Friday, March 25, 2016

“Distracted from distraction by distraction” ― T.S. Eliot

We, the residents of the United States, have entered a period in our life that will baffle the historians of the future.  Like lambs being led to slaughter, we have been led into a mêlée where the citizenry cannot win.  And leading the way, that we blindly travel, is not a charismatic leader, not the leadership of the Democrats or the Republicans and not the current candidates running for President; our ‘bell cow’ is the ‘media’.

We are experiencing the most pungent use of ‘yellow journalism’ than ever before in our history.  The honorable charge of a Journalist is to provide the general public with accurate and helpful information.  While I believe that there must have been some Journalists in our past who upheld this honorable position of trust, I am convinced that today most Journalists have lost their way…..and yet we follow them, regardless of the destination; and it matters not which brand of media you prefer, as they all – the Networks, Newspapers and Online presentations, are creating a product of dangerous and false information.

Why is the foregoing happening?  Because it has become more important to Journalism to produce ratings and advertisers, than the truth.  To do that, sensationalism must be embraced rather than objective journalism; and that seems to be what the public wants to hear and see – because that’s all we see and hear.  How strong of an example is this week’s worldwide coverage of a man sitting in a tree, in downtown Seattle!  There was no reason that the world needed to see such coverage, yet all of the Networks covered it and the Public, like sheep, were glued to their Televisions and Radios, asking “why is he up there”? 

The greatest contributor to the lack of objective journalism has to be the age of technology, where anyone – including me – can be a Journalist; or are we really Journalists if all we are doing is spouting our opinions?  Walter Cronkite said “Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine”! 

I admit, I am a blogger, not a Journalist.  My writings are developed, usually after I have become so disgusted with what I see on the internet and the national media.  I don’t use the backdrop of a crashed airplane, starving children or burning buildings, to get your attention.  I think; and I try to get you to think, even if in the end you don’t agree with me. 

I don’t care about ratings and I don’t sell advertising!  My copy is not embellished by pretty colored pictures, depicting the ‘good guys’ and black and white pictures depicting the ‘bad guys’, and I don’t use misleading headlines.

Recently on Facebook, there was a political cartoon showing a crowd of people pulling down the statue of the Thinker, a bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin.  The irony was not wasted on me.  My opinion is that the crowd, in the cartoon, did not represent the general public, the ordinary citizen or our children.  The crowd represented the current state of the News Media!  Society is looking on, while the inspiration to think, is being pulled down before our very eyes by those who are supposed to provide us information that causes us to think. 

Because of our refusal to think for ourselves and allow the media to tell us what is or is not right, another quote begins to ring loud and long:  We are not educated well enough to perform the necessary act of intelligently selecting our leaders….. Walter Cronkite.