Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Mockery of Media

Ah, the news media, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse I introduce News personality Bill O’Reilly. Normally I don’t waste a thought on Fox News because giving mental focus to the brainless is a pointless exercise.  I try not to even give Fox News attention in their attempts at fear mongering and revolution building. It is how you handle a bully; you ignore them and they will go away.  Unless you are Bill O’Reilly and then he will hunt you down and threaten you until you see things his way.

 

A young female blogger had the great audacity to challenge Bill O’Reilly in her blog and how did Mister O’Reilly react? Not by clarifying or standing behind his show or his word, no he had his producer stalk the woman and threaten her to take back her words.  This actually, thankfully promoted UPS to withdraw their sponsorship of the show. It’s bad enough when the media is twisting truths and distorting the facts, but how bad can it be when the media stalks people who disagree with their stories. Let me define this for all those who live their lives by the dictionary. This is fascism (Fascist movements oppose any ideology or political system that gives direct political power to people as individuals through elected representatives rather than as a collective nation or race).  Terrorizing people not to speak out against you resembles tactics used by the Gestapo.   Should we tolerate this behavior by our press and media?  And if all these media folks value freedom of speech, then they absolutely must accept the freedom of speech to those who challenge their ideology.

 

And today the Bill O’Reilly’s publicity spin has begun. Apparently the Internet empire of Yahoo supports O’Reilly’s fascist tactics by giving him today’s headline story and his new campaign to boycott movies made by Sean Penn. You see, according to Bill O’Reilly Sean Penn does not deserve a voice to speak his mind or express a difference of opinion. He is only one of the greatest actors of our time, why allow him to think and express himself?   Sean Penn and the rest of us must succumb to Bill O’Reilly’s ideology, or else we pay the consequences.

 

The one thing for all to remember, to make the effort speaking or writing their mind, someone will always disagree. Often time it is not the disagreement that matters it is the quality of the argument. If you can debate your ideological opponent with respect great things can occur, but if you need to express your view point with aggression or condescension you are only proving your own points show no merit.

Advertisements

Anarchy of Ideas

This blog may meander a bit in meaning as I am trying to wade through the vast amount of expressed ideas. Over the past couple months in regards to our government, the media and the internet I have found a vast number of people expressing their points of view and boasting their expertise to others. In a way I find this comical with so many experts and so many ideas, but no one is listening or respecting another. Free speech is great but is it possible to go too far?

I have been questioning corporations, the government, and the media and in some cases even fellow citizens, but honestly I have to say many in positions of power frighten me. Many in government are speaking in terms of treason and evoking citizens into a revolution against the government. We have heard such talk from Governor Palin and others, but the person who strikes me the most severe is Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. See below.

I understand the fear of change, but just because there are different ideas for progress doesn’t mean they are going to destroy the fabric of our lives. Change is good, regardless of how frightening it can be. I honestly to not think fear of change should be a reason for treasonous banter.
Now look, honestly I was not a happy camper during the last eight years of the Bush administration, but never have I or anyone I know spoke of overthrowing the government, although at times I threatened refuge in Canada. My question is in a democracy when the majority has voted and the current administration has a very high approval rating how does promoting revolution make any sense? If you honor democracy, even though your party lost, how can you deny the very fundamentals of the process? I apologize to all those out there who voted for McCain and the Republican party, but get this-you get another chance in four years.

I am not a person who gets caught up in watching television, but I found myself addicted to the Showtime hit, The Tudors. And I asked myself, how would King Henry the VIII handle those who disagree and promoted revolution? In watching a rerun of season one, the show made mention that even imagining the king dead is treason. Yikes! Thankfully for all of us, we have won our independence over the British monarchy, but my question remains; should treasonous talk be allowed, or should it be tolerated because we have free speech? Doesn’t that strike you as frightening? When does this talk become destructive to the nation? Perhaps, if we value free speech, those in promote treason and revolution need to hear our free speech-Stop the fear mongering.
But once again I believe we need to not only hold those accountable who speak irresponsibility, we have to monitor ourselves. With twittering and blogging becoming an obsession to say exactly what is on our minds at any time without the consideration for another is dangerous. There is a deep desire in everyone to express their expertise and ideas, but we can’t lose sight of the respect of others, or else we will find ourselves with anarchy of ideas.

