Abstract The upcoming presidential election is a constant in the media this time of year and the controversy surrounding the candidates is most often the subject. One of the more controversial issues in this year’s election is the Republican Party’s vice-presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin. She is the first female to be appointed as a vice-presidential candidate in the United States which makes the issue one of gender diversity, and she is also highly controversial due to her extremely conservative beliefs which complicate the cultural diversification issues of the election as a whole.
The media is reporting on the conservative views of Palin in conflict with the very liberal views of Senator Obama which does much to bring to light the full spectrum of cultural issues present within the candidates’ personal beliefs as well as their stance on political issues. Media Reaction Paper Our nation is currently frenzied with the 2008 presidential election getting close. One of the most highly controversial topics is the Republican Party’s vice presidential candidate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
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She is one of the more popular speakers at the moment, even more popular than her running mate, current United States Senator John McCain. Her public visibility has brought with it much contempt from Democratic supporters as well as some less-conservative Republican supporters. While Sarah Palin, herself, is a great topic to discuss, there is the larger topic of a female in general possible taking the office as vice president of the United States. The media is reporting both sides of the issue, whether it is support or contempt from the public at large.
Attempt to Address the Diversity Represented in the American Landscape “While women represent a minority of elected positions, Clinton, Pelosi, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and many others have demonstrated that women can reach the heights of political power” (Lucas, 2008). Women have made great progress in joining the ranks of men in political office. Senator Hilary Clinton and current Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice caused quite a controversy in their times and Sarah Palin is doing nothing to calm the storm created by her appointment as running mate to Senator John McCain.
She, in fact, is making an effort to keep herself in the public eye and has been given the nickname of ‘hurricane Sarah’ and is also being called the Republican Party’s northern star. “If Hurricane Sarah can expand the Republican electorate, McCain could be swept into the White House” (Baxter, 2008). The media is constantly pitting Palin’s extreme conservatism against Senator Obama’s liberalism, giving the public the full spectrum when it comes to political beliefs and the candidates’ stances on controversial political issues. An explicit contrast was drawn between her patriotism ??? Track, her 19-year-old son, is about to be deployed to Iraq ??? and Obama’s critique of America after eight years of the Bush administration. ” (Baxter, 2008). Obama has also been quoted recently by the Washington Post and televised on Meet the Press as stating his hate for the American flag stating it is a representation of oppression to many foreign nations and also voicing his wife’s scorn for the nation’s flag for reasons undisclosed. Palin is being criticized openly for her pro-life stance, even by many in her own party.
She is also being criticized by the more liberal Republicans for “supporting the teaching of intelligent design ??? a form of creationism ??? in schools, believing the Iraq war was mandated by God and promoting abstinence in sex education” (Baxter, 2008). Presidential campaigns often point out the worst in both candidates, the difference in this election is that Palin is overshadowing her running mate, and while she is taking the brunt of the criticism in the media at this point, she is also earning a lot of support from the Republican Party in general.
Extent the Media Relies on Stereotypes “Stereotypes are fixed ideas, often unfavorable, about what members of a group are like. Prejudiced people assume that members of the group will act as they are “supposed to act” (according to the stereotype) and interpret a wide range of individual behaviors as evidence of the stereotype” (Kottak & Kozaitis, 2003, Ch. 5, p. 77). Media reliance on stereotypes is often visible and as easy to find as the front page of a Sunday newspaper most weeks.
However, a recent study by a member of Pennsylvania State University’s college of communications shows that stereotypical beliefs are affected more by a person’s individual belief system than the media’s reliance on stereotypes (Oliver, 2006). In relation to the upcoming presidential election, and the candidates themselves, it is as easy as turning on the television for voters to find stereotypical representations of politicians; Comedy Central airs a show called Lil Bush and Governor Sarah Palin was recently a guest host on Saturday Night Live.
While these television shows are satires and meant to be extreme for the sake of humor, they stem from stereotypical beliefs about cultural aspects of both individuals and groups. Assessment and Justification This article does much to show the cultural differences of the candidates, but it also relates those differences to the voters; and while the purpose of the article was to point out Governor Palin’s contribution to the success of the Republican Party in gaining ground in the current election, it also succeeded in bringing to light the cultural issues that sway voters and how each candidate related to the issues.
The portrayal of candidates as cultural beings highlights the different cultures present in the nation today and allows for individuals to form an opinion as to whom they would rather see in office for the next four years. References Baxter, S. (2008). Sarah Palin: northern star injects new life into lumbering campaign. Times Online. Retrieved October 18, 2008 from http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article4692458. ce Kottak, C. P. & Kozaitis, K. A (2003). On being different: Diversity and multiculturalism in the North American mainstream (2nd ed. ). New York: McGraw Hill. Lukas, C. (2008). Forget about gender parity. USA Today. Retrieved October 20, 2008 from MasterFILE Premier database. Oliver, M. (2006) Media stereotyping. Fullbright Quarterly. Retrieved October 22, 2008 from http://www. fulbright. org. nz/news/quarterly/0611-oliver. html