Robert Winner

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Discuss the ways the media influences or tries to influence your vote.

Lets not discuss the people who are seekiing office ... Lets talk about the campaign. Many have said this was the United States dirtest election campaign ever. How.

One of the examples I see is that the newspaper in our area shows one person looking very Presidential and the photo of the other one is a wild eyed wide open mouth reminder of a serial killer. These are shown side by side.

Tell me what you see. Do you think that papers should try to influence your vote .... other than running paid for ads? How about the other medias?

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    Oct 16 2012: I shall add one word to your title and this will show my opinion on the media's efforts to influence public's vote:

    "Discuss the (Disgusting) ways the media inluences or tries to influence your vote."

    Today's media of the free world reminds me the ex-Soviet Union regime. Because they both try//tried to re-educate the public according to their own narrow views, without respecting each individuals right to have his/her independent political views.
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    Oct 16 2012: I don't think even the candidates aim to focus people's attention on substantive differences or substance altogether. Campaigns in their every aspect are about image-making and seem little different in that regard from calculated ways to get people to buy one vehicle over another, one cosmetic over another, or one beverage over another.

    Media coverage, as far as I can perceive (though I probably read fewer newspapers and certainly see less television news than most people), seem to cover all public figures, candidate or not, as they would cover celebrities- or as celebrities. It all feels like reality television, what is real seen through a looking glass that, like Alice's, distorts in the manner of fun house mirrors.

    But the candidates distort themselves as well, very likely as their PR consultants advise them to.

    In terms of your question about whether newspapers should influence your vote, I think that is fine on the editorial page.
  • Nov 5 2012: The media exists because of advertising dollars. They have to manufacture drama and suspense to keep ratings at a level that is profitable. It is my opinion that Obama wins by a huge margin, but the media is playing it more even to keep up the suspense. If they say it will be a blowout, people won't tune in as often.
    I must note that I am not a fan of Obama or Romney. I was into both Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul before they were drummed out of contention
    • Nov 9 2012: here in the uk the media use there cunning to split the vote by publicising minor partys that dont stand a chance winning, but enough publicity to take away a particular type of voter i.e a labour voter swings to nationalist e.t.c.
      therefore conservative voters remain the same amount as nationalist policies are of no concern to conservatives or vice versa whoever pays the bill that time round.
      Dirty tricks fooling the people for their own profit, education is the key
    • Nov 14 2012: Great call! You should be a pundit!
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    Oct 26 2012: Media as a whole for long is nothing but a BILLBOARD.....

    Anyone with money & or power just can place ADVERTISEMENT on that BILLBOARD.

    Important is, to mass those advertisements are perceived as NEWS that's the bad news
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    Oct 22 2012: The problem that I see is that candidates are not saying how they are going to do what they claim they can do. They are only appealing to the concerns of people with blank promises. Added to this is the general feeling that the campaign is built on "vote for me because my opponent is a worse scoundrel than I am". I have to vote for the person that I think is going to hurt me the least, not the one that will benefit me the most, because I don't see that any of them will benefit me at all.

    People need to look behind the scenes and not just suck up to what they are being fed. There doesn't appear to be any vision in where the country is headed. People are claiming that the winner of debates is not in what they said, but in how forcefully they said it. It appears that people are not really listening to the words. They are only looking at who has the most energy. That is no way to decide.

    Are rich people not rich now? How does giving tax breaks to the rich allow them to create any more jobs than what they are capable of doing right now? And why does a person have to be in congress in order to create change for the better? I see pensions and candidate contributions as the main reason that people are running, not because they want to create a better America for the general populace. No one is saying what kind of jobs creation plans they are going to pursue. They are only promising more jobs, but in what?

