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Post details: On the Eve of the 2012 campaign

On the Eve of the 2012 campaign

Reading comment sections on political blogs teaches you two important lessons. First, the reality of social systems is so astonishingly complex that it is virtually impossible for a single mind to comprehend either its logical ramifications or its moral implications. Second, a human mind is dangerously susceptible to the allure of simplifying interpretations. The winner of a debate is often not the guy who has the most consistent and rational message, but the one who has the most simplistic and emotional one.

Much like in photography, the lighting and the point of view is crucial. You can easily present a shabby penny in a way that is more appealing than a diamond drowned in a poorly chosen environment. And with people it is even easier. With a little bit of imagination you can pitch any given politician as a humanitarian savior or a despicable villain.

Here in the US, the 2012 presidential primary season barely started, but the media spin machine is already going into overdrive. Sure, some of the political thinkers and amateurs will ponder the issues, some will debate the solutions, some may even weigh the strength of respective candidates, but when they come to the polls, their votes will be steamrolled over by the shapeless majority who have only a vague idea what the issues are, but who will vote for whomever the media paints with the most expensive air brush. And that is the scariest part.

Over the years, the art of insinuation has been perfected to the level way beyond the defense capabilities of an average voter. And I am not talking about the number of babies ostentatiously kissed on a stump. It is much more subtle than that - emphasizing wrong positions against wrong demographics, polishing old skeletons, selectively choosing statements without any context, displaying unflattering photos - all that can and will create a preconceived bias.

Media are the Achilles heel of fair and impartial elections. Not only do they have owners and these owners have their own political agendas, but they also consume colossal amounts of money making it virtually impossible for independent candidates to run. It is a big game and we are but little pawns in it - constantly puzzling over whom they marginalized today and whom they may adulate tomorrow.

So as the media circus shifts into higher gear, I can only sigh with William Shakespeare: Frailty - thy name is Democracy.


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