To follow on from my previous blog post, part of being in a political party is to develop policies then advocating those policies to the public – if you’re in opposition then you’re the government in waiting so your job is to convince the public that if you were in government that what you’re advocating are the policies you would pursue if you were in government. When it comes to the government, there job is to not only education the population so that people know what policies there are how they will benefit from it but to also educate potential voters of their track record in government – “if you like the policies then vote for us at the next election.”
So where does the ‘mainstream media’ fit into this? In a well functioning world or at least a world where the media does it’s bare minimum of informing the public but so far what I have seen is the ‘focus on horse race politics’ of who’s in front, who’s behind with next to no time spent dissecting policies and doing a deep dive into the details of what makes x politicians policies different from y politician’s policies. The reason why that is important is because political parties are all about showing their policies in the best light which involves emphasising the good aspects while either downplaying or ignoring altogether the rough edges for example replacing the working for families with a tax free threshold will involve some who will be better off while others maybe worse off depending on the circumstances. The role of the media is to step back and provide an impartial analysis so then voters get a better picture of what is on offer by the different political parties.
Why is it important for the media to do a deep dive? in a well functioning world the media would conduct a deep dive into these policies and look at it from an impartial point of view. Politicians may try to spin the focus by the media should be to go into details, talk about the good, bad and the ugly, the winners and losers from such a policy, the cost of that policy and whether it’ll require tax increases to pay for it, what are the risks in terms of its implementation, the likelihood of it actually getting passed etc. The politicians do the spin, the media are meant to unspin and be the ones who go into detail on what is on offer. The usual complaint is that people aren’t interested in long form interviews or discussions to which I say “Joe Rogan” – he isn’t someone I listen to but given that his podcast goes for sometimes up to 2 1/2 hours yet has millions of listeners so if Joe Rogan can get and retain listeners then there is no reason why a lively discussion about policy with a few jokes and witty remarks can’t get a few million tuning listeners to as a podcast and maybe a cut down 1 hour version for television (40-45 minutes if you exclude ad breaks).