Picture this. Donald Trump the man behind the hit reality show The Apprentice is running for president. Against who you ask? None other than Hillary Clinton wife of former president Bill Clinton. If this sounds like an utter fantasy you’re halfway there. What’s even more astonishing is that the media is absolutely loving it.
Both Candidates are no strangers to the limelight. Trump is well-known for his reality TV programs and his infamous Miss America contests. Hillary Clinton braved it when her husband Bill admitted to infidelity with Monica Lewinsky. At various points throughout the election, their media histories have been strewn around for all to see. During the recent debate, Hilary countered several questions about her husband’s character.
At this stage in the election, the media has formed its definitive stance on Trump and Clinton. Clinton has been lauded as the most qualified candidate ever inspiring an entire movement entitled “I’m With her.” Trump’s been labeled a wild card, a racist, sexist and just plain crazy, take your pick. The coverage leading up to and during the debate has reinforced these ideas greatly. Such as the furor surrounding the recently released Trump tapes.
Like Richard Nixon before him, Trump’s words are doubling back on him. His vulgar comments about women recorded in a 2005 access Hollywood interview have already been considered damning. So much so he spent a good part of Sunday’s debate referring to said statements as “Just words” and “ Locker room talk.” Even moderator Anderson Cooper pressed Trump about his statements asking if he ever engaged in said behaviors. At several points Trump vocally brought up Clinton’s e-mails, however, it didn’t capture the same attention his videotapes did.
Watching this debate raised so many questions for me about our media. How does gender apply or not apply in the criticisms lobbied at Secretary Clinton? Doe’s Trump’s past automatically nullify his ability to lead? What if Trump were a female candidate who behaved this way and what if Hilary were a male candidate? Would their treatments vary or would they stay the same.
This current election has redefined media to shape our perspectives. Each week another aspect of our candidates is laid under the microscope. From Hillary’s wardrobe to how she smiles on camera, to her famous husband. From Trump’s diction to his suits and most notably his hair. It seems that policies and ideals are less the determining factor than how appealing they are in interviews.
Politics and media have never been strangers. Yet in this election, the two have become inseparable. It’s next to impossible to discuss our candidates and not bring up their respective histories. Hillary will always have the stigma of the Lewinsky scandal behind her no matter how ready she appears. Trump will always find his TV antics circle back to him despite his efforts to appear presidential.
Now more than ever though it’s important to make up our own minds. Yes, the media can educate and teach us but it can manipulate as well. As an American public, we have to reach our own conclusions. Come November many of us will be making a big decision. I urge people to make it based on judgment, facts, and consideration. Instead of basing it off of soundbites, agendas or headlines.
Judge off of policy and ideas, not advertisements and tweets or updates. By the 8th of November, it’s you who’s casting the vote. Not CNN, Facebook, Twitter or FOX. Yes, Technology’s fine and all, but we truly need to start voting with what’s between our chests, and not just what’s been in between our hands.