McCain or Obama? How About This Referendum…

-By Frank Salvato

To say the least, there is quite an ideological and political gulf between John McCain and Barack Obama. So too, is there a great deal of difference between their running mates, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. On just about every issue examined during this interminably long presidential election cycle the two tickets stand miles apart. From taxes to the struggle with radical Islam, energy independence to American sovereignty, McCain and Obama, Palin and Biden, stand diametrically opposed in their approaches to the issues. But one subject seems to be championed by both sides and by all the players, honesty.

To be certain, honesty, truthfulness, is a precious commodity in American politics. From the very days of our country’s creation many of those questing for political power have walked the fine line of fact and fiction in an effort to paint themselves in a better light than their opponents. With the advent of the professional “spin doctor” the line between fact and fiction blurred to an almost illegible point. Today, the process has become somewhat more simplistic, less refined and artful, almost crude in that Washington politicians have taken to simply calling each other “liars.”

Both John McCain and Barack Obama have taken issue with each other’s campaign ads, calling into question the validity of statements, requesting apologies and retaliating in kind. Statistics get cherry-picked and legislative attributions get skewed. Obama surrogate Jimmy Carter – father of the West’s modern day conflict with radical Islam – even went as far as to say that John McCain was unfairly playing up his stay at the luxurious Hanoi Hilton. And where McCain’s responses to Obama’s less than fully-truthful allegations may begin with his trademark salutation “my friends,” Obama’s mouthpieces respond to any less-than-thoroughly-accurate contention with a good amount of indignance, arrogance and caustic vitriol. Obama’s surrogates are even worse.

Granted, we in the citizenry have come to accept this kind of behavior from our politicians, it’s expected to a certain extent, sad that it is. That said, we are reaping the rewards from our apathy to the political process and our lack of civic responsibility. If we were providing the governmental stewardship that our Founders and Framers envisioned the politicians of today would have been tarred and feathered – literally – many years ago and no one – no one – would be aspiring to be a professional politician.

Nevertheless, the issues facing our nation are real and the candidates who stand before us in referendum have real beliefs in how these issues should be handled. Simply put, one ticket believes in the American people and the other believes in the American government. Where the McCain/Palin ticket wants to limit the reach of government into our personal lives and empower the individual, the Obama/Biden ticket has proposed new government programs and entitlements, higher taxes and solutions to problems and crisis that are based on government as opposed to the citizenry. Where the McCain/Palin ticket adheres to the “bottom-up” power structure envisioned by our Founders and Framers, the Obama/Biden ticket champions a “top-down” governmental model, a Marxist-Leninist, Progressive-Socialist model that favors wealth redistribution and mounting governmental intervention into our private lives.

Most of us – but for the undecided voters (and really, how can anyone be undecided at this point) – have already decided whose vision for our country’s future we support. We have based our decisions on well thought out examinations of the candidates and the issues, and an adequate understanding of world events. Of course, the accumulation of the facts as they pertain to world events, the candidates and the issues has been no easy task. Thanks to an aggressively agenda-driven mainstream media, a media so transparently in the tank for an Obama presidency, finding the truth has been a difficult undertaking.

Case in point. entertains the illusion that they are the arbiters of political fact, of truth, where the candidates’ political assertions are concerned. But’s parent organization is the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Annenberg, for those of you who are not keeping up with the Barack Obama-William Ayers relationship, is the organization that brought former and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, Barack Obama and millions of dollars into the same realm. In light of this reality, wouldn’t it be responsible for to sit this election out or, at least, recuse itself from opining on the presidential race? Predictably, this is not to be.

Stories like this are plentiful this election cycle. MSNBC is so incredibly transparent in their support for Barack Obama that two of their political anchors – Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews – were removed from the anchor assignments. The disparity in approaches taken by Charlie Gibson of ABC News during the interviews of Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Barack Obama were stark and telling. CBS News anchor Katie Couric has been fawning over Barack Obama since before he officially announced his candidacy. And the women of The View, minus Elizabeth Hasselbeck…well, if you’re watching The View to acquire honest and unbiased information you really shouldn’t be voting.

Which brings me to my point.

The American mainstream media has always been good for sifting down any election cycle to a single referendum. Whether it was the issue of slavery in the 1860 election, the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980, the peace dividend in 1992 or the struggle against aggressive radical Islam in 2004, the mainstream media has always thought so little of the American people that they presuppose our intellectual wherewithal to be too limited to take the total of issues and positions into consideration when selecting our choices for president. Derived of this notion is the arrogance and elitism of today’s mainstream media, an entity so empowered with conceit that they have deemed it acceptable to keep the whole truth from the American people when opportune while injecting agenda-driven opinion and enthusiasm into what they sell us as “the news”; the facts.

We have all complained about the disingenuousness and elitism of the mainstream media. And while some of us have actually acted on that disgust in canceling subscriptions and/or writing advertisers to their outlets, still many more of us act as enablers to their intellectual charlatanism; too much the creatures of habit to affect change. But now comes a time when we really can send a message to the elitists and opportunists of the mainstream media.

This election cycle, let’s send a message to the golden chairs of the mainstream media, to the Olbermanns, the Matthews, the Courics, the Gibsons and the Williams. Let’s tell the Wolf Blitzers and Campbell Browns, the Frank Richs and the Maureen Dowds that their time at the helm is over, that their influence exists only in the smallest corners of their own bloated egos. Let’s tell CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and all the rest of the agenda-driven, disingenuous propaganda peddlers that it is time to excommunicate those who offer opinion disguised as fact and return to news that consists exclusively of “who, what, where, when, why and how.”

“But Frank,” many of you are thinking, “how do we go about doing this?”

Easy. Defeat their anointed candidate at the polls on November 4th. Make the election of 2008 a referendum on the mainstream media and their manipulation of the American public. If you believe that the mainstream media in the United States has failed in their public mission, their obligation to adequately and honestly inform the public on important issues, if you believe that the mainstream media has tried to manipulate this election in favor of Barack Obama, then vote against them this November 4th; vote against them by casting a vote against their candidate, Barack Obama.

Never has it been easier of simpler to show your discontent toward the mainstream media elite, toward the ideologically influential, toward the self-anointed keepers of the truth. Defeat their candidate on November 4th, 2008.

The choice in this year’s referendum is clear: You can choose those who believe in the American people and send a message to the mainstream media elite that we are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore, or you can vote for those who believe the government knows best and enable a mainstream media that believes you’re too stupid to handle the truth.
Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal . He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. He recently partnered in producing the first-ever symposium on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism in Washington, DC. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. He can be contacted at

Copyright Publius Forum 2001