Power is accumulated in only one way – it is ceded by someone or some group to someone or some group. It may be ceded violently, voluntarily or apathetically but in the end, when power is accumulated it is the result of a lack of resistance to that accumulation.
We on the political right see the media bias against our causes and often against us as individuals. There can be no clearer example than the way the media has treated Pat Smith’s (mother of slain Benghazi hero Sean Smith) appearance at the RNC and the Khizr Khan’s (son killed in Afghanistan 12 years ago) appearance at the DNC. Yesterday, Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center noted the imbalance:
This brings the total up to 85 minutes, 6 seconds for Khan and only 1 minutes 57 seconds for Pat Smith.
Why does the media have such power? I think an argument can be made that it is because almost every election has been “nationalized” to some degree and far too much emphasis has been placed on “national” offices, i.e. the executive branch. This gives the media a key role in disseminating information about the candidates and the issues. Learning about a candidate who is running for a national office is virtually impossible without the reporting of the media – learning about your congressman who lives a mile away is far less media dependent.
This has relevance because it triggers a very important question – how well can we ever really know candidates that run for national office?
I have asked this question before – back in 2012.
Just look at yourself and think for a moment. How big is your circle of friends? How many people do you count as acquaintances – as friends – as close friends? How many people do you know well enough that you would allow them to borrow your car/truck or have a key to your house? How many would you co-sign a loan for, add to your bank account as a signatory or allow to charge on your credit cards?
If you are like me, the answers to those questions would go from hundreds to damn few to none in a heartbeat – yet every two and four years, we elect people who effectively have the ability to influence our check books, our employment, the security of our homes, spend money in our names – and we are effectively co-signing loans for them and giving them access to our lives.
Sure, we can “know” somebody in a six degree of separation kind of way, we can look at the political record or turn to the media – but in this age of political marketing and PR firms that are paid millions of dollars to create a brand or image, how well can we really know our candidates? How much do we depend on the media for this information? How much can we really trust these organizations, especially when these same firms are also engaged to hide lies, missteps and peccadilloes from the public for one candidate and amplify them against another?
You are far more likely to personally know a neighbor than even you state senator or representative. Your representative is far less likely to commit some kind of shenanigans if he has to drive past your driveway and park his car two houses down for the night.
To me, this sounds like a valid argument against more nationalization/centralization of elections/government, against dependence on the media and a powerful argument for smaller government (in the sense of getting government closer to the people). If this can be accomplished, it will be a step toward reclaiming the power the American people have ceded to the media.