Cristina Perez - Five Minute Recess

Politics or Tabloid Journalism?

September 16, 2008 2:03 PM

Politics has always been personal. That’s an undisputable fact. Public figures like politicians, athletes and actors are gaining more star power than ever in history, courtesy of socially driven technology, a very hands-on, around-the-clock media and a public with an unquenchable thirst for the intimate life details behind the headlines. What has resulted is possibly the most public and thoroughly dissected presidential election in our country’s history.

Gov. Sarah Palin

Gov. Sarah Palin

Cable news viewers have come to expect that when news breaks, they will get the essentials that they “need to know.” What often comes with that is a sordid mess of personal information that even the most experienced pundits have trouble selling as a legitimate news story.

As a news viewer and voter, at what point does “politics as usual” become tabloid journalism? When do the Sarah Palin headlines start sounding a lot like Paris Hilton ones?

Look at the recent breaking news headlines about the GOP’s vice presidential candidate. Shortly after Gov. Palin’s candidacy was announced, the media gleefully came forth with another surprising announcement: Palin’s 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, is pregnant. Reaction from running mate John McCain, the man who had thrust her into the spotlight in the first place, is that he knew about it all along and quickly pronounced this a “private family matter.” On the Democrats’ side, Sen. Barack Obama agreed: Hands off, folks, family matters are off-limits.

Behind the news desks, however, the circus had already come to town and was in full swing. Details about Bristol’s pregnancy quickly dwarfed details about more legitimate political stories concerning the candidate for VP. Don’t believe me? Google “Sarah Palin” and see which stories come up first.

Do the political implications of this personal story give it credibility? The Republican platform is, after all, traditionally known for things like family values. Gov. Palin’s own political stance is that “abstinence only” education programs should be the only type of sex education taught in the public schools. Do these factors make a scandal in Gov. Palin’s personal life fair game for pundits?

Whether the top story is personal, political or a combination of both, it’s our job as viewers and voters to apply a filter to the barrage of details with which we’re constantly being bombarded (especially as we get closer to Election Day). The media covers each detail as if it’s the most important story.

Which are the most important issues to you when deciding who to vote for? The personal ones, the political ones or a mix of the two?

See you in court!


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Comments (8)

lifetime crisis:

I agree somewhat with your view. But what many people are not seeing is the fact that Republicans have or may have always been very sloppy game players.
Yes it's true that family matters are off limits. But it was the Republicans who first wanted to make that perfectly clear with everyone. Barrack Obama was asked later and he agreed.
The point that I am getting at is that Republicans want personal business out of the spotlight, and I feel it should be; but then why is a Democrat's private life a Republican's duty to announce it over a bullhorn to the entire planet?
Case In Point: New York's Governor Eliot Spitzer recently resigned as federal authorities were monitoring his personal money transactions and linked him to hiring female escorts for his own sexual pleasure.
As political philosopher Martha Nussbaum quoted, "Spitzer's offense was an offense against his family. It was not an offense against the public. If he broke any laws, these are laws that never should have existed and that have been repudiated by sensible nations."
But did the Republican's care about his family? Did they care that Spitzer has three teenage daughters that have to deal with this family trauma and now have to hear all the insulting comments by big political figures?
Republican Minority Leader James Tedisco and Republican New York Congressman Peter King could not hesitate to instigate his resignation.
Peter King: "This is a guy who is so self-righteous, and so unforgiving. He has to step down. No one will stand with him."
James Tedisco: "For the good of his family, for the good of our state, for the good of the governorship, Eliot Spitzer must resign immediately. He is unfit to lead our state and unfit to hold public office."
Tedisco later announced that he would initiate impeachment proceedings in the State Assembly if Spitzer did not resign.
This was said in a live conference covered by every major network. But throughout the day on every news network that I clicked on, there was your Republican politican bashing the personal life of a Governor.
In my opinion, as the famous Hyman Roth said in The Godfather II "IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH BUSINESS."
Now lets mozey on down to our dear sweetheart mom Marion Cunningham aka Sarah Palin.
We all know about the unfortunate situation with her 17 year old daughter's being with-child.
Palin was slick (but professional) about it and never said when their daughter told them about it but that she's going to marry the father.
In my opinion, WRONG CHOICE! You don't marry someone because he got you pregnant and you just been named vice president candiadate. Then it's a shot-gun wedding. That marriage will last 2-3 years tops. This is the story of an average 16 year old obsessed with dating the high-school athlete and was smitten by whatever garbage pick-up lines he threw at her. Have you read his Myspace? He boasts, "I'm a f - - -in' redneck who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes. But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s- - - and just f - - -in' chillin' I guess.”
Oh he is definitely ready to get married. Sarah Palin is shot-gunning this wedding to keep her family issues respectable. DUHHHH YOU THINK WE STUPID DEMOCRATS DON'T SEE THAT? Now there's this black teen named Kevin who made his own youtube clip explaining exactly how he and Bristol met and had sex. How true this is we'll only know.
But you know, this is all PERSONAL--at least that's what the Republicans first made clear. McCain's aides right away made it bluntly clear on all the networks and tabloids "that the media would face a backlash if it pried too deeply into the Palins' lives."
Isn't that some shlit? Not only is Sarah Palin and Bristol getting support from politicians, but the media gets threatened with a backlash.
Two personal matters, two different results. Bottom line, The republicans did not care about the feelings of Spitzer's teen daughters who had to face alot of humility because of Republican abuse, but Sarah Palin's daughter gets love and support as if this is setting a good example for millions of teenage girls who can finally look at their parents and say "hey Sarah Palin's daughter is 17 and pregnant and they're supporting her".
I totally agree this matter is personal and should be left out, but so was Spitzer's.
But as long as the information of Palin's daughter leaked, let's look at something. When Sarah Palin announced her daughter's pregnancy, she said "Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family."
With that in mind, "Sarah Palin earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live. After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers."--The Washington Post 09/02/08.
So go figure, she claims that her daughter and future son-in-law will learn the difficulties in raising a child, but the rest of the teenage world who are not daughter's of millionaire politicians can kiss her ass. How in the hell will Bristol and Levi "learn the difficulties of raising a child?" The only difficulty they'll have is deciding what kind of nanny should they hire to change the diapers and cook.
And so the never ending saga continues. Republicans, somehow, can bash the crap out of Democrats and show no mercy for their teenage daughters; using the media and tabloids. But if you dare make a comment on any Republican, the media faces a backlash.
I Will end this reply with a little joke that was going around when the Spitzer issue was happening--
How do we know that Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat?
Because the prostitute he slept with was a woman!
[moral of all this: REACTION FORMATION]

