Every day, year in and year out, from election to election, our entire media fill our senses with election analyses and predictions. They tell us this and they tell us that, with a certainty grounded in hubris and shamelessness. The laughable sadness of the insidious enterprise leaves us with questions.
How much money does the media make by selling this show? Why does the media produce this show by having pundits pontificate instead of producing it by having journalists and researchers work together to gather, analyze, and report facts? How much money does a winning candidate make by winning and by selling the perquisites of power and influence? How much money does a candidate make by losing and by spending campaign contributions and political capital to benefit family, friends, and self? If the show lasted four months rather than four years, would voters be less informed? Why doesn’t the show include an accounting of how much money each candidate pays the media for advertising time or anything else? Why doesn’t the show warn voters they can’t believe what candidates say, because it’s legal for candidates to lie and make false promises?
Why don’t we know the answers to these questions? Until we do, will we be able to realize President Abraham Lincoln’s dream: “government of the people, by the people, for the people”?
Stephen B. Benisch, August 1, 2009