The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Election That Would Inevitably Change the Route of America

                With the economy tanking, unemployment rates sky rocketing, and a deficit that is well into the trillions, the 2010 midterm election would arguably be the most important midterm race of the past 100 years. With the entire House of Representatives being up for reelection, and 1/3 of the senate up, both parties scrambled to convince voters that their leaders could ultimately change the direction of the country. November 2, 2010 marked the day that the Republican Party took back control of the House of Representatives by gaining 64 seats. The most notable parts of the coverage seemed to be the lack of neutrality and fast pace, high energy each station displayed.
            The democrats hardly held onto the Senate, but hold seven less seats than they did when President Obama went into office two years ago. After the 2008 elections, the democrats obtained 57 seats, republicans controlled 41 and two senators were independents. Fourteen Senators retired, meaning their terms were either up, or they were defeated in the primaries. Armed with all the statistics and quick facts, local and national stations had a field day reporting up to the minute results and conclusions. Screens were often cluttered with scrolling words along the bottom, maps and graphs filled with blue and red, and a fast speaking commentator to add to the confusion. Guests were very common and consisted of the experts in their field. They often chimed in opinions and can provide insight from different parties and extremes. Most would have guests from each party to represent a sense of neutrality for the viewer, but often there is still bias in the coverage.
            Most people know that Fox represents a conservative view while stations like MSNBC tend to lean liberal. Commentators like Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann provide viewers with often loud opinions and call outs to politicians and other show hosts. While some claim to be neutral, they clearly aren’t. With a combination of news coverage and opinions being tossed around, viewers may not be very clear on which is which. Although it makes for more entertaining television (and therefore more revenue) it’s not helping the true democracy in our country.
            In the 2006 midterm elections, the Republicans lost control of the United States House of Representatives. In 2010, the Republicans bounced back as they captured 64 seats. Nancy Pelosi, lost her title as the Majority Leader, and is now the Minority Leader. The California senator found herself handing over her title to Ohio Republican, John Boehner. It is normal for the party who controls the House of Representatives to lose seats to the opposite party during a midterm election, but this staggering defeat is the largest since 1938. Overall as our country awaits the inevitable changes that will occur as a result from this election, Americans can be sure that every side and point has been covered, analyzed, and analyzed again. The fast pace that our country runs at on a daily basis is magnified during the elections and broadcasted all over national television. The lack of neutrality is something that will most likely never change along with the fast pace, high energy atmosphere.

Megan Fisher

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