Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Relationship between politics and the media


I don't understand American politics.

There. I've said it.

And all these years of blogging with lovely Americans. You'd have thought I'd have got a grip on it by now wouldn't you?

I don't mean that I don't understand it in the sense of Don't bother me with it. I'm not interested. Far from it: I really would like to get a better handle on it, (which is a big step from the sense of resentful frustration I used to have at the amount of media attention American elections get here).

Don't get me wrong. I understand where the two parties stand in terms of right and left, conservative and liberal and therefore, roughly, what a given policy stance would be on either side.

What I don't get is the role of the media and it was partly Pam's comment on the previous thread that got me thinking.

Having been brought up with the BBC and its charter of political neutrality and objectivity I am very conscious of the difference between news reporting and editorialising. Newspapers editorialise: maybe they shouldn't but they do. I know the political flavour of our newspapers and therefore what editorial stance to expect when I pick them up (and I laugh at those publications which call themselves newspapers but don't report news, preferring instead to offer tits, bums, soccer, celebrity gossip and horoscopes). What I could not imagine is a T.V. news outlet which offers opinion and interpretation in the guise of news reporting and which even goes so far as to set political agendas.

So, help me out here please.

Fox News: the media arm of Republicanism?

Or

The Republican Party: the political wing of Fox News?

Discuss. (In no more than 50 words. I have a limited concentration span.)

UPDATE: You may be interested in This Guardian article: "The Sarah Palin Peculiarity" which looks at how the British media is disproportionately influenced by American issues.