The Perfect Situation: A Return to the Media State of Nature

by John Kyle MacIntyre

Widener University Political Science Major

Media coverage plays a crucial part in the presidential elections that wash over America every four years.  The media is an essential safety-check on political figures and government activities because it provides transparency.  Originally, media coverage in the United States was constructed to inform the people as per the right to free press.  News today is so cluttered that it would be unrecognizable from the news that filled the streets at birth of our country.  News coverage has passed a threshold from informative to damaging.

Philosophers have often used a “state of nature” to explain the evolution of government. The tool is used to show the scenario in which people emerge from a disorganized lawless state to an organized government rooted in a constitution. It would be interesting to return the election process to a “state of nature” to purify the system of media clutter.  In this scenario the media’s part would be limited.  Candidates would campaign much like they do now: by campaigning for a couple of days followed by a candidate debate and then concluding with citizens voting. The media’s role in this scenario would be to provide the people a time and place of rallies or debates.  This strategy would be an attempt to coax voters to show up to candidates’ functions while providing the unique opportunity to form an individual opinion.  Without the outside influences this scenario would provide an interesting look into the true nature of how people vote.  The media has become unimportant with reports like how Romney works-out in the morning, what Newt had for breakfast, or Obama’s singing ability.  Also, this scenario provides an interesting look into the voting habits from state to state.  Overall this situation would present the nature of how people independently develop a candidate that represents them.

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