The U.S. media (broadcast, print, and major online news) has
evolved into a sophisticated system that shapes the nature of which topics are important in the culture at large. The system works so well, that it
has successfully killed the chances of a political candidate with phenomenal cultural buzz, in favor of candidates who will apparently result in an
election race with the highest potential for optimum ratings and revenue. As we examine what's going on, keep in mind this 2006 article from the
Washington Post: Money's Going to Talk in 2008
Some months ago, I viewed a highly interesting video that compared Google Trends
results of the various
candidates. While I'm having difficulty recalling the source of the video, it's been a curiously enticing observation in the back of my mind for
some time. For those who are unfamiliar with Google Trends, it provides an interesting look into the popularity of select keywords and phrases, based
on Internet searches, and comparing those with the frequency of occurrence in online news sources. It provides a handy way to compare cultural
zeitgeist and Internet meme against mainstream news... a means far more accurate than any political polling system as it reviews the search habits of
millions of people every day.
Here is an example of comparing a name (Paris Hilton) that is wildly popular in the contemporary cultural lexicon to a news term (Iraq War) with a
high frequency of occurrence.
You can clearly get a sense, over the past five years, how the celebrity, "Paris Hilton", has become very popular within the culture, more so than
interest in information about the Iraq war -- despite a much higher frequency of occurrence of Iraq war-related news. (The news reference volume graph
is vertically compressed as compared to the search volume, so the scale will be different.) The key here is to illustrate how a term (person in this
case) is popular within the culture, and how that popularity can transcend news coverage.
With this in mind, we can query Google Trends and examine a conspiratorial angle long discussed on sites such as ATS, under-coverage of the Iraq
This graph clearly shows that the Internet culture/zeigeist is far more interested in what's happing in relation to the "War in Iraq" than they are
in "terrorism". However, the news organizations strive to ensure we're more concerned about "terrorism" and the "economy" than the invasion and
war in another country. This is a fine example of how the currents of the culture may run contrary to what is being reported in mainstream news.
Similar results are seen when we examine Iran in the news and culture.
The topics of terrorism and Iran are getting significantly more coverage in mainstream news sources... with a heavy influence on cultural buzz related
Now let us compare how news of the war fares with the front-running/popular presidential candidates with the buzz in the culture.
Not really much of a surprise here, is there? As soon as the mainstream media places more importance on the three "most-news-worthy" candidates, the
cultural buzz of Internet searches sways away from the war, and toward the candidates. An interesting item is that peak for Mr. Obama in both news and
culture, I wonder if it has anything to do with his
performance? Let's keep that thought in mind
as we move forward.
Let's redirect our focus to the front-running Democrat candidates for the 2008 presidential election.
The large scale of the post-January peaks distort some of the early comparisons, but it's exceptionally clear that Hillary Clinton is the more
popular candidate in regards to early cultural awareness. Mrs. Clinton's cultural popularity through Internet searches leads the other candidates by
an apparent wide margin... that is, until news of Obama's improved fund-raising hits, and the media delivers more attention to Obama than Clinton.
This comparison graph shows a very clear trend, once the news focuses on a candidate, the candidate who was previously popular in the broader culture
begins to loose their buzz advantage. This is an important observation to keep in mind when we review the republican candidates.
Here is where it all gets exceptionally interesting for those who consider contemporary conspiracies, the republican candidates, and the cultural buzz
surrounding Ron Paul.
Here we see a stunning manipulation of cultural meme/zeitgeist by mainstream media -- the burying of Ron Paul. We who follow events of conspiratorial
nature know well the unprecedented cultural popularity of Ron Paul going into December of 2008. This graph shows a stunning cultural awareness of Mr.
Paul through an amazing amount of online searches, contrasted by an equally stunning lack of news coverage. But... surprise, surprise... Mr. McCain
experiences an exceptional peak from mainstream news, that just happens to coincide with
that he's the leading Republican candidate
when it comes to funds raised. Or at least... that's what you've been told to think --
was actually the most successful fund-raiser for the
Here is an opportune moment to pause and reflect. Based on available data and an analysis of the cultural awareness, Ron Paul heads into early 2008
with both a fund-raising and verifiably unprecedented cultural advantage. Unfortunately, he's unfit for promotion by the mainstream news for some
unknown reason, and as news coverage increases for other Republican candidates, the cultural buzz for Ron Paul begins to fade.
With that in mind, let's lump Ron Paul in with the other three candidates the mainstream news has told us are the clear front-runners.
At the very moment the mainstream media begins its first peak with Barack Obama, Ron Paul takes his first dramatic hit in the cultural department.
Paul's next big cultural awareness loss directly coincides with news coverage peaks focused on the other three candidates. As the months wear on, and
the mainstream news tells us there are only three, Ron Paul continues to fade... despite having a near twenty-to-one cultural advantage prior to
January of 2008.
These clearly illustrated trends indicate two media-related conspiracies of this 2008 election season.
Conspiracy One: The Burying of Ron Paul
Long speculated as a multi-faced conspiracy of the "Powers That Be" controlling aspects of the
"Mainstream Media", the candidate with a lead in both cultural awareness and fundraising is systematically removed from the cultural buzz
surrounding US politics. And while some nay-sayers may speculate that Ron Paul's popularity was artificial as a result of bloggers and
Google-bombers, consider this:
Among the millions of US Internet users conducting searches on Google every day, Ron Paul was more popular than Paris Hilton between October of 2007
and mid-March of 2008.
Conspiracy Two: The Media Has Selected Your Final Candidates For You
Despite excellent opinions, policies, and platforms from several
candidates in late 2007 and early 2008, the news media coverage focused heavily on the three (non-Paul) candidates with the deepest pockets -- or in
other words, the three candidates best-positioned to spend the most on advertising. News coverage of the candidates had nothing to do with who had the
more aggressive platform, security strategy, or economic plan, and everything to do with who is able to commit to more advertising.
DISCLAIMER: Before you dismiss this as another lament for the lost opportunities of the Ron Paul campaign, the data speaks for itself. I personally am
no fan of Mr. Paul and many of his positions. However, one cannot ignore the stunning wave of cultural resonance apparently inspired by his refreshing
(added requested change to thread title)
[edit on 25-8-2008 by SkepticOverlord]