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.



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