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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not So Bipartisan After All...

When Americans went to flip on coverage of last Tuesday’s election night results, it’s safe to say that quite a few of them probably flipped on CNN.  And for good reason—CNN has fantastic technology and a diverse group of commentators at its disposal, not to mention its self-proclaimed bipartisan viewpoint.  However, when the backdrop of their election coverage is analyzed, an argument can be made that the appearance was quite polarizing in nature.  This setting—along with many other aspects of the coverage—created a distinctly partisan feel to the coverage that mirrors the state of politics in America today.
            The backdrop of CNN’s coverage was a blend of blue and red scenery.  While at first this simply seems like a patriotic display of America’s colors, it’s hard not to mentally translate the colors into symbols of the Democratic and Republican Parties—especially on election night.  It may appear as if CNN is acting bipartisan by presenting the colors of both parties.  But to me, the separation between the blue and red simply acts as a symbol of the increasing partisan nature of politics in the United States.  The whole night blue is pitted against red in this giant competition; the race on the bottom of the screen for the senate and the house is a prime example of this.
            The panel of experts that CNN hires for the election coverage further exemplifies the increasing partisan nature of American politics.  The panel displays perspectives from both sides of the political spectrum—from the most liberal to the most conservative.  But what becomes striking is that there are no real strong moderate voices to be heard.  And even worse, when they are asked a question, they simply all begin to speak at once and argue—no comprehensive answer is given and there is no building off each other because they do not listen to one another.
            Many of the flaws seen in CNN’s election night coverage are representative of the current flaws in the American political system.  The polarizing scenery and panelists exhibit the growing partisan sentiment in America quite well.  And what’s worse is that every time coverage similar to this occurs—which is quite often—it only increases these attitudes.  Hopefully, Americans will begin to see this polarization and stop it, because—as can be seen when watching the panelists—a partisan society doesn’t listen to each other and build on each others ideas, it only tears itself apart through bickering.

--Zach Kadow

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