TIME is on my side

The national service issue of TIME demonstrates how the presidential campaign season should be covered by the news media.  Political coverage is peppered with pundits’ analysis, news editorials, and journalists’ opinions of candidates and policies, so it is a relief when I can find a political position or social stance that is not attached to criticisms or evaluations. 


 On the Sept. 22 issue of TIME, the cover depicts Barack Obama and John McCain as construction workers poised to fix-up America.  The featured article is actually a call-to-action for all Americans to serve their country, and less about Obama and McCain’s national service records. 


The cover works because it shows the two presidential nominees side-by-side as equals ready to work for their country.  It is unbiased and demonstrates that the ideals politicians work for are more important than the office they are running for.  The focus of the featured story is on America and the American spirit, tying in the presidential race by juxtaposing the candidates’ written statements about national service. 


Obama and McCain’s personal statements are only a minor portion of the national service feature, but TIME does not distort the candidates’ stances by editing the statements or by analyzing the positions for the reader.  The presidential nominees speak without response, which I think is rare in the mainstream media today.


Contrary to TIME’s approach, The New Republic does not mind ignoring objectivity or taking comments out of context.  Now, The New Republic is a liberal- leaning, political opinion journal, so its methods are supposed to be justifiable. 


But I don’t understand why.


How does the article, “The Case Against Sarah Palin” from the Sept. 24 issue benefit readers, political junkies, or Americans in general?  Palin’s quotes are taken out of context and used against her.  The article divides Palin’s comments into different topics, such as energy, on which she is quoted, “I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that.”


This approach is not fair to Palin because it does not reveal anything the candidate stands for.  Instead, the bias of the magazine is reflected in this one page story and sets the liberal-slanted tone for every other article in The New Republic.


The article is insulting to readers because it attempts to pass off an editorial as justification for why Palin will not be a good vice president.  It is important to reveal the statements in context instead of shaping a political message.  Voters need to vote based on policy positions and social stances, and they need to form their own opinions on why to support a candidate instead of being spoon-fed political agendas.          


 –Justin Cox


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