Random Liberals

We are random liberals (who knew?). Collectively, we make up the greatest blog in the history of ourselves. We will blog about anything that suits us; mostly politics, with a little bit of religion and randomness to make the blog exciting.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Kerry unknown?

So I was watching ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings' Replacement (I never caught her name), and they did a segment on the latest ABC News poll. In it, Kerry leads by wide margins in several categories, including the economy, and who would make the best "commander-in-chief," and by a slim margin in the "who best to lead us on the war on terror" category. Not that any of that really matters, because there are still exactly three months left until the election. The statistic that struck me was this: only slightly more than half of the respondents think they have at least a good idea of what John Kerry stands for. At first, I found that kind of hard to believe, mostly because this is the most important election in a very long time, and everyone knows it. Given that, it would seem to me that more people would be paying attention more closely to the issues of this election, and therefore by now would have a very good idea of what both President Bush and Senator Kerry stand for.

Then something hit me. A couple of somethings, actually, both of them having at least a little bit to do with the media. One of them was an obvious observation, one that has been made many times before. The media for a very long time have been covering horse race very well in elections, but have done a very poor job reporting on the issues. The segment about the poll on ABC was a perfect example. The entire segment (which I believe ran about five minutes) was devoted to their poll, with exactly zero issues coverage. As a result, challegers to an elective office are going to have a hard time getting their views on the issues out into the general public. Without the media to report what his stances are, Senator Kerry has to rely on the Internet, which everyone does not have access to (and when they do, they don't always use it for such noble purposes as reading about a candidate), and stump speeches, which not everyone hears. He can also use commercials, but studies show that those are very increasingly ineffective in getting across to voters. Senator Kerry simply cannot rely on the traditional media (especially television) to report on him anymore, even though television is how most people get their news now.

Second has to do with sheepdom. The media report in various polls and news stories that many, if not most, people do not know very much about John Kerry. On the stump, President Bush tells us that we don't know much about Senator Kerry, and that what we do know is incredibly bad. People keep hearing that many, if not most, people do not know much about Senator Kerry, and so they believe it. People believe that they don't know much, when in fact they may know plenty. They are told again and again that Senator Kerry is a flip-flopper who doesn't know himself from one day to the next where he stands on the issues, and so they believe it. I think, however, that if the people who don't think they know much about Senator Kerry were asked specific questions about his stances (for example, "Where does Senator Kerry stand on taxes?"), a good portion of them would discover than they know more than they thought, and actually do have a good idea of where he stands.

Then again, I could be off my rocker about the last point. But I think it should be tried. In any case, it's good to be back.



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