    If the common family cannot afford to take vacations or take their family out to a restaurant, then the tourist industry and restaurant businesses are going to feel the pinch. The price of oil went up considerably in the last decade, a commodity that many are dependent on. Speculators added to the price increase. How does anything that the candidates propose going to change this? I haven't heard it on either side. Until this problem is fixed, creating jobs that are liable to fail will more likely be the order of the day.
  • Oct 17 2012: I haven't trusted the media since Dan Rather presented those fake documents to the nation right before the presidential election. Luckily there was some expert on typewriter font who recognized that it was a forgery. You can usually tell which way the "reporter" leans politically. Don't filter my information. Just give me the facts. That should be their only concern. Most of them are in such a hurry to get the scoop that they fail to fact check anything. There is no more investigative reporting by the major media. We often get the tainted truth. I wish there was a show that pointed out the lies that both left and right leaning media tell. Someone to hold their feet and reputations to the fire.
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    Oct 16 2012: To me it is a given. I look at the papers or the media and literally laugh. But I'm laughing at us because the media is only a reflection of us as are the candidates. And this makes me very sad. Because I'm looking at citizens who are asleep or the few who are outraged about things that are superfluous. They will say that I'm just a radical tea party guy or something similar yet they don't know what they don't know. And the more of that there is the faster this country circles the drain. More often than not they are oblivious to what 16 trillion dollars in debt means, and that those things that happened in the horror stories of history will not happen here...
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      Oct 16 2012: Pat, Over and over you have demonstrated the significance of economics and its impact. My question is why is economics and statistics not presented at grade level approperiate classes? Why is the imposing fiscial cliff not a debate issue? And many other questions ....

      Is there a political fear, on both sides, that if the population better understood both politics and economics that their cosy little nest eggs would be destroyed? If we are given the mushroom treatment of kept in the dark and fed manure we do not present a danger to their dominance of the public. I have always felt that the politicians consider the general population stupid. The problem is that most of the general population continue to be led by the nose and prove that politicians are right, the voting public is indeed unawares.
      • Oct 16 2012: One of Obamas heroes and major influences Reinhold Niebuhr was quoted saying "Rationality belongs to the cool observer, but because of the stupidity of the average man he follows not reason, but faith and this naïve faith requires necessary illusion and emotionally potent over simplifications which are provided by the “mythmaker” to keep the “ordinary” person on course.”

        The belief that the general population is stupid and must be controlled is a sentiment that is very old and still alive.

        ‎”The day labourers and tradesmen, the spinsters and dairy maids must be told what to think. The greatest part cannot know, and therefore they must believe.”-John Locke

        I have even heard people on Ted claiming the average citizen is just to stupid to know whats best for him/her. This is a terrible sentiment and the opposite of democracy. As Chomsky says, in totalitarian societies you can control behavior because you can hit them over the head with a club, as where in a democracy the power structures must exert control by censoring and shaping opinion.
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          Oct 16 2012: I like the Locke quote. and I think he would have continued that the kindest thing to do would be to educate them in logic or the scientific method?

          "I have even heard people on Ted claiming the average citizen is just to stupid to know whats best for him/her. "

          Should this read my impression has been that...?

          What are the examples or do you prefer to hide behind innuendo?
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        Oct 16 2012: I think we are looking at how reality is created, by definition reality is agreement. This is the basis of group think, culture, politics, and economics. The Holland tulip bulb bubble is an example of how crazy this can get.

        It appears to me that the two major influences on our reality are the Free Market and the Government. No question our reality is manipulated starting back to Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, LBJ. With the Federal government influencing reality more and more. There is a tacit agreement on what should be taught in school by virtue of that is the schools reality. Lincoln's story being an example, I had no idea of his transgressions.
        • Oct 17 2012: Pat this is in reply to "I like the locke quote statement you made...

          Hide behind innuendo? i was agreeing with what Robert stated which is that the government believes the general public to be stupid. I also was insinuating that not only does the government believe this is true they must make it so in order to retain power. After all how is it that people are supposed to decipher what it is our leaders even stand for. Most people have to work and don't have time or energy to find news outside of the major networks and newspapers.

          Should you read that your impression has been that. No, believe it or not Pat we probably feel similar about the dangers of a large federal government. My guess is that we separate very greatly on social issues and I'm sure theres also a massive chasm between my vision of democratically run corporations and what you believe about how a market should operate. By the way i can't stand Obama I believe him to be potentially the worst president ever on the issue of civil liberties(probably second behind george bush).
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        Oct 17 2012: That is surprising. I agree the only real solution is education. But a real education in logic and economics.
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    Nov 15 2012: Everyone always seems to agree that [insert current election] is the worst in history, but I am not convinced. The last three elections seemed identical to me, though I do not live in a swing state. Supposedly there was an article in 1828 stating that "If Thomas Jefferson wins, murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced..." so the media clearly has a history of such drivel. I'm more inclined to believe that we simply notice the negative media more, because it puts us into danger-mode when we see it. As was mentioned in another discussion, it's not the negativity that's the problem; it's the lack of truth.
  • Nov 14 2012: Well here in Israel, a party that goes against Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has a new campaign. It says:
    "Bibi will get us in trouble" and there's a mushroom cloud in the background.. Using everything that goes on with Iran and the nuclear crisis as a mean to make the small, defenceless citizen vote for them.
  • Nov 14 2012: The reality is most of the population is too dumb and uninformed to vote, I would imagine many intelligent people ALSO are flaming ideologues who's ideas are out of touch with reality.

