The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Stop the inane political gossip

I understand the need to report on the presidential election. Every four years we make a decision to vote for someone who will represent our entire nation for a full term. The need to talk about these candidates, in this case these men, is obviously important. However, the 24-hour news cycle seems to have turned legitimate news coverage into a gossip magazine for political junkies.

This recent episode with President Obama and the Rolling Stone magazine — one in which he used a certain word to reference a hypothetical competitor, not Mitt Romney himself — is just one of many incidences in which these men have been ridiculed for saying something that was taken out of its original context and manipulated for entertainment value.

Coverage of our nation’s leaders is important, but trying to make a story out of one curse word brought up in general conversation is not something reporters should be proud of talking about as if it were breaking news. It can be attributed to the shift in preference toward voting for a social issue, which I think should not be the only reason you vote for someone who will speak for you in every part of public policy for the next four years.

Those who are pro-life should not vote on that subject alone, just as those who are pro-choice should not. Maybe that is why journalism seems, at times, to have gotten pervasively dumber — it is merely a product of ratings stratification and blatant sensationalism.

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It is not that reporting has gotten sloppy or small aspects unrelated to the election are now deemed important, but that these publications are at the mercy of the consumer.

People own the news because they influence those advertisers showing their products during the news and therefore manipulate the information that should be helping them to make a decision about their country’s future. Informed journalists are being forced to cater to the masses and many of the individuals out there are people who have an IQ equivalent to that of the “Jersey Shore” cast.

I know the allure — I even get swept up into it, wanting to know what happened and who said what. We are all trying to get a small glimpse into the more intimate workings of these influential human beings. It is a product of our generation, one that finds reality television an everyday norm and posts intimate details of their lives on the internet.

I realize this is mostly relegated to broadcast news and not the papers, but because of our interconnectivity, news issues are covered in every medium in order to stay relevant. This seeps into other facets of coverage and somewhere along the line news started to talk more about the governor’s wife’s horse than about his financial plan.

Yes, the facts have been covered. But just in the most shallow of ways — the tip of the iceberg. Maybe it’s apathy toward the issues that makes the media shy away, and instead focuses on the outlandish — somewhat obsessive — Donald Trump and his need to prove that Obama is not a true citizen. I’m not sure why this occurs, but it simultaneously angers and saddens me that such an attitude exists.

Because we focus on more things at once, we cannot possibly listen to five minutes of basic financial information that affects our futures. News outlets can’t always take control of the situation when they are being strong-armed by corporate entities who need ratings to stay up and money to thrive, but they should still take responsibility for those that need to be informed in order to be a useful member of society.

Why does the media exist if not to enlighten and expose? Isn’t that what we’re here to do? I say we stop worrying so much about the binders-style faux pas and focus more on what these politicians are pretending to be — and call them out on it. If the people of this country don’t start to listen more, the lies and misrepresentations will keep mounting until no one is honest anymore and not one of us can tell what is truth and what is fabrication.

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Stop the inane political gossip