Monday, January 30, 2006

Media's Role in Fostering Voter Apathy

Krugman aptly explains why media's mischaracterization of the Abramoff scandal as 'bipartisan' hurts the chances we have in key congressional races to "clean house." Short answer: it fuels voter apathy. Krugman's answer:

There have been both bipartisan and purely Democratic scandals in the past. Based on everything we know so far, however, the Abramoff affair is a purely Republican scandal.

Why does the insistence of some journalists on calling this one-party scandal bipartisan matter? For one thing, the public is led to believe that the Abramoff affair is just Washington business as usual, which it isn't. The scale of the scandals now coming to light, of which the Abramoff affair is just a part, dwarfs anything in living memory.

More important, this kind of misreporting makes the public feel helpless. Voters who are told, falsely, that both parties were drawn into Mr. Abramoff's web are likely to become passive and shrug their shoulders instead of demanding reform.

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