    Real problem solving takes DECADES and serious research, we should be hiring SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS to run the country not a bunch of money grubbing business people and lawyers.

    The publics main concern is it's pocket book, but it is probably the most uninformed that economics is a religion, not a science. Since everyone believes money as an institution is something akin to GODS WILL and not a human invention we're screwed since most people don't have the intelligence to perceive the REAL PROBLEMS in the world.

    They live in a world of illusion and lies.
  • Nov 12 2012: Any time you hear the word "spending" in a political add you can assume it's coming from the right wing and they are using it to manipulate you into reacting to the idea that someone is taking your money and using it for their own agenda. The right wing however is the biggest "spending" party--they bulk up the military and use it as well as have their donors profiteer from it. When democrats are in and the money is used for our own social advancement, the right nickel and dimes our own youth and calls all investment in social safety nets "spending". It's the epitome of hypocrisy.
  • Nov 9 2012: If people had more political awareness education from schooling, then the media would have a lot less influence and be less bias. If wee all had a real in depth knowledge of what each political party actually stands for.
    A lot of voters just vote becuase they like the look or the spiel made by a candidate and falls for the propaganda reinforced by the media, if a particular newspaper or broadcaster is biased towards a particular party then their reporting will reflect this, thats why certain political partys never get any airtime or press coverage, if it doesn,t fit into their political ideal it is a no goer.
    the media is the most powerfull force in the world when it comes to spreading information and they know it and profit from it.
    The problem is that most voters know nothing about politics or very little and just go by what they here on the media.
    And for the few in the know about politics vote as per their standard of living whether they believe themselves to benifit by voting for a particular party as if they feel that they are of that particular class in society or aspiring to be in that particular class. these people are known as upstarts and this is what keeps the status quo going i.e democrates/republicans or in the uk labour /conservative.
    other political partys don,t get a look at in the media as the main partys run the media.
    So more political education is needed from a young age and should be taught without bias about all political ideologies, knowledge is the key to ending the cycle of more of the same but needs to be delivered in an untampered with way, so the education reaches the people, people will then really decide who runs thier country and not the media
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      Nov 9 2012: Thank you. Well stated. Bob.
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      Nov 9 2012: Alistair

      I agree except the best educator is the culture which is changing rapidly much to my chagrin.
  • Nov 5 2012: there is only 3 news agencies in the usa and all are feeding from the same pocket.
  • Nov 2 2012: I see a lot of folks here that are frustrated with political reporting in much of the media. Try this website http://votesmart.org/
    from the homepage:"Biographies, voting records, issue positions, ratings, speeches, campaign finance information. All politicians [US]. Instantly." and
    "At a unique research center located high in the Montana Rockies and far from the partisan influences of Washington, our staff, interns, and volunteers are working hard to strengthen the most essential component of democracy – access to information. Project Vote Smart is a non-partisan, nonprofit educational organization funded exclusively through individual contributions and philanthropic foundations."
    Another organization I like is the Center for Public Integrity at http://www.publicintegrity.org/
    from the homepage click on the link to the politics section and have a look at what you don't often see in the hometown paper or on the evening news.
  • Nov 1 2012: Campaigns have always been nasty. I don't believe the media really sways a persons vote, or at least not the majority for they already have their mind made up. Main stream news outlets sensationalize it and for those who watch either fox news or the daily show, which ever side you fall on only feeds your views back to you. The internet does change the game, where anyone can be a news reporter, such as the guy who recorded romney at the fundraiser. But let's say you disregard the news outlets and watch the debates only, what do the candidates really say that's new? Is not republicans and democrats really just two sides of the same coin? We have become comfortable with the status quo and we are all the worse for it.
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    Oct 26 2012: the presidential election is just a show , no different from a music concert . and also it cost too much .and money hadn't been used properly .it is a waste,
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      Oct 26 2012: Chen, I agree. It is hatrder for us in the US to see these things.

      How would you suggest changes in the election process.

      Thank you in advance.

