Written by Rana Tahir ’13
This week, Professor (David) Amor shared his knowledge on the role of the media in elections, what he called “like the role of water in the life of a fish.”
Because there are no face-to-face interactions between the candidates and most of the voters, we rely on media appearances or reporting to get to know more about them. This was a great topic to have, given that Monday, October 22 was the final presidential debate (on my favorite: foreign policy).
As Professor Amor put it, media are symbols of reality that we don’t get full pictures of; the political imaginary, if you will. This is a very broad definition of media, encompassing anything that is not face-to-face with candidates themselves.
Really, debates are the closest we get to them. And the candidates themselves use this to create a coherent narrative, what Professor Amor called “narrative fidelity.”
People are carried over by a story, not facts. In some ways, we are being, if not lied to, fed something that’s kind of fudged.
Looking back on the debate, it came up clearly. Governor Romney’s narrative fidelity is that he’s experienced in the private sector, and the government doesn’t create jobs. Not saying that what he said is true or untrue, but that’s the story he’s telling everyone.
President Obama’s narrative this year, according to Professor Amor, is not as easy to follow.
I would disagree on that point. President Obama has been pushing his “forward, not backward” slogan a lot. In the last debate when he compared Governor Romney’s economic plan to that of the ’20s and such, he was really pinning that down.
Of course, this is all observation in hindsight with knowledge I had just acquired through Professor Amor.
So the question is, once we know this is happening to us, how do we prepare for it?