Idol Chatter

I love movies, music, books, blogs and just about anything in our culture that helps us be inspired to consider deeper meanings and messages in life. However, I’m getting confused lately at the new line-up of TV stars, which includes the likes of Obama, Hillary, McCain, Romney, and Huckabee.
A growing amount of television time in the morning, noon, afternoon, prime-time and late night used to be news but is now a kind of “newstainment.” I think some of these “news” reporters are acting more like television critics or entertainment reporters, and it’s showing, as they spend more time reviewing the TV appeal of the candidates than on their stands on the issues.
More and more, Barack Obama and John McCain have been praised in the media and considered “presidential” not as much for their political stances (which would be a matter for our Beliefnet political blogs) but rather for how well they’ve done on television. NBC’s Tim Russert and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer have both recently made strong comments about how much John McCain seems the inevitable nominee for President because he has appeared so “Presidential,” based on his strong ability to read a teleprompter.

From the Washington Post: “[McCain’s] Iowa victory remarks were read from a teleprompter, the sign of well-crafted rhetorical ambition.” Meantime, the New York Times noted: “Still, if Mr. Obama’s rise has shown the power of effective political speech, it has also shown how much the form continues to evolve and how tantalizingly imprecise the link remains between a great political speech and a great political career.” And then, Reuters said that “Barack Obama (was) complete with a presidential-style teleprompter.”
The Presidential race is about who will lead our government. Newscasting is about who reads the teleprompter best. If we get the two confused, then perhaps we all should take a close look at ourselves, since both politicians and television executives are looking for our vote to boost their ratings, and they’re playing to what they think we want.

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