November 9, 2008

Obama, Pakistan & the Media

by Ali Golomb

The media are a public service, and they are supposed to report unbiased information through raising tough questions. The New York Times' Stephen Dubner reported that 67.8% of all daily newspapers, 98.4% of college newspapers, and 100% of alternative weekly newspapers endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency. Because the majority of the media supported Obama, they failed to ask follow up and vital questions that were left unanswered during his candidacy. Even though I myself am a Democrat and an Obama supporter, I see how the media presented Obama as a knight in shinning armor who will save the American people.

One of the ways the media failed was that they did not ask President-elect Obama to go more in depth with his foreign policy plans. Obama argued the war in Iraq has distorted U.S. foreign policy. Obama said he would withdraw troops from Iraq, and focus instead on Pakistan. However, the media failed to question Obama further. Obama said that if Pakistan does not comply, he will consider taking action. The media played down the fact that Pakistan's government does not support terrorism, and Obama is giving another sovereign nation an ultimatum — adhere to our policies or else we will take action against your nation. President George W. Bush has this same attitude with Iraq.

Even though I too would like to be assured that our nation is going to be safe, the American people do not need the media to continue to glorify politicians. Rather, the American people need the media to raise difficult questions, and demand difficult answers because we cannot trust the government totally; we need the media to serve as a watchdog. We saw what happened when we did not raise difficult questions out of fear: American involvement in an unpopular war in Iraq that the majority of the public opposes.

(Political graphic from StrangePolitics, a website that offers copyright-free political material.)

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