I have been low-key angry today, pretty much all day. Lately, it’s just been weird weather and I’ve been feeling emotional anyway, but mostly, I am angry at the conduct of journalists and public personalities when speaking about the election.
It all started yesterday when I tried to watch “Huckabee” to understand the point of view of one of my neighbors. I was expecting to see a heavy bias towards Trump, but what I didn’t expect was the level of dishonesty and lack of integrity that I found. They advertised the video as an interview with Biden’s debate coach, but revealed halfway through after mocking Biden repeatedly for the speech impediment he has had to work very hard to overcome, as well as, how he handled being interrupted by Trump, that it was in fact, a professional impersonator.
We decided to watch Stephen Colbert afterwards, it was better, but still hard for me to watch. He mocked Trump for dance moves, which was probably the nicest thing I’ve ever seen Trump do.
Sometime yesterday there was also the articles mocking Trump for going to Church and tithing. I’m as frustrated with Trump as the next person, but to mock a man for going to Church is awful.
Then, today, I was sent CatholicVote.org, as a reliable source for coverage on the election, and was met with biased manipulative propaganda littered with attacks on Biden as a person, excuses for Trump’s misdeeds and exaggerated and misleading information covering the entire site.
An advertisement has a picture of Biden with two choices “Catholic or Abortion” plastered over his face, next to an article consistently mocking him for calling himself Catholic and trying to reach out to Catholics.
People, this is not okay. It is not okay to make fun of people for being faithful, even if you disagree with the way they are. It is not okay to mock people for disabilities they have fought to overcome. It is not okay to twist the truth and attack people to “prove” you are right.
There used to be laws that prevented the media from having a bias. Now all we have these smear campaigns on both sides, mocking these men as people with no respect for truth, or integrity of journalism.(Smear campaigns are not new by any means, but journalists were held to a higher standard.)
Because of the constant insults and distortion of truth, the debates are now more crucial than ever before. The entire purpose of the debates, was to give all of us a chance to really get to know our candidates. We are meant to get the chance to respectfully hear both sides, and make up our minds about each. In a culture where our articles are layered with insults and exaggerations, hearing the candidates speak for themselves is more important than ever. We are meant to go in with as open a mind as we can and truly hear the other side, and hopefully learn something about them, even if it does not change our minds.
It is one of the only times in the election period when we get the chance to see the two candidates next to each other to compare them in an unbiased way. Whether the moderator is biased or not, we still get to get a feel for the people we are talking to, and understand their point of view. The problem with the way Trump approached the debate last time was that he didn’t allow Biden to speak, he interrupted both the moderator and Biden 145 times, with absolutely no respect for the gravity of the moment. Biden was not perfect either, although his offenses were less severe in my opinion, he focused too much on what Trump did wrong and too little on his own work.
We got to experience a true debate during the Vice Presidential one. I was glad to see that both Kamala Harris and Mike Pence were very respectful of the structure of the debate and even exchanged courtesies between each other. There were questions that were equally challenging for each of them, and I felt like I gained a new understanding for each of them as people.
I hope and pray that tonight we will get the chance to meet our candidates where they are at and understand them better. Below are some rules that guide my thinking as I watch debates.
Big questions I ask when I see a debate-
Is what they are saying true? There are plenty of fact-checking resources out there to verify.
When they are lying, what is their demeanor? Is it a deliberate lie and comes out smooth, or is it a misstatement or exaggeration
Are they respectful of the process? It is important to me that they respect the moderator. Moderators are chosen from different networks to ensure a different bias each time, it is their job to ensure the process of the debate is orderly, it is not fair or helpful to abuse them.
What is their character like? Do I see integrity in them? How do they come to their conclusions, if I disagree, can I see how they got there, was it for good reasons or not.
What does my gut say? When I see this person, do I believe they would be the best leader for my country? Do I trust him?
Most importantly, please watch the debate. If you can’t watch it tonight, watch it later. If you get a chance watch the others. You can learn so much more about a person by how you see them interact than by what a biased journalist on either side would say.
Make up your own mind. Watch the debates.