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RESOLVED: The influence of the media is detrimental to the American political process.

(PRO)
0 points
(CON)
WINNER!
4 points
gabbsmcswaggingabbsmcswaggin (PRO)
“Whoever controls the media, controls the culture.”
- Allen Ginsberg

It is because i agree with Allen Ginsberg, I affirm the resolution, “RESOLVED: The influence of the media is detrimental to the American political process.”
The value i will be upholding in this debate is Democracy. As our political process is, with elections, a democratic political process, valuing democracy is logical.The resolution implies this value as the question is whether the ‘influence of the media’ is good or bad for our political process, which is a Democracy.
The criterion to achieve democracy is upholding the will of the people.

I offer the following definitions.

Influence an effect of one person or thing on another
Source: Collins English Dictionary

Media transmissions that are distributed widely to the public
Source: Vocabulary.com

Democracy a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting
merriam-webster

So if in a Democracy the people choose leaders, upholding the will of the people must be the criterion to achieve democracy. If I show that the influence of the media undermines the will of the people you can affirm because this would be detrimental to our political process, which is a democracy.
My thesis is that the media undermines the will of the people.

Contention 1. The media has the power to select the candidates we vote for.
Zuzana Pištěková, “The Public and the Media in the U.S. Presidential Campaigns,” Diploma Thesis, MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO, 2008 Another effect that the media have is the power to decide who will be the candidate in elections. It is necessary to eliminate the candidates who fail to perform in front of a camera or look unimpressive because the television brings the image of the candidates directly into the homes of voters. An overweight William Howard Taft or an ugly Abraham Lincoln would not have much chance in these days. Favorable media reporting over a period of time can create presidential candidates out of governors, senators and other political figures. The media create name recognition which is the essential quality of a presidential candidate and the first step to successful election. On the contrary when the media fail to report activities of an aspiring candidate, they can completely disclaim him. Once the media have agreed on one candidate as a winner in the party, he receives the majority of the media coverage and all other opponents are sentenced to sink into obscurity. Financial contributions to opponents begin to dry up because no one wants to patronize the losing candidate.77 In the 2000 presidential primary cycle only candidates who were perceived positively by the public received extensive media coverage. For the Democrats, the only candidate to receive media attention beside Vice President Al Gore was former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, who had been a star basketball player before he turned to politics. The other candidates were felt to be unimpressive and that is why unworthy of attention.78

So the media undermines the will of the people by eliminating potential candidates not because of performance or issues but based on superficial media concerns meaning the media precludes the people from knowing who might be the best candidate and so you can affirm.
Contention 2. Media front-loading is causing a shortening of the presidential primary process leaving less time for voters to evaluate candidates.
Zuzana Pištěková, “The Public and the Media in the U.S. Presidential Campaigns,” Diploma Thesis, MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO, 2008 One of the examples how media influence the procedure of primaries is front-loading. It means that the candidates concentrate on building their image and good reputation in states that hold early, important primaries. They also realized that winning in the beginning of the primary process such as in Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary elections, mean that the media label the winner as the front runner and pay the winner much more attention. This brings also increase of the candidate’s media exposure and more money from his donors. Also the states and state political parties have realized that the early primaries bring more advantages and started to have the primaries sooner to secure those advantages. The first state which holds the primaries is New Hampshire. Some states decided to move the dates in the following week and also the other moved their primaries calendar. California, which had traditionally held primaries in June as the last state in the primaries circle, has moved the event to March. There is one big advantage among others- the candidates and parties have more time to raise money for their campaign. On the other hand the critics of the frontloading of primaries criticizes that the shorter primary period does not allow the voters to evaluate the character and important topics of the candidate.80

So the media undermines the will of the people by helping to shorten campaigns meaning the people have less time to evaluate candidates and determine which ones have the character and beliefs to properly represent them and so you can affirm.

Contention 2. The money and media complex forces politicians to conform to its interests.
John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney, “The Money & Media Election Complex,” The Nation, November 29, 2010
The emerging money-and-media election complex is perfectly designed to make participants conform or suffer the consequences. It should come as no surprise that some of the most troubling results of 2010 involved the defeats of independent players of both parties who had battled hardest for clean politics and ethical government—Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, the leading progressive Democratic reformer, was defeated, as was Representative Mike Castle, a moderate Republican beaten in Delaware's GOP Senate primary by Tea Party heroine Christine O'Donnell. Nor should it get better in 2012. "It's a bigger prize in 2012, and that's changing the White House," says Robert Duncan, chair of American Crossroads. "We've planted the flag for permanence, and we believe we will play a major role for 2012."

