how I learned to stop worrying and mistrust the media
my first trip to europe was a learning experience
in early November of 1984, my wife and I mailed in our absentee ballots before boarding a plane bound for Europe.
we felt pretty confident about Walter Mondale’s chances of beating Ronald Reagan in the presidential election only days away.
and we had every reason to feel that way; throughout the summer and fall, the newspapers and the evening news shows had been reporting on an ever-tightening race.
Mondale is only 8 points down! Mondale is closing the gap! Mondale is only 6 points down! Mondale is only 3 points down. Mondale is within the margin of error! Mondale has momentum! The race is a toss-up!
after we arrived in Amsterdam, I checked out the European papers and did a double-take. their press was almost uniformly reporting that Reagan was expected to coast to an easy win. I couldn’t figure out what was going on — why they getting it so wrong? how could their sources be that far off the mark? were they lazy or inept?
and then came election day and we all know what happened: Reagan crushed Mondale in one of the biggest landslides in US history. Mondale never had a chance, and, spoiler alert: the European papers had it exactly right.
it finally dawned on naive, 27-year-old me: the American media had an agenda, and been selling me a bill of goods. they created the fiction of a tight race in order to sell a product.
that was the last time I ever trusted the US press to tell me the truth about an election.
and of course, as they have turned to the right to chase the FOX demographic, it’s gotten much, much worse.
fuck the polls. fuck the press. just go VOTE
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