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Media, politics intertwine

As the seasons turn and the weather gets colder the political climate has become more frigid and people seem to be cooling to the state of political discourse.

In this contentious political season politicians and entertainers are relying on the entertainment media to get their message across. Likewise, entertainers are using their own media to get their political views to fans.

The marriage of entertainment and politics was made famous by the historic televised debates between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

Unfortunately this marriage has led to the downfall of present political discourse according to Dr. Terry Paulson, an occupational speaker for large corporations.

Paulson, who has written many books about professional success, decided to write a book on politics after seeing the state of political discussion on cable news and other media.

In an effort to have an honest political discussion Paulson created his book, “The Dinner: The Political Conversation Your Mother Told you Never to Have,” as a political discussion between two couples over a fancy dinner.

“I decided that the safest place we need to have the conversation was at dinner” he said. “Besides, I thought if anyone was too offended the other one might get stuck with the check.”

While the book does reflect Paulson’s conservative values he hoped it also shows an honest and respectful assessment of the Republican and Democratic mind-sets.

In fact, the staunch Republican said that in the course of writing the book he was able to better understand Democratic positions.

While the country is being inundated with political polemics from both sides of the spectrum in all forms of entertainment Paulson believes that the American people are smart enough to sort through the spin.

“I think most Americans are smart enough now to realize that most of those (partisan) efforts, unless they earn a reputation for balance, its like giving red meat to the faithful.”

The battle to see through the spin is becoming more difficult with the increasing efforts to convince people of an ideology through entertainment, according to Paulson.

With partisan documentaries like “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and its right wing counterparts “Fahrenhype 9/11” and “Michael Moore Hates America” presenting one side of the issue and books such as “Unfit for Command” about John Kerry and “Unfit Commander” about George W. Bush, political dialogue is getting more one-sided said Paulson.

Recently Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” came under criticism for calling the pundits on “Crossfire” “political hacks” and their work “political theater.”

Paulson doesn’t believe the problem will go away any time soon. “I don’t think that (problem) will go away. TV will not all of the sudden become nice. Talk radio will not have only people that call in and be mellow.”

Another issue facing the electorate is that entertainers are using their own medium to advance their political views.

Campaigns such as Bruce Springstein’s Rock the Vote and Sean Combs Vote or Die tour are encouraging young people to vote and conservative critics have accused the shows of simply being shills for Democratic causes.

“I don’t like when musicians get on stage and try and tell people what to think politically,” said Craig Stone, sophomore. “I think they are taking advantage of their celebrity to influence their fans to think like they do. I don’t go to concerts to hear ideology I go to listen to music.”

It has gotten to the point where political commentary has been a target of mockery. The aforementioned Stewart has co-authored a book entitled “America” which pokes fun at the political debate in the country. The new film “Team America: World Police” opened last weekend grossing a total of $12 million. The movie is an equal opportunity political offender mocking both the self righteous jingoism in America and the self righteous activities of some of Hollywood’s most liberal members including Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon and Michael Moore.

Surprisingly, even family entertainment has come under scrutiny for partisan content. A recent article in “The New York Times” pontificated on the conservative political ideology in Disney’s upcoming film, “The Incredibles.”

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