      Bob.
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    Oct 26 2012: The presidential election should not be a victim of newspaper influence through their own reporting. What makes selections so difficult is the numerous media channels that report slightly different information in order to create more interest and higher ratings. Particularly with the presidential election, all media should be subject to the candidates approval. Though this restricts the freedom of reporters, it provides stability and security for voters to make educated decisions through facts instead of tales. The media feeds on the negative aspects of these campaigns of which should not be given any more attention than when it occurred. If the media focused on delivering facts to help voters make a decision, their reporting would be better served. Maybe they should spend their time recruiting voters through encouraging media channels which would create more involvement through education. Education that many reporters have a wealth of in the political arena.
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      Oct 26 2012: Well stated. The sad truth is that the media in a attempt to sell copies is now making the news and not reporting the facts.

      With all of the issues that we as a country face the electorial issue has been that Romney is richer than Obama.

      Most papers are liberal and all but one TV network is liberal.

      I you could wave a magic wand and solve this media circus .... tell us how.

      A broader question is how to restructure the elections.

      All the best. Bob.
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        Oct 26 2012: Five Parties Rob.

        Republican Blue

        Liberal Red

        Earth Green

        Grey Power

        And the fifth will be the kingmaker;

        First Nation Party.

        The first 2 represent all under the age of 60 while the 3rd takes anyone from anywhere and the fourth gives the elder generation a voice and the fifth will take all the apathetic voters votes in absentee, Of course it will be too alien for any American to contemplate having such a multiple party selection system but the rest of the world seems to run on it quite well, just a suggestion, i'm not familiar with your election system but we are bombarded with it at every news casting.
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      Oct 25 2012: Joy, This is not the purpose of the TED site. However if you respond to a TED conversation I will answer if possible to the open conversation.
  • Oct 22 2012: Yeah,i think papers influene me a lot in my daily life.on the one hand ,papers give access to more informations all over the world beyond our insights.on the other hand,we can hardly tell whether the information we get is ture or not,which means the reports of journalists are very important .sometimes ,we just need the truth not the truth in the reporters' mind.however,we know things that happens everyday through a variety of means of mass mediums such as blogs.papers is not the only way to get deeper into things,we can even change our views among people we know or not through internet tools.I think everyone has his own ideas about something
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      Oct 22 2012: I think you are correct in that we all want to believe some reports more that others because of our feelings. We also associate with like minded people and put faith in their comments.

      The point here is that few people any more take the time to do their own thinking and reasearch. We have become sheeple.

      Thank you for your response.

      All the best. Bob.
  • Oct 22 2012: The Power of the media has significally grown. The media doesn't tell us HOW to think about how to vote. But in a rather subtile way they give us the information on which we should THINK about.
    If the media talks more about one candidate, the power of this candidate grows significally.
    This is proven by a radio shos which made a April fools joke about the earth being overrun by aliens. A large group of the inhabitants of the planet earth believed this was the truth. Which led to suicides, growing sales of food and energy sources.
    This is just an example of the power of the media.

    A candidate who gets a lot of media attention (negative or possitive ) will be known and this makes him failiar to a lot of voters.
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    Oct 17 2012: Good argument. As a old analyst I can tell you that specific demographics are targeted. The ad in your state is not the ad in my state. Democrats target college students, women, and latino votes. They have union and a majority of male voters in the bag and are of little concern. Since Arizona is a right to work state the emphasis here is college age and latinos and our ads reflect that. The issues are never a concern.

    Last week the shift of women voters occured as they are more involved in the economics .. price of gas, milk, food, cost of living, ect... The democratic chair was very concerned that the women are looking at the issues and seemed surprised that they were not responding to their koolade ads.

    Most voters are one issue orientated: More social programs .... social security ...... Roe VS Wade ..... dream act ...... instant citizenship ..... border issues ... It is the what can you do for me (Its all about me)

    The problems, and the promises, are almost identical to the 2008 election. People do not only drink the koolade they are seeking it out.

    The answer is to return to a Constitutional government ... take away the nest eggs the politicians have voted for themselves .... make representation a public service with consequences for "crooked" behavior ... the incumbant runs on the record they established and the challenger presents a argument of what is wrong and a plan for improvement --- both written and published. That would take the crap and emotion out of the election. No ads, no debates ... just congressional records and a plan. Power is returned to the states to self govern ... government is reduced to the original four areas of responsibility .... congress would only need to meet a couple of times as a service not a career with term limits ..... I'm on a roll here ... and almost out of space.

