Integrity Legal

17th February 2011

As an American Resident Abroad, this blogger finds a certain sense of comfort in watching the lead up to the 2012 Presidential Election. For those who have been reading this blog with any kind of regularity it may have been noticed that the posting have become more centered upon issues arising in an American political context. To be clear, this blogger truly feels that the events transpiring in the United States can have a significant impact upon Asia as a whole and Southeast Asia in particular. This blogger has personally witnessed the way in which United States policy can impact the Kingdom of Thailand, for good and for ill. Clearly, what happens in Washington D.C. and on the campaign trail leading up to the 2012 election can have a tremendous effect upon the economies and polities that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Bearing that in mind, the reader should note that the administration of this blog is tracking the lead up to the 2012 election out of mere curiousity and will try to remain unbiased regarding the candidates themselves.

In politics, as in many other areas of life, “perception is reality”. This colloquialism is often interpreted to mean that a candidate’s portrayal in the media has a direct impact upon his or her chances of attaining national office. In many respects, this has been true in the past. The Michael Dukakis tank/helmet incident is a prime example of the way in which a public figure’s image can be portrayed in the media in such a way that it damages that candidate’s chances at the polls.

It would appear that the “Mainstream Media” outlet Fox News has been taking criticism for their portrayal of the recent victory of Representative Ron Paul at the CPAC straw poll. To quote directly from AAyles on the website twirlit.com:

A new video released today via YouTube shows footage from 2010 where Ron Paul was booed after winning the CPAC. So what’s the big deal, right? Well, the footage from 2010 was presented in a manner that made it seem as though it was from 2011.

Firstly, this blogger greatly encourages readers to click on the links above to watch the full video as it would appear that Fox News did indeed use footage from the previous CPAC straw poll which did show a less enthusiastic reception to the Ron Paul victory (to be clear, Ron Paul won both the CPAC straw poll in 2010 and the straw poll in 2011, but by a much wider margin in 2011). To quote further from AAyles on twirlit.com:

The video pretty much explains everything very clearly but the message we want to get across is that, despite what Fox News reported, Ron Paul was not booed when he was announced as the 2011 CPAC winner. Not at all, actually. As you can see in the video, there was nothing but loud cheers when Ron was announced as the 2011 winner.

It is interesting to note this apparent manipulation of the reporting of the Ron Paul CPAC victory as it shows how influential the “Mainstream Media” can be in the realm of political perception, but the incident also shows something else: the “Mainstream Media” may be in danger of losing their hold over key sectors of their audience. This is not to say that Fox News will discontinue their operation anytime soon. On the contrary, it would appear as though National News organizations will continue to thrive, but machinations once used to influence the audience are being exposed so quickly through the “Alternative Media” (namely, websites, blogs, the blogosphere, social media, youtube, etc) that there is a sort of grassroots “blowback” (to borrow a phrase from the intelligence community) that occurs following incidents such as the one described above. It stands to reason that anytime a media outlet is discredited it will have an adverse impact upon the way in which said outlet is viewed by the public-at-large in the future. The issue for mainstream media is one of survival, in order to maintain relevance in an increasingly “Alternative Media” saturated society “Mainstream Media” outlets must guard against being portrayed as “taking a side” in an issue lest their viewers choose to seek their news and information via other channels. The fact that Fox News was so quickly vilified for their portrayal of the CPAC straw poll outcome goes to show how tremendously effective the “alternative media” can be when it comes to disseminating information, especially information about “Mainstream Media” mistakes or misinformation.

In many ways, the upcoming Presidential Election will be interesting, not because of the outcome; but because it will showcase what appears to be a “Mainstream Media” heading into decline.

For related information please see: Patriot Act Extension.


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