Hey Media – Perhaps the President isn’t that into you

Ah, the poor mass media is feeling like the girl who doesn’t get asked to dance as President Obama is taking his “press” conference to the American people. Personally, here’s my take for what it’s worth. With the media today, how can you possibly trust the news is being presented honestly? So if you have a message to the people, and you don’t trust the messenger, go direct; cut out the middle man. In the age of the internet and social networking, the media needs to be careful or they can find themselves completely irrelevant. If your message can be broadcast direct with little to no cost, without having someone twist or distort, why go through the media? Going through the media today, is like trying to communicate with your fellow employees through the company gossip.

As mentioned previously, I have personally witnessed three different versions of the same story on the different news networks. Who do you believe? Do you believe the one that affiliates with your personal political party? Do you watch and trust the one with the best graphics and special effects, or the star personalities? And how as a nation can we unite to solve today’s issues, if we have to sort through media crap. Someone once said to me, who had a family member in the military, “You would be shocked what our government is actually doing in the world?” This was in 1988, you can imagine what our government has done in the past couple decades. Meaning, the American people are pretty much left in the dark in regards to the news.

Today, in regards to the Tuesday’s presidential press conference, CNN Ed Henry set the example of what I believe of what is wrong in journalism. The challenge was why did it take President Obama so quick to react to the AIG bonus? The quick retort from President Obama, “I like to understand a situation before I speak.” Wow, what a concept; thinking before you speak. But of course to save face Ed Henry and CNN promoted as a gaffe. What I’d like to point out, the media and the news is looking for headlines, quick bites and gaffes to broadcast and spin. They’re not looking for answers, they want the scoop and they want to paint in a headline. They want entertainment and they are to improve their ratings.

So today, the unprecedented Presidential internet press conference, President Obama addressed Americans direct questions, that weren’t spun by news reporters to support their political or corporate agenda. It was refreshing and now Americans can say we truly have a voice in our nation. And if people in the media were smart, they may wise up and start having some accountability in their reporting.

Our Nation and the Square Deal

square-dealWhat happened? America has come so far yet at some point, we have gone so far astray. It is insane to me what is happening in our corporations, our government and our media. Many are quoting the constitution and the wise words of our forefathers, but everyone is doing so to twist some sordid agenda. Greed is obscene in our corporations, our politicians are promoting agendas for power and the media, and well many in the media are just flat out lying. If to truly call ourselves patriots shouldn’t we be honoring exactly what our forefathers intended and not trying to rewrite history?

Once again, as I have been struggling to find meaning to blog. Today I found inspiration in Teddy Roosevelt and one of his quotes in regards to the “Square Deal.”

“Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense.”… “We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.””The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.”

It is amazing to me the words of Teddy Roosevelt, president at the beginning of the Twentieth Century resonate the wisest and strikes the heart of nation’s issues today. When have we lost our sense of decency, fair-dealing and commonsense? In all facets that govern, finance or broadcast to the American people, we are falling seriously short of this ideal. It has come a time when we can’t take any man’s word for certainty, our government, corporations or media.

The last sentence strikes me the most in regards to our nation’s welfare. Welfare, a word that strikes discord in the minds of a many Americans. Welfare today is considered a bad word, but it was something promoted by a republican President. How have we become a nation that does not care for the welfare of a fellow American. We invest so much in the charities that we forget that basic charity begins at home, in our neighborhood and our country at large. There is a saying, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Well, it seems America has a lot of weak links. And there is another saying, strength in numbers. The American people have the numbers.

