What are they really saying?

 In Business
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s the 2016 GOP Presidential candidates continue to make their intentions of running clear, we have begun to see an influx of political messaging from both sides of the aisle. And in a technologically driven age of information overload, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and miss key information that is essential to making an informed decision. Therefore, it is important to take a deeper look in order to better understand what is true and what is fiction.

Whether it is a simple reply from a news reporter, a hard-hitting accusation made during a political debate or a press conference addressing a major scandal, a message is being made. Like it or not, your vote will be swayed by what you have heard and seen in the media over the next 12 months. With that in mind, below is a list of helpful suggestions.

Consider the Source.

Acknowledging the source is vital in determining the validity of the message. When you see a quote from “a close friend of the family” the legitimacy of the statement is immediately questioned. In addition, various news sources have the tendency of framing a singular story differently. Therefore, be sure to watch multiple news outlets. Turn on your favorite news channel and take notes on the election coverage that evening. Afterwards go to another channel that you typically would not watch, and see their take. Always fact-check what is being presented. Websites are created everyday with information that can be easily falsified, or misleading, with no method to determine whether the message or information posted is in anyway accurate. Instead, rely on credible new sources such as the Associated Press, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, BBC, etc. In addition, with the proliferation of social media sites, more often than not information is not fact checked; instead word of mouth is taken as fact. Therefore, checking your source becomes crucial to making an informed voting decision.

What are they trying to tell me?

Everything you hear from a Presidential candidate has been created, filtered and implemented by a team of well-versed communicators, which is why debates and interviews are an important part of the campaign process. It allows a direct line from the candidates to their audience without the candidate reading a written response. Throughout the campaign process, there is always a purpose for a platform, response, or message, which is to ultimately garner votes and win the election. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze not only what the candidate is trying to say, but why?

Does the past affect the present?

A lot of questions have been posed throughout the mainstream media regarding Hillary Clinton running against the policies of her husband. During the Clinton administration, policies such as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, limited gay rights throughout the country. Now in 2015, Hillary Clinton has been an outspoken advocate regarding the expansion of gay rights, particularly gay marriage. In addition, Mrs. Clinton will also be facing past scandals. Her response to the Monica Lewinski scandal was unemotional, short and clear: she planned to stay with President Bill Clinton, period. Some supported her decision while other feminist groups thought she was sending a wrong message to young women suffering from infidelity in the marriages. Now the question is whether or not her handling of the scandal will draw questions around her character and thereby sway voters? This is just one example of how the past can affect future politics. It is for each voter to decide whether the past stays in the past, or will continue to affect the 2016 presidential campaign.

Understanding who is delivering the message, and what is being said, will help voters make an informed decision. It is unwise to vote for someone simply based on popularity or gossip around the water-cooler. Base your vote on the issues and which candidate is the most similar to your own viewpoint. Vote for a President who will represent what YOU believe, not what media outlets, clever campaign consultants, or Facebook is telling you to believe.

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