Monday, September 22, 2008

Max to the Media: Grow a pair already

This is a marketing/advertising/cultural blog, not a political one. Opinions fly fast and furious here but it’s usually constrained to bashing Rogers Wireless, hating on Microsoft, or extolling our own organizational virtues.

However, there’s something irking me about the US Presidential campaign and passivity of the media to issues that actually matter.

On the economy

The financial market muckup is making me nervous for my career prospects when I graduate. It’s hardly like I’ll be going into investment banking, but the instability poses a massive risk for the confidence of investors to undertake perceived non-revenue generating expenditures – ad and marketing campaigns! With such a dazzling presidential campaign filled with such charismatic people, we’ve all become a little myopic to this economic disaster.
Greater focus must be given to this situation and all candidates in the presidential campaign must be questioned about what specifically they would do to strengthen investor confidence, enforce regulation and standards where appropriate, and raise the productivity of the US economy. Low-skilled jobs have gone to China. They are not coming back. But that doesn’t mean that America has no basis for international economic competition.

The US spends more than it earns. Despite the $3 trillion foreign debt carried by the US government in the form of treasury bills sold to foreign banks – international investors still have confidence in the ability of the US economy to chug along and continue consuming. In a bizarre twist of economics, it’s become a self-sustaining debt cycle supported by twin fiscal and trade deficits. If China cashed in their t-bills tomorrow, they’d be as hurt as the US by the complete collapse of the economy. No one is ready for that.

So it’s a Sword of Damacles that neither McCain nor Obama have really been able to address. Palin certainly doesn’t have the answer. I haven’t seen a strong acknowledgement of the severity of this problem from either side. Most worrying however, is that no one is pressed by the media to solve it.

What about the recently announced $700 billion infusion of cash to take the risk from unsecured mortgages – essentially a loan from American taxpayers.
How will the next president ensure that this is repaid by the major banks and that accountabilities are set? Bush has actually bankrupted the country – what do the candidates feel about this?

Through the
cunning entanglement of bundles of financial securities by risky investors who were poorly monitored, investment banks are now unable to separate good loans from bad loans. Does Obama have a plan to fix this? What is McCain’s strategy for regaining investor confidence in the financial system?

On their backgrounds

Here’s another bother: why are we no longer seeing Maverick McCain? He was a rabble-rouser in Washington with a reputation for action and doing the right thing. Why has he lost this? Why isn’t he being asked to explain why he lost this?

Why is Obama not being asked to explain why he chose Joe Biden over Hilary Clinton if McCain picked Palin as an apparent come hither pander to female voters? What does he really think of John McCain and Sarah Palin?

What does he think of the fact that many Americans will likely not vote for him because he’s black, despite what they tell pollsters.

But what offends me most – no surprise here – is the kid glove treatment Sarah Palin is receiving by the media…except for Barbara Walters and Joy Behar. Watch:

…yes, exactly WHAT reform is Palin known for?? And thank God for Matt Damon…

Why hasn’t anyone in the media asked her more of these questions? Sarah Palin IS absurd. Matt’s right, she IS terrifying. If she’s going to be in a senior position of government, I want to her to answer for her hypocrisy of promoting abstinence in sex-ed while her daughter gets pregnant right under her nose.
This is not unreasonable to ask. I want her to answer for why she thinks that after having governed a town of only 8,000 people with no sizable economy to speak of, she’s now capable of crafting economic policy that will impact the world.

What’s terrifying is that whenever she is asked tough questions like this, the McCain camp puts their defensive blinders up and
attacks the media for being too unilateral. They thought Tina Fey's portrayal of Palin on SNL was sexist. Let the journalists do their job. Let's comedians do theirs. It just goes to show how little substance she has that the McCain campaign is unwilling to let her answer their questions.

News media is being far too soft on everyone in this campaign.

They’re complicit when Republicans mewl and whine when questions stray too far away from lipstick and too close to energy policy and creationism, and they’re complicit when Democrats make utopian claims for the future while offering no substantive facts about how they’ll implement it.

I'm astounded by how political figures attempt to point the finger of blame at the media for asking too many sensitive questions and how tacitly the media accepted this as a natural part of journalism! Start demanding that politicians answer difficult questions.

This really is the scariest election ever because no one seems to be taking it seriously.

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