Here is my square deal. We are a democracy and Americans have control over all above facets that govern, finance and broadcast. In regards to the Edward R. Murrow speech I have referred to time and time again, perhaps Americans have become too complacent and allowed our government, corporations and media to “rough ride” all over us. But remember, this is OUR country, we do have the power to hold those who take advantage of their positions accountable for their actions and words. It is the voices of the American people that must resound louder than all who have access to a microphone. And remember, it isn’t always the loudest man who is the wisest. Sometimes the quiet man who says nothing, but listens is the wisest man.

Money – Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

judgeOne of my biggest gripes especially today is the judgment of the finances of others. Many judge the rich, and many judge the poor. Honestly, in my life time I had friends who made significantly less salary, but were much better with their money and those friends who made more money but were financial knuckleheads. I for one, never judged another’s handling of their finances. It was and is their business and none of mine. But in today’s economic climate many find pride in their finances, handling of credit , savings and blah, blah, blah and use as a s sense of pride to criticize others who struggle. This pride does no one any good.

One of the reasons I don’t judge is because I don’t see money being a human quality. I don’t judge someone by the money they have in the bank, I judge them by the quality of their character. Money is a piece of paper that signifies a monetary value, but it doesn’t suggest how you earned that money. I’m sure many feel the same but we get caught up in the stereotypes; rich people are greedy and poor people are lazy when neither have to be true. Some rich people are very lazy and some poor people work very hard for their money, therefore impossible to judge.

It is impossible to judge another on the finances and money without knowing anything about them. Rule number one, living expenses differ immensely from one part of the country to another. Living in Topeka, Kansas costs significantly less than New York City, therefore it is impossible to place judgment without knowing where they live. Secondly, you can’t judge another without knowing all their bills, mortgages, credit card bills, school loans, hospital bills and the list continues.

I think this has greater impact with what is happening in the country, as there seems to be budding class struggle. I have read one man’s judgment on a family who doesn’t have any credit cards and lives truly on what they earn. I have read articles where reporters blame average American’s for the credit crisis and well, no one can help blame the corporate managers at AIG.

So many quick to promote values, values of having money, the value of not having money. Perhaps we simply have too much value for money. Maybe we should shift our value to people and understand that we are all different, have different goals, desires and dreams for living. Just bear in mind, judging another person is in itself an unbecoming characteristic, judge not lest ye be judged.

Media Does Matter – Reliable Sources?

As I was drinking my morning coffee blog ideas flowed through my mind, but when I opened my email I read an update from the group, “Media Matters,” a source that provides the facts that were miss-reported and untwists broadcasted lies. It does by providing the entire transcript of a television broadcast. For people in the media who miss use their profession to promote their agendas, this can be highly disconcerting to see your propaganda in writing. Many hope to inspire people to their cause by emotion and to bypass truths. When the television is turned off who really cares what was said? They only care emotion was stirred. This is the danger of our news media today. They are not promoting fact, they are promoting emotion.

What prompted my blog today was a Media Matters email on CNN Tucker Carlson and his never-ending grudge of Jon Stewart. You see it was Jon Stewart who went on Crossfire and challenged Carlson and Paul Begalia for being a “danger to America.” Shortly after Stewart’s appearance, the s how was cancelled. Jon Stewart definitely hit a nerve with CNN.

Here is where it gets interesting and the reason for my blog. Apparently since the interview with Jim Cramer, Stewart has been taking punches from CNBC Executive Jeffery Zucker. He has been discredited as being a comedian and should not be taken seriously. Sad, the executive of CNBC needs to say this in defense of his network, but hey-to each his own. Being that Stewart is now apparently ripe for the picking, little Tucker Carlson decides to step up and take aim for what happened four years ago on Crossfire. Basically Tucker had a grudge against Stewart all this time, but didn’t have the balls to say anything until Zucker made his criticism.

