What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Deconstructing the Electoral Process

Over the past couple of weeks, a number of friends have expressed confusion over our nation’s complicated election system: Some states vote while others don’t. Of the states that do vote, there is some pretty blatant favoritism, as some regions boast more “delegates,” whatever those are.

Other friends are addled by the number of candidates. The ballot says John Edwards is still running, but the newspapers say he dropped out. The ballot has the official “Great Seal of the State of ‘Kahlifoania.’” The TV has George Stephanopoulos. Who to believe?

Here at FCN, I dragged my sweet tush over to the library and uncovered the following:

The foundation of our election system is the television news media.

When all the “damn voters,” as Mitt “drops-out” Romney once affectionately titled America’s electorate, have taken a short paid vacation to go vote (as long as two hours by law in California) or waited outside their polling place for equipment to show up (as long as four hours in some parts of Los Angeles), the real “experts” decide the election.

All of the major networks assemble a group of crack (addicted) analysts to make sense of the incoming data. These highly paid TV personas are the real stars of the election process, often upstaging the candidates themselves.

CBS News even ran a house promotion for its election coverage “starring Katie Couric” and boasting “Obama and Clinton in minor supporting roles.” Who is the first major female presidential candidate now, Billary?

First CoWOmander-In-Chief, my airbrushed TV anchor!

The networks claim any and all advantages to create a competitive edge. Fox News uses flashier bar graphs, CNN calls state outcomes earlier but with less accuracy than NBC, CBS shows file clips of Obama Girl who we all secretly thought was hot and ABC doesn’t preempt its regularly scheduled Boston Legal episode, Robert Iger be praised.

The media then fabricate results to create a compelling and interesting storyline. It’s kind of like Reality TV, except it’s not real. Wait, it’s exactly like Reality TV.

To keep savvy viewers from catching on, both parties have consented to the creation of an immensely complicated “nomination process” which utilizes big, unwieldy words like primary, convention, delegate, caucus and super delegate, none of which exist outside television studios.

Except super delegates are real. I think.

Whenever a commentator is stuck for a term, they just make them up. How do you think we got the word “Gerrymandering?”

The golden rule of media driven election shows is that every major development gets credited to the network that made the call. Barack Obama doesn’t win Connecticut, CNN “calls it” for him and all the other networks cut away from a John McCain speech to acknowledge that fact.

Big win for CNN. And that Obama guy didn’t do too badly either.


Anonymous said...

Ok, and what exactly does this have to do with valentine's day>? Do you even KNOW you posted this on valentine's day<>?

A City in Germany said...

I told you gerrymandering was a valid application!!!!