Chopped Liver:

I don't get the joke. Your arguments are lame. All politicians do what they think they must to get elected and re-elected. Don't be so naive. Republicans rightly feel the media are out to get them. Just look at the massive amounts of ass-kissing media types are laying on Nobama. I'm not falling for it. And I sleep with women but have no need nor desire to pay for it.


Hey Lifetime Crisis. Very apt handle for someone who obviously can't think. You must walk into walls on a regular basis due to your inability to learn.

>>If he broke any laws, these are laws that never should have existed and that have been repudiated by sensible nations."

What an idiotic statement. He broke the law. PERIOD. Whether you agree with it or not, that's the bottom line. I suppose you think it's ok to rob a bank as long as you personally don't agree bank robbing should be a crime. What a stupid thing to say. Furthermore, Spitzer did the exact same thing he took great relish in prosecuting others for as Attny General. Didn't bother to mention that inconvenient little fact did you.

The rest of your loooong boring post is comprised of similiar nonsensical drivel.

You did say one intelligent thing...>>WE STUPID DEMOCRATS

lifetime crisis:

HEY KB: VERY REPUBLICAN COMMENT. YOU COULDN'T HAVE MADE A BETTER EXAMPLE OF YOUR SELF. Or should i say a better a-hole of yourself since i'm just a stupid democrat "who walks into walls due to my inability to learn" lmao.
I bet all the Republicans are cheering you on, and all the Democrats are laughing their f**king ass off as how i just proved my point with you right-wing morons.
A-HOLE!! I mean KB!! THe comment "If he broke any laws, these are laws that never should have existed and that have been repudiated by sensible nations" was a quote from Martha Nussbaum you pathetic ignoranus!!
Very apt handle for a drone who cant read. I copied the whole quote to avoid doing what you right wingers are experts at--taking words out of context and making it a fantasy.
My paragrah started: "As political philosopher Martha Nussbaum quoted, "Spitzer's offense was an offense against his family. It was not an offense against the public...."
But while we're on the topic of stupidity and humor, because that's what you guys are, hiring an escort is not a crime. The customer (in this case Spitzer) pays the escort for her time. The sex is discussed in person and it's consensual!
And I love the example you give comparing hiring an escort to robbing a bank. Yesterday on Larry King some D**k head like you was comparing a college basketball to the election. Where do think the comparison is even close? Does Spitzer put a gun to the escort's head? THreaten to take hostages? But you Republicans this is all you do. You dont read for crap. YOu see a part of a phrase that doesnt sound right to you, and make it some reality of yours that I'm stupid. I know a 16 year old like you, but he's a narcissist so he always thinks everyone is stupid. What's your excuse?
And the fact that he prosecuted prostitution rings, No, i actually did not mention it. I was trying to be a nice guy about it. But now i'm having fun with you simpletons. Eliot Spitzer's prosecution of prostitution rings were the ones that reject even your stupid ass on West 28th street. The ones that make NYC look trashy with girls flashing their boobs on the street.
Oh and i give it to you imbesils on this one: "The rest of your loooong boring post is comprised of similiar nonsensical drivel."
JUST LIKE THE JOKE I ENDED WITH. "REACTION FORMATION". That is definitely you! By any chance, are you in anyway related to George Will?


Chopped Liver: I don't get the joke. Your arguments are lame. All politicians do what they think they must to get elected and re-elected. Don't be so naive. Republicans rightly feel the media are out to get them. Just look at the massive amounts of ass-kissing media types are laying on Nobama. I'm not falling for it. And I sleep with women but have no need nor desire to pay for it.
Chopped Liver--if you don't get the joke, then keep your comments in your ass. When you get the joke, you can talk all the crap you want.
Everything that i say in my comments, replies,and commentaries are researched (, analysed, and unplagiarized. I copy all quotes to not make myself look like the a-hole above you KB who is probably hiding under a rock right now.


BTW that anonymous was me.
i have nothing to say right now since noone can answer my argument with support.
but i just want to see the mental rejects that are going to insinuate Obama invaded Palin's privacy.


I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."
* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers: you’re a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional
Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district
with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and
Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate
representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills
and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and
Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive and next in line behind a man in his eighth decade.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising
two beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and then left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a true Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teenage daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in
a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK…. much clearer now.

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