Media qualifications nullify presidency

February 3, 2009

Many great presidents from the past wouldn’t last 10 minutes on CNN or FOX.

Forget the Monica Lewinski scandal.

President John F. Kennedy’s rumored affairs (true or not) would have given today’s media circus a carnival with all those allegations of infidelity. 

Considering the amount of attention paid to presidential candidate John McCain’s health problems, it is hard to imagine President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his wheelchair, suffering from a potentially lifethreatening disease, would garner much support from voters in our present culture.

Of course, viewers also would learn the fact that he married his distant cousin.

The modern presidential campaign is one of the most grueling contests a human being can endure. With 24/7 news coverage of the candidates’ every move, with every sentence and phrase being scrutinized by political pundits, we now know more about those who seek the oval office than ever before.

Naturally, that would be a good thing; right? Perhaps the opposite actually is true, since our leaders now have learned to edit to an extensive degree what they say, leaving us more in the dark when it comes to their genuine beliefs.

Presidential candidates McCain and Barack Obama know a single sentence can severely damage their hopes for the presidency.

Both have learned the hard way. Obama set off a firestorm on the blogs and talk radio stations when he was quoted as claiming residents of small towns “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”

The quote was dissected, taken out of context and played all across the cable networks, costing Obama the state of Pennsylvania in the primary.

McCain’s quote about spending “maybe 100 years” in Iraq had an equally negative effect. No sooner had the words left his mouth than his opponents pegged him as a warmonger. 

When something as trivial as wearing or not wearing a lapel pen can cost politicians voters, candidates work extra hard not only to avoid offending but also to avoid revealing their true beliefs.


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