Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Annoyed by all the media attention?

Although the Colbert clip we watched made the election seem like it was all about the white male, CNN is pushing another agent of change this election day, single women. I am flattered that CNN choose to pinpoint single women from Pennsylvania as the group to impact the election (I am a single woman from Pennsylvania), I know that as voters, me and my fellow single Pennsylvanian females are just the next white males, Evangelicals, suburban Jews, Catholics, “lunch-bucket” Democrats, or youths, and our votes have no more swinging ability than the rest of these groups. Even though I know that my vote counts for no more than anyone else’s, except of course older, male, upper class, Hispanic Muslims a group that was left out of the barrage of media reports on the next swing voters, reading that article on why my vote mattered made me feel as special as I did when we watched the Barack Obama “Yes We Can” Video.
The logic works much the same way: although I was insulted that whoever made the video thought that black and white shots of Scarlet Johansson repeating “Yes, we can” without telling me “Yes, we can” what… would make me vote for a political candidate, I still felt drawn to Obama, his seemingly optimistic attitude, and fresh outlook on the Presidency. In the same vein, reading about why my vote mattered most or would be sought after more insulted me because I know it doesn’t matter most nor will it be sought after more, and the article was manufactured because its an interesting headline, and news agencies are running out of hot button issues to talk about. But, I felt special, more important, and more importantly more inclined to vote. This is why I do not mind the onslaught of news reports about every aspect of the election, because by keeping the election constantly in the public eye more citizens are reminded of the election, its meaning, and why they should vote. I hope this translates to more votes overall.
The same logic goes for why I was more than flattered that the article touted single women as the group candidates need to appeal to in order to win. Although John Edwards stated that his main priority as a white male is a jet ski, the article notices several issues that face single women in today’s world: they are paid less than their male peers, they are more likely to be without health coverage, they lack the dual income of their married peers, 20% of them are single moms. Although I do not have to deal with these issues currently, I will be out of college and trying to support myself while the next President is in Office and by touting single women as the important group, it perhaps makes candidates more inclined to develop programs that cater to my future needs.
The best and easiest way to nonviolently create change is to vote and I appreciate the role that the media is playing in this process even if I am tired of seeing pictures of Hilary or Barack when I go to


JennaK said...

I am not sure if the CNN article proved that single women in Pennsylvania are the sought after demographic or that the media is really running out of topics to cover. This elongated primary season is taking its toll on every sector: the candidates, the voters, and, most notably, the media. Every demographic has had their turn in the limelight because in each state, county, and city the candidates have had to cater to different ones. In California, the Hispanics were targeted; in Ohio, the working class, and in every state in the Bible-belt, church-goers are reminded by every candidate that they themselves are religiously-minded. It is remarkable that even with this longer primary season, media outlets have not used the opportunity to better inform voters. Rather, newscasters, pundits, and the like continue to focus most of their attention on the horse-race and smaller issues (Hillary’s escape from a sniper in Bosnia, anyone?) rather than on her health-care policy, for instance. Obama’s “Yes We Can” video is a perfect example of this: other than inciting excitement among voters, what exactly did that video accomplish? How do we know that he is a qualified candidate for president based on a well-directed short-film? I agree that educating voters is the most important thing; unfortunately that is not always what the media is doing. The media, though, to be fair, has to keep voters interested somehow and horse-race coverage does accomplish this…and if it leads to greater voter turnout, who am I to complain?

Nicole Pedi said...

As artificial as the media has the power to be, they actually aren't wrong in explaining the power of the single woman's importance in this election... actually in all elections. I just had a test for women in American Politics and one of the topics we examined was the "gender gap." The idea that women vote differently from men simply because they are a different gender was first realized in 1980. Because of that "Gender Gap" candidates have continued to spend time focusing on female issues and appealing to women ever since. The candidates do so because the fact that more woman come to the polls to vote and there are proportinately more females than males requires candidates to appeal to women if they want to win elections. The 2004 election definitely demonstrated this. Bush called himself a "compassionate conservative" as a symbolic way to appeal to women and Kerry brought prominent women to every stop on his campaign trail. It's not surprising that the article made you feel important, and you should.. history proves it!