No, not the Super Bowl. Although, it is big, and a game. I am referring to the 2016 Presidential contest in general, and the last Republican debate on Fox News in specific. Elections are not games, nor should they be treated as such. I have noticed that all of the election coverage uses vocabulary very similar to sporting contests. Phrases like “ground game” abound, and the media coverage has focused more on personality of the star players (Trump) than policy.
Look at the last Republican primary debate on Fox News. Everything from the staging to the sound effects made the debate more like a game show than a public policy discussion. The staging is right out of American Idol with three judges facing down the performers, and the “you’re out of time” warning sounds just like the chime used to highlight a contestant’s guess on The Price is Right. The cynic in me just loves the irony: American Idol meets The Price Is Right as a metaphor for politics. Pardon me a moment while I savor that. Mmmm.
Okay. I gave up on the last debate after the first 30 minutes, because the game show flavor was just too much. (I did read the transcripts later, for the record.) An election is a serious thing. As a voter, I want information, because I have to live with the consequences of my ballot choices. The whole here-is-a-chance-to-attack-the-front-runner questioning creates a dynamic that doesn’t get me what I want. The parties/candidates get their airtime, the media get their ratings and the subsequent monies, but what about the voters? What do they get? This coverage is all for them. Isn’t it?