Elections are the cornerstone of democracy. Abraham Lincoln said: “The ballot is stronger than the bullet."
Although never the conspiracy theorist; after viewing some TV Networks on the coverage of the RNC Convention, I’m close to admitting that something is clearly different in this age of too much and mis-information.
Through voting, people can voice their opinions, express their hopes and aspirations, punish their leaders, and ultimately control the direction of their nation's destiny. If those running for office aren’t able to state their positions and ideas clearly, there is no real choice and elections lose their meaning. That is why no democracy can have a state run media — or DO they?
Because of the current media; those running cannot find success in their campaign solely due to their platform and position. Much like the O.J. trial, we instead, elect upon the shiftless, spinning ground of smoke, mirrors and political correctness. The mass media’s duty is to report thoroughly and accurately what the election runners stand for. Campaign coverage is crucial because of its capacity to empower the electorate.
But much of the information we receive is secondhand — from the media. And thus, like playing telephone with a class of first graders; by the time the message gets back to you, the teacher; it’s a crap shoot. Because of time constraints and competition, journalists select the information to be reported; quickly and right from the hip.
So, of course, certain parts are emphasized, others ignored or taken out of context to fit a given narrative that fits snugly within an easily understood, if inaccurate, short list of talking points.
The only time I had the opportunity to be a TV Cable zombie, in the past, was just after giving child-birth to our twins. I’d say ‘Hush’ to the wee pinnacles of creations just born, “let your mama see Food Network as much as she can before we have to go home.” No wonder the health care system is throwing us out before the anesthesia wears off.
Never had cable until this month [and this is Puerto Rican cable, mind you]. I didn’t want to miss out on the conventions. I felt it would make us feel more connected, living abroad. I love the US system and would miss not being part of it in my own small way. As a child, in Irish convent, you had to purchase the newspaper daily and bring it into Civics class for discussion or for quiet reading. I do love this idea for schools — but how do you choose a newspaper these days that informs vs. propagandizes?
I also grew up watching Europeans drop to their knees in prayer when a newly elected President of the United States of America was inaugurated. Success in the US defined the razor’s edge of peace and stability globally — and aid to our European countries contrary to what you may believe. A keen eye was always on the USA.
People across the globe do not say it openly, but they do love and respect the gracious heart of the Americans. A huge responsibility has always been put on the U.S.
Perhaps there has been an unfair amount of burden put upon the US. Jealously and hate –this comes along when you have to make leadership decisions, choosing battles, etc. You never hear about an awkward foreign policy that went down in Luxembourg or the Chinese military intervening to protect the oppressed.
THE SLURPY, SLOPPY STARS ON CABLE TV.
For the past week now I’ve been listening intently to our reporters, interviews and commentary on the newly purchased cable package we acquired. I began with CNN, MSNBC & BLOOMBERG.
First problem: we, the viewing public, have YOU, the talking head, to watch every night of the week, if we choose to view your news network [from which viewership is waning for most stations]. But, on this night, we are tuned in to watch the speakers at the convention NOT you. Instead, we get a 4:1 ratio of media commentary: convention speakers.
Worse yet, many of the reporters have no problem throwing around smarmy remarks, displaying confident cockiness — feeling a need to rebuttal whatever policy or opinion they heard as if they were personally running against the campaign; and balancing $17,000,000,000,000 was, truly, pretty obvious to their aptitude.
Interrupting, showing rudeness and obvious distaste for the guest and laughing like little hyenas. As if I, the viewer, needed to place an importance on ‘their’ political opinion. When did this all change on TV?
Occasionally the reporters would feign their distaste by throwing in an odd compliment toward the spouse of a candidate. Or if it was a minority, such as Condoleezza Rice, they would remain PC, so as not to appear racist [while Professor Rice’s message was spot on with what the Hispanic or White Anglo just said]. Then, this is followed by a need to clarify or emphasize certain points, explain away statements that went in paradox to ‘their’ gal or guy.
ARE THEY MAVERICKS IN THE INDUSTRY?