This means that the views of the people as a whole are not represented. The views that are represented are the views of the media who control the message and who gets covered. So media influence is detrimental to the American political process because it has managed to arrest control of that process and undermine the will of the people and so you can affirm.

Contention 3. The media focuses more on the game of campaigning than the issues.
Zuzana Pištěková, “The Public and the Media in the U.S. Presidential Campaigns,” Diploma Thesis, MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO, 2008 But what are the media interested in? The answer indicates Thomas E. Patterson in his studies of the presidential election in the year 1976. In the table 4.1 below is visible that the media- network evening news, a newspaper and two news magazines- devoted a majority of their coverage to the games, which means winning and loosing, strategy, logistics, appearances, and campaign hoopla. Issues, policies, traits, records and others received only around one third of the campaign coverage.82 This table implies that the campaign is presented to the voters not as policy debate but rather as a struggle for power between the candidates by means of meeting, travels, press conferences, speeches and sometimes debates. They also report what the candidate’s strategy is, how much money they are spending, what the response of the audience was and so on. Much less attention is devoted to the issues, policy or endorsements by other political leaders.84 And this situation lasts probably until these times. Most of media and people are more interested in stories and political games than in candidate’s presentation of important issues.

So the media undermines the will of the people by focusing coverage not on issues essential to citizens but to the sport of campaigning, who is winning and who is losing. This means that people are less informed and so the winner of the election is less likely to represent the will of the people and so you can affirm.

Contention 4. Media front-loading is causing a shortening of the presidential primary process leaving less time for voters to evaluate candidates.
Zuzana Pištěková, “The Public and the Media in the U.S. Presidential Campaigns,” Diploma Thesis, MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO, 2008 One of the examples how media influence the procedure of primaries is front-loading. It means that the candidates concentrate on building their image and good reputation in states that hold early, important primaries. They also realized that winning in the beginning of the primary process such as in Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary elections, mean that the media label the winner as the front runner and pay the winner much more attention. This brings also increase of the candidate’s media exposure and more money from his donors. Also the states and state political parties have realized that the early primaries bring more advantages and started to have the primaries sooner to secure those advantages. The first state which holds the primaries is New Hampshire. Some states decided to move the dates in the following week and also the other moved their primaries calendar. California, which had traditionally held primaries in June as the last state in the primaries circle, has moved the event to March. There is one big advantage among others- the candidates and parties have more time to raise money for their campaign. On the other hand the critics of the frontloading of primaries criticizes that the shorter primary period does not allow the voters to evaluate the character and important topics of the candidate.80

So the media undermines the will of the people by helping to shorten campaigns meaning the people have less time to evaluate candidates and determine which ones have the character and beliefs to properly represent them and so you can affirm.
Return To Top | Posted:
2014-01-03 14:17:42
| Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (CON)
"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823.

I am happy to take the CON side of this debate because although I concede that - as with anything, including democracy itself, there are positives and negatives- when it comes to the media, as did Thomas Jefferson, I believe that the benefits outweigh the detriments.
Unlike Allen Ginsberg, a noted communist supporter, Thomas Jefferson was a big believer in democracy and despite famously being no fan of the press, also famously declared that he would rather have no government at all than to have a government without newspapers. This is because he recognised the importance the media plays in the democratic process.

DEFINITIONS:
I am happy to confirm the definitions my opponent has put forth.

As this is clearly a Lincoln-Douglas debate, I am also happy to affirm the proposed value of Democracy.
I contest the criterion of “to uphold the will of the people” as being the only criterion though. American Democracy is more than that. I submit that these additional criterion be considered when scoring this debate:

Liberty – Individuals are allowed the greatest amount of freedom, consistent with order.
Equality – All people being equal have equal rights and opportunities
Fraternity – Individuals will not misuse their freedom but will co-operate in creating a wholesome sovereignty.

I will show that on balance across all of these criterion, the media is more beneficial to the American democratic process than it is detrimental.

REBUTTAL:
My opponent makes 4 contentions that the media fails “to uphold the will of the people” when it comes to the American election process. 3 of the 4 of these have been supported from the same document, a thesis written by a non-American for whom English is clearly a second language, making her points at times a little unclear.

Contention 1: The media has the power to select the candidates we vote for.
Zuzana Pištěková makes the point that candidates are “screened” with physical appearance and public speaking performance playing a large part in the selection process. This is linked with the fact that they will be seen by millions through TV appearances.

Firstly, there is overwhelming evidence in America that looks, personality and charisma are EXACTLY what the people want. Democratic countries like Germany and New Zealand prove that if the people care more about performance than these other issues then the powers-that-be will “select” a different type of person. My response to this contention is that the Media is actually upholding the will of the people by forcing the selection of a person with the qualities that the majority of Americans care about.