The twist of this comes when Tucker Carlson is distorting the facts of the Stewart/Cramer interview the show Reliable Sources. Tucker, dude, you falsely promoted a truth on a show called Reliable Sources. How can you be reliable if you don’t tell the truth. I understand, a comedian gave you a lesson in journalism, but instead of blaming the comedian, perhaps you should try to be a better reporter. Here is how many deal with criticism. They don’t take it to better themselves or at least look in the mirror to see how they can do better, they decide to take aim and lash back at the critic.

Here’s the point of what is wrong with the news media today. If you spend most of your energies telling stories and promoting your agenda instead of the fact and the truth at some point you will become unreliable and just flat out wrong. It is human nature to have an opinion and to hold a certain ideology and it is human nature to want to promote thoughts, but that becomes a dangerous deal when our ideologies are challenged and we end up having to lie and be deceitful in order to make our position seem credible. If you have to lie and distort the fact to present your ideology, perhaps it is not the facts in questions, perhaps it is you.

News Media – The Man in the Arena

Oh, oh, oh, Olbermann! Yes! Yes! Yes!  There is reason Keith Olbermann is on cable news, mothers cover your daughter’s eyes and cover your son’s ears, Keith Olberman is about to give a special comment! Man is that hot. Why is he so sexy? It is because he is delivering the news and he is giving it to us straight, gloves off, not pulling any punches and honestly looks a little spent afterward. Now that is what I call news.  As Edward R. Murrow would deliver a special comment with controlled excellence, Keith Olbermann is hell on wheels going down a ski jump. And I just love it.

I have been having difficulty writing this blog and the topic may beyond my reach as I try to pull, Teddy Roosevelt, Edward R. Murrow, Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart into one beacon of example. It comes from men who have spoken out against injustice and the main in a fierce, no holds bar approach. After my blog on CNN, I was greeted the next morning by a bit of Karma and it came in the form of a quote from Teddy Roosevelt with the basic premise, who are we to criticize the man in the arena, but also how do we voice our dissenting opinions without insult?

 

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

 

Jon Stewart made mention after his interview with Jim Cramer, “I hope that was as uncomfortable you, as it was for me.”  Debate and dissent is rarely ever comfortable and enjoyable, especially for those involved, but then where would humanity be without debate and dissent. Americans would be still living under British rule, slavery might still exist and women may still not be able to vote. Anchorman, comedian, President of the United States or plumber it is our right as Americans to voice our opinions.  If news pundit and talking heads can “guess” at the news and other voices just flat out lie and distort the facts to promote their agenda, than so should a comedian press a hard case in an interview and an anchorman can make a special comment.

But I think it goes a little deeper in many forms which could prove a subject for an entire book, let alone a blog. We have incredible access to criticize opinions and worst we can do so anonymously.  We can criticize someone’s opinions and even make it personal if we can’t comment intellectually and we can do this from the safety of our keyboard without even giving our true identity. (And credit cards companies promote the fear of identity theft). What if someone steals your identity and uses it to insult another on the internet? Ah, that’s something you probably haven’t thought.

With so many twittering in 140 word bite or many getting their news from a headline or sound bite what content and truth are we really absorbing?  This is why I get so excited when someone speaks and speaks brilliantly. And not only are they speaking brilliant they have the courage to not only use their real name, but on television and voice their opinions that may be unpopular or provoke retaliation. That is what I call courage.

                I believe there must be a place for dissent and protest whether it is editorial or satire. Without being challenged we can never grow, improve and innovate. How can we have healthy debate and discussion in our country if there is an overwhelming lack of respect for opposing viewpoints and ideologies?  How can we watch the news when pundits are “guessing” on what will happen or what is going on behind closed doors?  How can we go on, if we have immunity to the truth and to facts?  It is vitally important today we have the facts and the American public is immersed in honesty and fact, if not we should succumb to the corruption and continue our lives in the minds and ideologies of others. I think its time we move away from the spectacle of “lights and wires in a box,” and be illuminated by content.