Only the educated should vote?

The Seattle Weekly’s Knute Berger sent a missive down from his pedestal today that ought to piss off anybody who seriously studies the news media and the political process. Let me repeat something I’ve written previously. Historian Christopher Lasch said it best. You can track the decline in participation in the political process in this country with the rise of the professionalization of the press. Mr. Berger proves Lasch’s point:

It’s not the job of the media to try to improve voter turnout. Our job is to inform, not implement. In this country, you’re free to vote or to not vote. And Americans want it that way. An ABC News poll in June asked voters if they liked the idea of a small fine being imposed on people who don’t vote, like they do in some countries. The results: 72 percent said such a law would — what’s the technical term? — suck. That’s right. Our right not to vote is sacred, too.

Besides, shouldn’t it be the accuracy and quality of the vote that concerns us, rather than the amount of voting? More voting doesn’t necessarily mean better government. And youth voting certainly doesn’t. Richard Nixon lowered the voting age to 18 and guess what? Young people voted for Richard Freaking Nixon. Every time I hear some bozo talk about the importance of the youth vote, I remember that fact.

What a self-serving bunch of crap! He’s concerned about the “accuracy and quality” of the vote. Walter Lippmann would be proud. Lippmann believed the people were (mistakenly) being led around by myth and stereotype and needed a professional élite — among which would be the press — to show them the way. In other words, the people are too stupid to play any role in running their own lives. This despite the fact that we’re a government of the people, one in which everybody has a voice. Let’s face it. Lippmann’s social beliefs were designed to serve himself and his élite cronies. They are the ones for whom the “accuracy and quality of the vote” are paramount, because, after all, that means the only people voting will be the ones who agree with them. Oh boy.

Read the rest of Berger’s rant. It’s entertaining, if nothing else.

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