The American democracy assumes that people pay attention, and vote in self-interest.
The people I know get most of their news in snippets. In little bite sized chunks. During election time, you'll get maybe 8-10 minutes of coverage per day on what this or that candidate says during whatever speech he's giving.
Almost no coverage is given to the real issues. The American people rely on the media. The media is a product of how the American public consumes. In my experience, most people I know are really busy. Busy with work. Busy with kids. Busy with education. Busy with play. I don't think people have the time and patience to really dig deeply into the important issues of the day.
So what we have is a war of propaganda. Neither side feels obligated to tell the whole truth. I don't see how you can adequately cover an issue as complex as the American situation with Iraq over the last 15 years if each and every segment has to come in 2-5 minute chunks.
If you want to have an educated opinion, and a background, you need to spend more time figuring out why things are the way they are, and how you think they should get better. But since most people don't have that time, the issues are reduced to mere propaganda.
The supreme example of this propaganda, in my humble opinion is Fahrenheit 9/11. It was widely lauded as a moving documentary. It won awards. But it was clearly NOT a documentary. This was nothing more than slick storytelling, created by fact twisting, fact omissions, and misrepresentations.
When you see the movie, you come away feeling almost scared. You might think there is some unnamed conspiracy involving Bush and the Saudi's. Yet, clearly, Moore had no other point other than to rally people against Bush. Truth was not his object.
Here is an excellent review of the facts of the movie. It's a long read, but then again, that's the point of this post isn't' it?
Moore's movie got huge press, and presumably had credibility based on his previous movies and the fact that it got so much renown. It's safe to say it held a large influence on the American voting public.
My point is: If you can't expect the American public to deconstruct that movie, you cant' expect to have an informed electorate making informed decisions in this day and age.