Secondly, it is not the media who select a candidate, it is the Party. The Party selects the candidate the same way they always have – looks, personality and charisma factor are very strong factors in the same way they always have been. If there was a difference now, it is that the modern media is capable of portraying a more truthful representation of those characteristics than they were in Abe Lincoln’s day.

Contention 2: Media front loading shortens the time for voter evaluation
Zuzanna’s own thesis states that…

“…the presidential election appears to be a long distance race that last [sic] almost two years.”

Two years hardly seems like a length of time too short to properly evaluate! To say that the voters do not have enough time to properly evaluate the candidates is a weak point anyway. Exactly how much time do they need? It’s true that many of the States have shortened the length of time before the actual primary election takes place in an effort to gain more media exposure, but does that mean that the time is too short? Where is the evidence to say it wasn’t too long already and now the media has actually improved it by shortening the length of time?

Contention 3: The media focuses more on the game of campaigning than the issues.
I echo the points made in Contention 1. The media panders to the people. If the people care more about the petty politicking than the actual issues, then how is the media not upholding the will of the people?
If the viewer numbers did not support these types of news stories then the media would not be showing them.
This sentiment is supported by my opponent’s own source where Zuzanna states,

“Most of media AND PEOPLE are more interested in stories and political games than in candidate’s presentation of important issues.”

(Capitals added for emphasis)

So who is really at fault here? Is it the people for wanting entertainment over substance or the media for giving it to them? Either way, the Media are NOT failing to uphold the will of the people.

Contention 4: The money and media complex forces politicians to conform to its interests.
It is clear that authors, John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney lay the overwhelming bulk of the blame for the current state of American politics on the Corporate Billionaires pushing their agenda, the Politicians for pandering to this and the actual American democratic system itself which they describe as being “dangerously close to a flawed democracy”. (http://www.dollarocracy-book.com/)

Yes, the media cop some of the flak for this as well. Their main crime is for running biased advertising. This article fails to point out that the same media also reports on times where the “Dollarocracy” breaks various federal and state laws or even exploits legal loopholes, as was the case in Obama’s last campaign.
Unfortunately, this kind of campaigning is quite within the rights of the American democratic system. The American people have willed such a system into being and PRO has only proved that the media are a part of that system. Facilitating it, yes; exploiting it – maybe; undermining it? No!

CON’s CONtentions.
On balance, the media contributes more to BENEFIT the value of Democracy than it does to detriment.

The case for LIBERTY:

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
~ Thomas Jefferson

The value of Democracy depends on the media. The media has time and time again bought to the people’s attention various civil liberty infractions.
In October of 2013, the Washington Post reported on an issue where the FBI has potentially violated citizen’s first amendment rights and rights to privacy. This is a hot button issue and one which has been frequently investigated and reported on by the media.

The full article can be found here:
http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20131031/fbi-programs-lack-of-safeguards-allows-civil-liberties-violations-aclu-report-says

We depend on the media to inform us when infractions that might stifle our liberty occur. The Media supports the value of democracy by upholding the people’s liberty.

The case for EQUALITY:

The media played an important and essential role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s providing a platform for both sides to plead their case to the American people.

Civil Rights Movement: The power of Television – Amanda Philley
“I am not a nigger” (Thomas). These five words seared through American television screens in May of 1963. James Baldwin, a preacher and novelist, declared his freedom from the chains of discrimination in an interview with Kenneth Clark and forever changed the conscience of black and white television owners. When asked if he was optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the nation, Baldwin made one thing clear: the fate of America lies within the ability to answer the question, why was the ‘nigger’ created? Born in Harlem in 1924, Baldwin grew up following in his father’s footsteps as a preacher, then went on to work on a railroad in New Jersey and eventually became a freelance writer and moved to Europe. Despite spending the majority of his adult life in Paris, Baldwin demonstrated the power of media by never ceasing to tell the story of his life as black man living in America, the influence of brotherhood, and the power of voice (Reference.com).
Moments similar to Baldwin’s interview validate the reign of television and the impact of media on the Civil Rights Movement. During the interview, all the personal challenges that James Baldwin faced become apparent in his mannerisms, his gestures, and in every one of those five words. Baldwin’s unique and articulate comments, combined with access to the majority of American citizens via television media, left an impression that would span across states and decades.”

(http://home.sjfc.edu/3690/philley.html)

Certainly the media were beneficial to the criterion of Equality and therefore upheld the value of Democracy.


