< link rel="DCTERMS.replaces" href="http://fumare.us/" > < meta name="DC.identifier" content="http://fumare.blogspot.com" > <!-- --><style type="text/css">@import url(https://www.blogger.com/static/v1/v-css/navbar/3334278262-classic.css); div.b-mobile {display:none;} </style> </head> <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d12407651\x26blogName\x3dFUMARE\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://fumare.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://fumare.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d6298351012122011485', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>


Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Palin and the Power of the Media

Regardless of how the election turns out tomorrow, I wanted to make one observation about Sarah Palin and the media. Now, I think that Palin was a great pick for Vice-President and that she is very capable and intelligent. But it seems that the general message repeated constantly from every media outlet is that she is unintelligent and is an example of McCain's poor judgment. Of course, this is a poor portrayal of Palin. The possible evidence I can think of for Palin's supposed lack of intelligence is the fact that she attended several different colleges and got a degree in journalism (which doesn't indicate her level of intelligence), she speaks very colloquially (which also doesn't indicate her level of intelligence), and she hesitated in her Gibson and Couric interviews (which can be explained by nerves, hesitation to not make a gaffe, or lack of practice in bloviating).

The media bias is evident when contrasting Palin with her counterpart Biden: Biden was a poor student in law school, commits more factual errors and gaffes than Palin, and has demonstrated no particular intelligence during his long time in the Senate. (On top of this, Biden seems to be a compulsive liar.) I would bet money that Palin is more intelligent than Biden. But that is not what the media is telling us.

Now here is my observation: the media is very powerful and influential. Check the comments of any news story and you'll see that many ordinary citizens who aren't closely following the election believe that Palin is unintelligent, most likely due to the media. But what bothers me even more is that some conservatives who know that the media tends to have a liberal bias have bought into the media's message that Palin is unintelligent and a mistake in judgment for McCain. It's disheartening to see some McCain supporters starting from the premise that the Palin pick was a mistake when arguing in favor of McCain, thereby just assuming that the media's portrayal of Palin is accurate. When I sometimes find myself going along with this assumption, I realize that the media is very influential in setting the terms of the debate as I'm being influenced too.

Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard has a good article related to this phenomenon. Barnes observes that those who actually know Palin (even though they may disagree with her policies) respect her as intelligent and capable, while those who have never met Palin are the ones who are quick to dismiss Palin as unintelligent.