Over the past 2 months I underwent a transformation. I became part of “the Press”. As a Camera Operator for the HuffPost Originals Series “New Hampshire” I filmed 2 months of political chaos leading up to the first in the nation New Hampshire Primary.
Step One – After just a few days of filming GOP candidates I was glued to every news article posted about the election. At the gym I couldn’t take my eyes off of the screens playing MSNBC and CNN. Not only did I recognize everyone and know their names but I also knew their wives’ names, how many kids and grandkids they had, what political office they had held, and a good portion of their stump speeches.
Step Two – I was listening to the debates …as entertainment? Due to the hectic schedule I had to listen to them in the car. I knew everyone by voice alone. I could predict how they would answer (or NOT answer) the questions before the moderators finished. When they floundered I felt kind of… bad for them. Seeing them in real life and filming them up close I began to feel like I knew them.
Step Three – I woke up thinking about them. Stump speeches played over and over in my mind as I got out of bed and ready for another day. The primary was getting close. What would happen? How would it affect the general election? I scrolled through my facebook feed in search of a dank meme or bad lip-reading that would remind me of the absurdity of the media frenzy to which I was contributing. After work we hit the bar. “Excuse me, bartender, would it be possible to maybe, turn off sports and change the channel to CNN for us?” My transformation was complete.
After the NH Primary I found that I am much more interested in this election than I ever imagined. I’m slowly recovering from my experience, but there are many lessons I will take with me. One thing I was reminded of is our power as media makers. What we choose to show or not show has incredible influence over the public. If you want to be an informed voter please do whatever you can to see as many candidates as you can. See them multiple times. See them with your own eyes.