Erich Fromm once wrote a book, after WWII called Escape From Freedom where he spoke of society’s tension between wanting freedom; yet once gained, wanting to be told, also, what to think. Our current media has assumed that we, as Americans, are trending toward the latter. This should be insulting. There is a difference between being an “outside of the box” maverick and a small minded blowhard. Fear and ignorance should not drive reporters to lie and cover-up, in hopes that their house of cards will not get blown over by a passerby’s backdraft.
Long time ago, there was a lady called Ann Doyle and she read off the news twice nightly. “You wouldn’t go astray Ann if you’d crack a smile now and then”, I used to think. Yet, look what we have now. Hardly a Spock-like objective automaton do we now see. In a recent Rasmussen poll; only 22% of Americans find the main stream media as attempting to be unbiased while 82% believe that the media fully supports our current president. Looking back I now know I ought to have appreciated receiving the news from Ms. Ann. Ann was serious, the news was serious, and she did get your attention. Because of it I think I understood foreign affairs and economic theory better.
Yes, the news broadcast was a little more formal. You weren’t side-tracked by her legs, as the table hid them. Nowadays we have beach studs and blond ladies on almost every “expert” panel and news cast. I say this because much of the news is something I want to concentrate on – it is serious business and I don’t want to miss the heart of the story as I ponder why my teeth aren’t gleaming as such.
DOGGING OUR LOCAL NEWS
MN News-broadcasters; comparatively, are perhaps more professional. I feel it is all changing though. I guess I’m not buying into being ‘entertained’ when it is the time for my half an hour of NEWS. You don’t have to be walking around, jumping, flashing the Hollywood teeth, looking or making the news sexier. Just deliver it and lay it on me brother! Buddha, Jesus and Gandi did not become timeless due to firm buttocks and hairspray.
Many of our newscasters use up valuable time, wishing one another well, wishing one another safety during inclement weather, wishing one another a great weekend, God speed, talking about the muffin they just ate in the break room and fake laughs at milktoast jokes etc. Nothing wrong with this but it leads to a ‘soft approach’ and PC reporting that has taken precedence over objective reports.
Have you noticed too, that our local broadcasters all have to be comedians nowadays or sky is falling apocalyptics, especially the meteorologists (and they really are quite funny!). Again, are we in the entertainment business or are we delivering the news? It may be unavoidable with the ratings game; and yet, it is no surprise that they caricatured this model with Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day.
Do you want objective bulletins or do you want speculation?
I ended up with a package that did not include FOX News Network. With the taste I’ve had this week from the Liberal side, I’m thinking Fox may have the same as what I discovered with MSNBC & CNN – but at the DNC.
Jonathan Swift, a political satirist said, “Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same position with creeping.”
With daunting economic mountains ahead of us, we ought not to be slaves to biased reporting. It should be raw and honest – and THAT should sell. No wonder folks are fuelled up and angry. One side says that a candidate wants to make women subservient / throw old people off a cliff; the other, that we are heading toward a Kremlinesque centralized government. There has always been hyperbole in reporting, but we used to know the National Inquirer from the legit. Nowadays, we have given up on objectivity and simply hunker down with whichever is most agreeable to our already assumed positions and the Inquirer becomes, as in Men in Black, the ‘real’ vs. the parody of news.
Is it sensible, or is it not, to pulverize people rather than discussing ideas? Do you want objective bulletins with some genuine speculation from true experts from both sides, given equal time? Or do we want the MSNBC circus …
We could do with a couple of lessons from Tim Russert (RIP) the moderator from Meet the Press. A passionate and respected journalist who seemed to not let anyone off the hook. No soft balls and gravy interviews for anyone; even though he worked for Democrats for most of his political career. A consuming passion for politics and reporting drove Russert to strive for more. Shame upon his successors at MSNBC that show such lack of honesty and professional reporting of the news.
I’m convinced this week that some on CNN and most definitely the employees on MSNBC are treating us like we are indeed, fools. Or perhaps they are only pandering to a known audience that pays the bills. And although I do not have FOX, I would guess that they may, indeed, have a similar scenario next week at the DNC where Brit Hume, Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer will all team up on some 23 year old from the March on Wall St. crowd.
Large minds talk about ideas.
Medium minds talk about events.
Small minds talk about themselves and other people.