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TV's Presidential Horse Race: Homer to Gazette, Gomer to Television
Nicholas Johnson

The Gazette, Opinion
December 16, 2003, p. 6A

A homer to the Gazette for its focus on issues. The Gazette has published a series on every candidate and on Nov. 28 printed a full-page chart comparing all candidates’ positions on eight major issues.

A gomer to much of the broadcast media for diversionary tactics. As Hollywood writer Mason Williams once put it, “Television wants to keep you stupid so you’ll watch it.”

If TV viewers had a clue what’s coming down in this country they wouldn’t be watching TV.

Since TV only makes money when you watch, there’s little incentive to encourage you to turn off your set and spend an evening at your precinct caucus Jan. 19.

Television gives us the presidential primary show, a knock-off from “Survivor” and the Superbowl, designed to divert our attention from what matters to polls, fund raising and endorsements.

Ted Koppel’s universally criticized role as moderator of the Dec. 10 New Hampshire debate was a classic example.

Dennis Kucinich spoke for all present: "I want the American people to see where media takes politics in this country. Endorsements, polls, money. When you do that you don't have to talk about what's important to the American people." The crowd cheered.

His reward? The next day ABC pulled the embedded reporter from his campaign. So much for “fair and balanced" and "you decide.”

Fortunately, Gazette readers had a page-one story (”Kucinich Advocates Radical Change,” Dec. 13) to inform us of Kucinich’s independence of corporate pressure and policies. What would universal, single-payer health care, free day-care and college tuition, and repeal of NAFTA and WTO mean to you?

A homer to the Gazette for telling us. A gomer to broadcast media for not.

Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City