(un)Sound Bytes

November 3, 2008

During what could be the closest and most crucial presidential campaign in our nation’s history, the campaigning ads seem to have gotten dangerously out of touch with reality.

Earlier in this blog, I talked about how nearly every televised ad was a shot at each candidates “weaknesses.”

Here, I will discuss the ethics of picking out sound bytes that completely distort the original intention of a message to portray that candidate in a bad light.

Technically, a medium can use a sound byte if it doesn’t change words around or replace them with other words. This means that opponents may completely warp an original meaning by selecting certain parts of a sentence or speech and leaving out other context clues.

As an example, McCain picked a piece of one of Obama’s speeches where Obama talks about how the country must repair the economy’s long-term structure.

McCain selects the phrase “the fundamentals of the economy are strong,” claiming Obama was making the same claim that McCain had been accused for.

Here is what an article from the Huffington Post lists as Obama’s original speech.

“[We need] a plan that would extend expiring unemployment benefits. For those Americans who have lost their jobs and have been working hard to find a new one, but haven’t found one yet. That’s part of the change we need. And then after this immediate problem, we’ve got the long-term fundamentals that will really make sure this economy grows. Change means tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses that deserve it. As President I am going to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups.”

Clearly the segment was taken out of context to try to turn people away from Obama.

Also, Obama’s campaign has done the same thing with McCain’s sound bytes, so don’t think that I am trying to sway you to one side because of the close proximity of election day.

This is just one example of the ethical issue of truth and honesty in the media.

I don’t see this problem ever being fixed any time soon.

They aren’t breaking any legal rules, only being dishonest, and people are too lazy and apathetic to search for the truth if they notice something fishy. The public is spoon fed what campaigners want them to think, and they swallow willingly.

Here is the Huffington Post article


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