Why Do You Think That Is?

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CNN has a new poll out on how people might vote were Gore and Bush to face off in an election for the presidency in 2000.

They bill it as Gore and Bush being the early frontrunners in a campaign that has not yet begun.

But that is not the worst of it. They skew the results, as usual, by presenting Bush and Gore as the frontrunners in the very first question:

If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic Party's candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush -- the son of former president George Bush -- were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for?

It is no surprise to any reasonable person that Bush and Gore end up being the frontrunners in the questions that follow. It is mostly inevitable. "Bush and Gore are the frontrunners. Who would you vote for?" If you are like most Americans and have no idea who half of the candidates are who are read off the lists, then your choice is pretty clear. You'll say the person who is the supposed frontrunner.

And who says he is the frontrunner in the first place? Polls like these, of course.

And so we end up in a neverending cycle of the press and their biased polls determining outcomes. Candidate X is not invited to the debate, and he is not covered much by the press. Why? Because he is low in the polls. Why is he low in the polls? Because no one knows anything about him, and he is assumed to be a longshot. Why is a longshot? Because no one knows who he is. Why don't people know anything about him, or who he is? Because he is not covered in the press. Why is he not covered in the press? Because he is low in the polls.

Oh, sure, you get the candidates that people know and still dislike. But most of the unknowns remain unknown because they are unknown. And that is a crime. We have taken democracy and handed it to the press. They determine who we do and do not know about. They bemoan that only big money wins elections, and then they only give press to people who are well-known, and it is likely that they are well-known only because of big money.

The press needs to get a clue. They need to ignore polls, which are biased and meaningless. And even when they are not biased (which is exceedingly rare), they are still meaningless. I take it back; they are worse than meaningless. They actually affect the elections, which gives them negative value.

I am not sure what can be done about it. Maybe legislation to bring fairness doctrines back into vogue. Maybe public awareness, a watchdog group. Certainly, laws disallowing public debates to be exclusionary on any criteria other than fitness for office (which will usually involve whether or not a candidate is on the ballot, or at least on enough ballots to win) are in order.

You people in this country get ticked off because you don't have choices in the elections, and then you blindly accept the candidates the media gives to you. Make no mistake, the press are the ones giving us the candidates. They choose who is worthy to be elected. They and only them. And you accept it. Try voting for a third-party candidate next time, and if you get polled, pick someone who is NOT the frontrunner. They are "frontrunner" for a reason: because They said so. And that is no way to run a democracy.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on October 28, 1998 12:00 PM.

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