The Max Headroom television series provided us with a dystopian vision of the future in which credit fraud was a more serious crime than murder, turning the television off was illegal, and network executives would do anything to increase their ratings for a few minutes. Oh, and every television network had its own political candidate. At first, of course, I merely thought this was as clever and funny idea. But now I think they may be on to something.
People are always questioning whether a given news station or program is biased. I remember hearing CNN being called “The Clinton News Network.” Regardless of what shows or anchors say, being biased is part of being human. By being aware of our bias we can limit its effects. If CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc. each picked their own political candidate and used their air time to advocate their cause, think how many issues that would simplify.
First, you would always know up front what the bias of each station was. They could provide you the least biased programs about their candidate and the others, but you’d always know exactly where they stood.
Secondly, replacing the two party system with an N-party system based on a network would provide more choice. There was a Simpson’s episode during the Clinton/Dole campaign where a reporter asked Dole, “Why should we vote for you instead of President Clinton?” The alien doppleganger who’d replaced Dole replied, “It doesn’t matter which of us you vote for. Either way your planet is doomed. Doomed. Doomed!”
Third, there would be an automatic equality in campaign advertising. A network could go to 24 hours a day campaigning if it wanted to–although they would probably lose viewers that way.