27 April 2008

Sound bites and campaigns

Media today is so powerful. News stations have taken advantage of this in so many ways. They sensationalize everything. They make everything seem as though it is life or death. They make it seem as though there are only bad things occurring in your city.

And they utilize sound bites like there is no tomorrow.

You could give a 45 minute speech on an issue and the news (due to time constraints, but more due wanting to draw more viewers) will simply chop all of that down to two or three 7-10 second blurbs that they feel sum up all of what you said.

This happens even more during presidential campaigns. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, is one that this has happened to a lot recently. Take a look at the church website and see if you see anything racist as some anchors are "informing" their viewers. Often times news anchors will use the sound bites to try and trap a person into saying something they think will incriminate them more.

But truth cannot be stopped. Fortunately there are some news anchors who believe that a person is more than a 10 second speech taken out of context.

On Friday, PBS premiered a Bill Moyers Journal interview with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Really good. Not sensational. Not attacking. Just talk. Just explanations. Just more of the speeches so viewers could really see the context from which he spoke.

Honestly, it has been a while since I have been so impressed with a person. He is so real. So sincere. So for the people he wants to help. So inspirational on so many levels. And so continuously taken out of context.

He is allowed in the interview to address a lot of the topics he has been attacked on recently -- whether his church is racist, what he meant when he said for God to damn America (please listen to a larger section of the speech, even right after he says this, you can understand he is not completely hateful), what he meant when he said the chickens were coming home to roost after 9/11 (which he says as a quote from another person who said this after 9/11), what his relationship is with Senator Barack Obama, and more. He is so knowledgeable about the scriptures, so wise. It is truly enthralling.

Here are links to the show and the video, the transcript, or you can get the podcast.
Bill Moyers Interview with Reverend Jeremiah Wright
We as a nation need to seriously hold the media accountable and not make sound bites the norm in how news is relayed to the people.

As I rewatched this interview, it really made me wonder why the Obama camp did not utilize the videos to show that Reverend Wright's words were taken out of context. Why they did not do more to show that he really is a man working to do good. It seems like they took the easy road out and basically disowned him. In not showing the reality of what he was saying, I think it left more food for all his opponents to use against him.

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