    Thanks for the reply ... all the best. Bob.
    • Oct 17 2012: Bob, I agree with a lot of what you have to say mostly about only voting for very minute personal issues with no thought in mind of the country as a whole. I have to ask though, do you think it would be easier for corporations to influence a state government or a federal government? I agree the federal government does a fantastic job subverting the peoples interests, but I would have to think that you would agree massive corporations do just as good a job. Maybe you don't?
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        Oct 18 2012: Valid argument. Federal government and Corporations are alike in that they each have agendas. Yes the both subvert the people and their interests to meld with their goals and agendas.

        Corproations make decisions based on the bottom line ... what are the tax breaks of have the headquarters in NYC vs in XYZ state ... what states would allow the use of chemical LMN that is required in our product .... what are the distribution problems .... shipment of raw materials .... available work force ... union/non-union if my state addresses all of these issues favorably the corporation has no loyality to where they are and will move. Prostitution is not limited to humans.

        Would they hold the state any more hostage than they currently do the feds with lobbying for favorable laws ... and buy votes for campaign donations.

        I guess it boils down to if we believe that we need to return to a Constitutional government and limit the federal intervention in areas not defined by the Constitution and return the power to the states as originally designed.

        Thanks forr the reply..Bob
        • Oct 18 2012: You make my point Bob, why wouldn't corporations just demand certain results with threat of leaving the state? They would, corporations fly in the face and idea of democracy. There has got to be a middle ground because both are needed. I think our constitution holds some brilliant values, mostly the idea that power can never reside in the hands of the few. Corporations and government growth sit in opposition to this. This is a real problem that if not resolved may continue to snatch the power of the people into the hands of the few.

          If we are going to keep the power in the peoples hands I believe corporations must be run democratically. I think this would allow for a more community centered ideal and allow citizens to play a role in the future of our society. Thoughts?
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      Oct 17 2012: You are right on target. Last week I learned of a man with a Doctrate in Public Choice ( a mix of economic and political science) and thought that is a great idea.

      I have since thought that high school honors programs should have a class that involved Poli Si, econ, and Philosophy (a little statistics would not hurt either). The teacher would be a mentor/ guide through the discussions based on current events, historical events that are associated, and the onus would be strictly on the students. The goals would be to discover the good, bad, and corrective actions and follow through with model that would define the results of their theory.

      Perhaps that type of course would dispell the myths and indoctrination that is taking place because students would have to validate their thoughts.

      Thanks for making me think.

      All the best. Bob.
  • Oct 17 2012: I'm very frustrated by the way campaigns for elected office in the US have devolved into some sort of absurd theater - a lot of smoke and scant substance.
    I keep wondering where they find actors with the ability to switch from clear speech that projects deep conviction: "Our candidate won the admiration of tea party republicans and new-age democrats, achieved world peace, conquered AIDS, and has been nominated for sainthood!" then a quick switch to a sneering voice when they proclaim "Our opponent has a long history of injectable drug abuse, aspires to bankrupt the nation, and eats small children for breakfast!" Cheez.
    Since these tactics have overcome sane discussions on how to manage the nation I suspect that there are a lot of voters out there who can't be bothered to search for non-partisan info on important issues and listen only to what they want to hear.
    My view is that millions of Americans have put their lives on the line to give us the ability to vote and to keep that precious right. I owe them - and my nation, nothing less than taking time every day to pay attention to what's happening in my country and the world, consult multiple information sources outside of politics and try to respect and understand those who disagree with me. Everybody learns the lessons their own life teaches. I've never been a cowboy, business owner, astronaut, actor, or deep sea explorer. All those folks have good reasons for seeing the world differently than I do and I'd really *really* like to have a better grasp of their needs and priorities - and have the ability to help them better understand what my life taught me rather than having campaigns fillied with "truthiness" insead of substance.
    Our founding fathers designed a government with checks & balances to give *everyone* some influence. I resent those who want to game the system to overcome the essential fairness built into our government with propaganda, half-truths, and emotional manipulation.
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      Oct 17 2012: Once again I replied in the wrong box ... duh ... hay I'm 70 and get one break a year on general stupidity.

      I replied and can be seen above in what starts off "Good argument...."

