October 3, 2008

Who Won the Debate Based on What

And from whose point of view?

The pseudo-scientific posturing of commentators and pundits is sheer political spin, i.e., just the show of “politics.” Of particular note was the live meter measuring audience reactions during the McCain-Obama debate appearing at the bottom of CNN's screen, just the latest in political mind contraption techniques courtesy of mass marketing. This “objectivity” works to preclude any possibility of independent thought through generic mass measurements of the “American voter.” And its appeal is to provide viewers with what Baudrillard once referred to as "reality energy" which is to operate in contrast to all the staged posturing of candidates. (Something similar happens when centrist Democrats tell progressives they should abandon, for example, talk of Bush's impeachment in order to make Obama more appealing to “moderates,” as if Obama would ever take up the issue after the election...but I digress.) For articles on CNN's live meter read this and this.

But realpolischtick is nothing new. Military experience is obviously important for a Presidential candidate, just as his or her beliefs as a Christian, or views on lipstick on a pig. The question we should ask however is how the course of these “news cycles” get determined? Do Mark Halpern, Charlie Rose, and Roger Ailes simply get up one day and say enough is enough?

Those with an obsession for horserace analysis and polling de jour are not only averse to substance, ( e.g., candidates voting records, who works on their campaign staff, or what voters have to know about policy issues to base their decision on) but irresponsible for their lack of any self-reflection on how their supposedly “neutral” commentary shapes the perceptions of the electorate. This is the open secret. This is the pathology.

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