pick which one to believe, but buy our paper?

Seems the media must love the notion that our country is split right down the middle on this election. That would sell more advertising, right?


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