      Forgive me ..... Bob.
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    Oct 17 2012: probably by giving the impression that they are accurate, objective and balanced (whether they actually are or not).
  • Oct 17 2012: Thanks Robert
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    Oct 16 2012: The media influences us by telling us about how a particular candidate loves his wife and some romantic thing the guy has done or has been doing, and how the candidates family love their dog, and how the preferred candidate has been improving the community by selfless service from way back (maybe a few years of serving in the army) , and how the guy loves his father.
    Then the pictures, which as Fritzie has rightly pointed out, makes them seem like celebrities; and not forgetting PR folks and their approach to persuasion that would seem dangerously close to manipulation.
    I agree with Pat Gilbert on this one; the media and the candidates are a reflection of us as a society.
  • Oct 16 2012: Robert you hit the right spot.
    would like o answer your question with question. How often you should look for TV companies are owned by political members? It is not only in the USA, it is almost everywhere. I believe you have talked many people from different countries. Ask from tem, to whom the main Cable TV , Radio Station or even News paper belongs to?
    ....... Political leaders and it does not matter weather they are democrats, republicans or any other party leaders
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      Oct 16 2012: A prime example of a major world influence is Rupert Murdock a international media giant. So there is a potential problem of owner influence.

      The answer is that we are responsible in the final analysis. All news report the event. So we know that it happened. All media then gives a slant. To accept it or not is your decision. As I have stated before I trust this person because he has earned that trust. I still do my own research and respond to the issue based on my findings. So if I know that the media is not telling me the WHOLE truth but rather their view of the truth why should I not question them and fail do my own research.

      The other part of the problem is that we are given party people who could care less about us but rather have a political agenda. In the end we have to vote for the lessor of two evils.

      So the answer is: It makes no difference what you see or hear. It only makes a difference if you drink the koolade without questioning whats in it.

      All the best. Bob.
  • Oct 16 2012: Of course the media tries to influence your vote. Look at what the media did to Ron Paul in 08. Fox news did not invite him to the republican debate a week before the New Hampshire primary, which by the way, is a state that is notorious for libertarian support. The media attempts to box in the public by only representing the views of middle of the road democrats and big government conservatives. Im no libertarian, if I was forced to subscribe to an ideology it would probably resemble libertarian socialism, or left anarchism, but its very obvious the media doesn't like anything that doesn't meat the current status quo. Do you ever hear from Noam Chomsky on any of the major news sources, of course you don't just like the media marginalizes Ron Paul. The media answers to their corporate owners and the companies who buy advertising. They have interests they wish to see realized and not much of it has anything to do with the interests of the common citizen. Why has nobody from the major networks asked Obama about NDAA or how about Romney and his take on civil liberties? The election process in America is run by the public relations committees the candidates hire to show the people how wonderful they are. Theres never any real substance, the media and the government work hand in hand, just as corporations and the government do. So yes they attempt to influence your vote and the influence is directed in keeping a two party system alive and well. We wonder why voter apathy exists, its meant to be that way, without it the powers that be would disintegrate. In short the media sets the agenda and limitation of what is considered extreme or acceptable. Just remember the media is a business with profit as its motive, they need to sell advertising to corporations and the people who report must answer to their boss just like any business.
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    Oct 16 2012: So if the general Public are disillusioned by the forth state and political punditry, are they now looking to the Fifth State more than what they use to? or is the Fifth State just the daughter of the Fourth?

    Just a couple of curious Q's if anyone is interested in giving their opinion on.

    The Q i would like to raise Rob is "Does one have to first find out whether their local newspaper is reflecting their owners personal bias or not before they even buy it"

    EDIT

    Sorry Rob, i can't find it, therefore it doesn't exist though it does with those i talked to today it just isn't there anymore online, like a lot of things that were once in the public eye for a short moment.
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      Oct 16 2012: There is no set meaning for the fifth estate: Nimmo and Combs assert that political pundits constitute a Fifth Estate. Media researcher Stephen D. Cooper argues that bloggers are the Fifth Estate. William Dutton has argued that the Fifth Estate is not simply the blogging community, nor an extension of the media, but 'networked individuals' enabled by the Internet in ways that can hold the other estates accountable. Which do you subscribe to?

      For those who are not sheeple I think that we realize that media expresses a 'opinion" that loosly uses the foundation of facts. Example: I trust Pat Gilbert when he says XYZ because he has earned that trust ... However, having said that I still look up the subject and respond on my findings. ---- Since I do not trust the media why would I not do the same? That is my responsibility.

      Ken I worked in analysis for years and can tell you that every poll is manipulated. The very way the question is constructed determines the result. If you paid a company a million dollars to conduct polls for your product they will tell you exactly what you want to hear. In the mall some times they stop only young people ... other times only old ... there is always a target population. Obama targets college kids and women and the data reflects that is successful .... the question should be why are these two "targets".

      Just as a matter of interest what is your home country? What did you see that would lead you to believe there was manipulation?