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Obviously, the media plays an important role in the decision making...

Obviously, the media plays an important role in the decision making process of many voters. Information is crucial--and too often left out--when a voter decides upon a candidate worthy of his/her vote. Yet what type of information is being fed to the public via the mass media? The number of individuals who provide us with this crucial information has become increasingly smaller, as the public's reliance on the mass media--which we shall hence define as TV news outlets, and to a lesser extent, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet--continually increases.

The media are a minority. A minority which abuses the power of information. A tyrannical minority which is decidedly liberal.

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The tyranny of the liberal majority is a derivative of the phrase, "tyranny of the majority," which has been lovingly borrowed from French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville. Although not the first to coin the phrase "tyranny of the majority," he examined the propensity for such an unfortunate occurrence to take place in the United States. The results if his examination was published in his two volume work Democracy in America , which was written in the 1830s after he spent two years traveling in the fledgling United States. Basically, the tyranny of the majority is the abuse of power by the majority. Because our republican government is partly based on a strictly democratic system of government, there exists a likelihood for excessive power to be vested in the majority and for that power to be abused by the majority.

The mass media, while a minority, have an unprecedented amount of persuasive power at their disposal. Case in point would be Michael Moore's film. The mass media also have the ability to amplify a bias and completely drown out the objections of the opposition. An excellent example is found in the media tracking A-list celebrities as they hob-knob with Senator Kerry and spend time on the campaign trail for the Senator. While you may hear about Brad Pitt stumping for Kerry, you won't hear much about the celebrities who go out on a limb for Bush. And if you do, they're likely to be what might be considered a B-lister or a C-lister.

The latter example, seeming the least harmful, is the most problematic issue. Tocqueville writes, "I know no county in which, speaking generally, there is less independence of mind and true freedom of discussion in America." In a culture where the few are said to represent the views of many because of nothing more than mere celebrity, peer pressure is created on a large scale. If one's views are not congruent with the views espoused by a highly vocal minority, that person is considered deviant. Those considered deviant, especially during this particular election, are likely to be regarded as dogmatic, ignorant, backwards thinkers. Obviously, it is not conducive to the national discussion of important issues when one party regards the other as a fanatic, hick, or idiot.

I do not intend to offer any solutions, for I have none. Perhaps I over estimate the impact of the media and celebrity on voters. And as I read over this, I fear that I have made no sense. Or maybe it makes no sense because I'm tired. Maybe it's the typos. Yet I still think, nay, I believe that the issue warrants further thought, as this election may be the most important presidential election in our lifetime.

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Posted in Law Post Date 04/21/2018






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