The networks long ago abandoned any notion of civic responsibility in favor of profit. One might just as well ask a chicken to fly than to ask the cash-sucking networks to attempt shock therapy on the mostly brain-dead electorate, whose interest in politics they have helped diminish.
But the networks do like trends. Is there a politician alive who might start one by swimming against the media tide? Is there a politician who, for example, has the nerve to propose an "energy independence day'' in the not-too-distant future and promise, if elected, to wean the United States from Middle East oil? He (or she) might recall John F. Kennedy's pledge to land Americans on the moon by the end of the 1960s. That goal was achieved because most Americans understood its importance in the context of the Cold War.
This war between democracy and Islamofascism is just as important. It would be the gift that keeps on giving for the West to liberate itself from Middle East oil and deprive totalitarian regimes in the region of the money they have used, not to elevate their people, but to subsidize terror.
Such a politician would inevitably gain media attention. This attention would not effect the concentration of the media in the hands of a few, but it could bypass the gatekeepers and resonate with the public. That's what happened with talk radio, which circumvented big media and allowed a substantial portion of the country to hear things they otherwise might not have heard. The TV networks might be forced to pay attention to such a politician and his ideas, because the public would demand to hear more.
Al Gore is on to something important. Now if someone can be found who will lead by example, the country and even the media, would be the beneficiaries.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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