Tuesday, April 26, 2011
One of my many qualms with the way our elections are covered is that in an attempt to report public opinion, news outlets inevitably contribute to shaping that opinion. A candidate X sends out a press release that he has received over a 1,000 grassroots donations, a paper reports that candidate X has a swell of grassroots support and in response, others donate to X's campaign, perceiving him as the grassroots candidate. Soon we're left with the question of the chicken and the egg. Although I can't find a working link, last week Jon Stewart pointed out very this phenomenon vis-a-vis Donald Trump's 2012 candidacy.
To me, one of the most frustrating examples the exit poll. Research suggests that "exit polls appear to cause small declines in voting in areas where the polls close late for those elections where the exit polls predict a clear winner when previously a race had been considered close." Although this situation is relatively infrequent and, of course, reporters have a right and a duty to provide as much information as possible, my stomach knots up any time anyone sends a message about voting that boils down to "don't bother." Imagine a population where students and the working class, by necessity of their vocations, vote markedly later in the day than the elderly or wealthy, and the potential of such reports to skew voting becomes clearer.
I'm not the only one who feels this way, and Elections Canada is taking it to the extreme by banning Canadians from posting election results to their facebook and twitter accounts in the upcoming May 2nd election, even to personal pages. As this article points out "Presumably Canada’s policy disallows early release of vote tallies, rather than posts about an individual’s vote, but if the organization doesn’t formally clarify the policy means a person can’t post who they voted for or are rooting for, Canadians might as well avoid all social media on May 2."
This has me thinking. Where do we draw the line between preserving the sanctity of elections and preserving our right to disseminate and receive information about them?
What do you think?
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Fun fact: According to this article in Cosmo (yes, I know it's Cosmo...at least it's not Politico, BURN!) red states look at more porn when Republicans win and blue states look at more porn when Democrats win. President Obama, of course, says there aren't red states and blue states. I guess we feel the need to substitute with porn when we don't feel like we're getting screwed.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Long time, no blog!
However, President Obama launched his 2012 campaign earlier this month. (Campaign website and Kickoff video here.) so it seemed like a good time to resume practices. I mean, how could I resist when I woke up two weeks ago to several of my facebook friends asking me "Are you in yet?" How did you know I said that last...oh...I get it. For those of you who don't have 70+ Democratic campaign operatives as facebook friends, barackobama.com has a new tool where you can post on your friends' pages asking if they are "in" for the campaign.
For the record, yes, of course, I am. Followers of my blog/facebook friends/anyone within shouting distance know that I am no Obama apologist, but pragmatist and loyal Democrat I am. I'm glad that our country has made progress on some of the issues that are the most important to me like healthcare and civil liberties, even if the leadership was debatable and the progress is too little too late. All in all I am more excited to support President Obama than I was when I worked for him three years ago. Although I won't be taking any jets out to Iowa, I would welcome any invitations to soothe my campaign sickness on the predictive dialer. And friends, if I am in to support a man whose voice I could barely stand a couple of years ago, then I think you should be too.
So I ask you, Are You In Yet?