The case for FRATERNITY:

In upholding the criterion of Fraternity, the media plays a crucial part by investigating and exposing crime that happens at the top level. Perhaps no greater example of this was found in the Watergate scandal, discussed at length in my opponent’s source material.

“The key role of all media dealing with politics is to inform the public about what is really happening in Washington. Without the media people would have no notion of the government’s businesses and dealings. In this particular affair the Washington Post had shown the power of the press. Watergate scandal is still considered to be the biggest cause in the history of journalism.”
Zuzana Pištěková, “The Public and the Media in the U.S. Presidential Campaigns,” Diploma Thesis, MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO, 2008

This case proves that the media play an important and essential role in upholding the value of Democracy.

The resolution is CONvincingly opposed. I therefore urge you to vote CON. I am not a crook.

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-01-05 10:54:29
| Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (CON)
Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited his round. I'd like to extend all arguments and give him an opportunity to submit his final round.





Return To Top | Posted:
2014-01-08 21:34:12
| Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (CON)
Oh that's a shame, I was saving some up for a bit of back and forth on this one... oh well.

My opponent set this debate up as an LD debate with his initial (and only) round. Not being familiar with this style of debate at all, I spent some time reading up on it. It was quite interesting and totally changed the way I needed to approach this resolution.

Just in case anyone else is in a similar situation, I'll sum up my understanding of it and someone more knowledgeable than I can feel free to correct me in the comments section.
Basically the resolution is converted into a "Value" - in this case Democracy. Then there is a "Criterion" which is something that achieves or is critical to the Value. After the Criteria are established, the debaters' arguments are scored based on how well they address the Criterion. As I say, the whole thing was new to me and it's entirely possible that I've gotten it wrong, but there you go.

In this debate we had a value of "Democracy".
By showing that the media "Upholds the will of the people" by giving the American people what they want from their electorial process; supports "Liberty" by investigating and reporting on civil rights violations; "Equality" by aiding Civil Rights and Sufferage movements; and "Fraternity" by ensuring that the ruling elect do not abuse the power of their position I believe I have successfully addressed all specified Criteria and I therefore urge you to vote CON.


Return To Top | Posted:
2014-01-11 22:44:46
| Speak Round


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adminadmin
Yip. US uses different styles from every other country in the world. They're weird like that.

I'll give this a vote tomorrow.
Posted 2014-01-11 22:54:40
nzlockienzlockie
Haha, having just exposed my LD Debating ignorance I've just done another look at it and found out that this is supposed to be the standard style used through High School in the US! I'm probably the only one on this site that didn't know what they were!

Sorry about that. I see I've been a little muddled in my interpretation now. Oh well.
Posted 2014-01-11 22:52:56
nzlockienzlockie
All good mate. Sorry for the delay in posting my argument, we've just had a death in the family and things are a bit busy ATM. I'll get something up soon though!
Posted 2014-01-04 19:17:44
gabbsmcswaggingabbsmcswaggin
sorry for accidentally posting one contention twice
Posted 2014-01-04 07:15:36
adminadmin
Oh wow, values and criterions. Haven't seen those in a while ;)

Good luck to both of you, I'll be watching this one.
Posted 2014-01-03 19:43:27
gabbsmcswaggingabbsmcswaggin
sorry for accidentally posting one contention twice
Posted 2014-01-03 14:21:13
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2014-01-12 05:30:14
De@thJudge: De@th
Win awarded to: nzlockie
Reasoning:
with 1st round more or less evenly placed, the debaters setting up things in motion and defining and clarifying their stands and takes.
However, with the pro forfeiting the subsequent rounds, under thecircumstances, the winner is con.

Feedback:
was a good start with reasonably good orientation of ideas from either participants.
The mode of debate was interesting and a bit novel to me as well and was looking forward to the subsequent rounds.
However, as I always feel, it would be in best interest if people don't begin the debate if they don't intend to end it. And forfeiting multiple rounds is an obvious failure considering that only a single round was completed proper.

1 user rated this judgement as good
2 users rated this judgement as exceptional
0 comments on this judgement
2014-01-12 09:47:07
PinkieJudge: Pinkie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: nzlockie
2014-01-14 13:27:23
Nerd PoliticoJudge: Nerd Politico
Win awarded to: nzlockie
2014-01-17 02:14:34
TheAntidoterJudge: TheAntidoter
Win awarded to: nzlockie
Reasoning:
The Wheels of the FF go FF FF FF, FF FF FF, FF FF FF, the Wheels of the FF go FF FF FF, All through the FF.
2 users rated this judgement as good
0 comments on this judgement

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