Saturday, April 14, 2012

Three manufactured controversies in 30 days

Manufactured controversies are nothing new in American politics. 

What is new, however, is how much faster and professionalized - due to Twitter and the drive to make something go viral - these manufactured controversies have become.

We’ve seen three of them in the past 30 days: Etch A Sketch, Hot Mic, and Hilary Rosen (Mommy Wars!).

All three were related to a bigger issue or narrative (doubts about Romney’s true beliefs and ideology, conservative suspicions about Obama’s intentions, and a real gender gap in American politics).

Manufactured controversies are more fun than the real story (that a general-election candidate always moves back to the center, that a president’s second term with no more elections on the horizon does give him more flexibility to do certain things, and that women do have real anxieties about the balance between working and raising a family).

The fact is, these next few months before the conventions are probably going to be filled with these stupid manufactured controversies because both political parties are good at creating them.

The mainstream media helps these manufactured controversies go viral because they are seen as simply “more interesting” than the serious “eat your vegetables”-like issues that divide the two parties.

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