An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Keith Olbermann’

The Ultimate Truth about “Fair” Reporting

There was a great quote that was said by an equally great man.  It was William Faulkner, the American writer and nobel prize laureate.  This quote really symbolizes exactly what needs to be talked about when it comes to the news.  The quote goes as follows –

Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.

Brilliant, isn’t it?  And he’s right.  The fact is that facts and the truth are usually mutually exclusive.  Centering this concept on the field of journalism, there is a great truism that journalists need to accept – objective reporting is worthless and impossible.

Addressing the second concept, it is impossible to seperate yourself from what you do.  Everything we all do comes from a subjective point of view.  If it were actually possible to seperate the needs of the self, then the problems in this country could be fixed in a day.  But it isn’t.  It really would be nice if it were possible, but there is no way that it could be.

To the first point, fact-based reporting, exclusively fact-based reporting, is nothing but a worthless joke.  Ted Koppel wrote an article in The Washington Post about how “real news” is dying thanks in part to the political commentators on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.  In his mind, there is this objective place where the news people only reported facts, and that was it.

But Faulkner was dead-on.  The truth and facts rarely have much to do with one-another.  And all the great reporters through history didn’t depend on facts to make their points.

When Edward R. Murrow was going after the McCarthy machine, challenging the government, everyone told him how he was editorializing.  Well, yeah, he was.  He was taking information in, digesting it, coming to his own conclusions, and giving them to the public.  He had the truth on his side, too.  What McCarthy was doing was wrong.  The war of words between the two of them was not only a testament to great journalism, but to a great man, fighting against all odds, and winning.  Murrow and his battle were part of what broke McCarthy, and brought sanity back to this country.

Or what about Walter Cronkite and his reports talking about how the war in Vietnam was a lost cause?  He didn’t just give facts.  He told America that there was no way that we could win this war.  The only thing we could do is to walk away, not having failed, but having done the best that we can.  Stalemate was the best that we could hope for.  It was a very unpopular thing to say, but it was truth.

While we are talking about unpopular statements, how about H.L. Mencken and his reports about what was happening in America during Prohibition?  His reporting was viciously cold and very real.  He knew from the beginning about what a farce this new law was.  He knew that the business would continue, unemcumbered by these new laws.  It was all a complete joke.  As you can imagine, this was incredibly unpopular with the pulse of the nation which, at that time, was very pro-dry.  Booze was bad, and if you printed that it wasn’t, you were not the friend of the system.

The fact is that Faulkner’s quote was appropriate.  You can’t possibly think that the facts and the truth are connected.  During the beginning of the Iraq War, the news reported a lot of facts, but it took the BBC to report that all of this stuff was bogus.  People watch The Daily Show or The Colbert Report to get their politics because they don’t trust the people we have in politics now.  The independent media is growing because the average American is getting fed up with just being told “facts.”

Keith Olbermann was right when he responded to Ted Koppel’s article.  He had a very nice quote that surmizes this whole affair rather nicely.

These (great reporters listed) were not glorified stenographers.  These were not neutral men.  These were men who did in their day, what the best of journalists still try to do in this one – evaluate, analyze, un-scramble assess, put together a coherant picture or a challenging question using the facts as they can be best discerned, plus their own honesty and conscience.

That’s the ultimate truth.  great reporting is done from a place of subjectivity.  With the internet, we now have a point where great reporters can get us their positions, while giving us the ability to look at the information that they got, and come to our own conclusions.

Don’t just report “facts.”  It is too easy to fail to understand that the truth and facts are so completely different.  We are a better people than that.

Peace out,

Lefty

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The Occupy Movement is going to change the world

The protestors in Zucotti park have been kicked out.  Mayor Bloomberg feels no shame for his vaunted championing of Wall Street and the corruption that the banks on it represent.  As he sends the cops to do his dirty work, the protests grow ever bigger.  As Keith Olbermann pointed out in a Special Comment today, Bloomberg is only adding fuel to the fires of change.  Each day, the people are getting more and more aware of the fact that our system is broken, and if it is to be fixed, they have to get involved.

The great movements have been spawned from people like those who began Occupy Wall Street.  The war in Vietnam was ended by the young getting the old to stand up and to say that it was enough.  Walter Cronkite was also a big help, but I won’t stroke the ego of my field of study too much.  The Civil Rights marches were about the young getting the old to stand tall.  And when the system put them down, it has always only made the movement grow.

It would seem reasonable to assume that those in power simply never learn.  One of the basic bits of human psychology is that we will rebel against oppression.  Those who are being tear-gassed in Oakland, and those who are beaten in New York City are drawing more into their fight every day.

The police are not innocent in this.  In fact, their complacent acceptance of the orders they are being given to attack the people who are protesting makes them as much of villains as those who are ruthlessly gutting the middle class, not caring about the lives of the people that they destroy.  They are fighting for the system, ignoring their mandate to protect and serve.  Like Bloomberg and his open servitude of Wall Street, they are criminals who should be standing with the people, not against them.

There was a rather clever poster by one of the Occupiers about the cops – these guys are one pay-cut away from joining us!.  Touche, Occupier!  But what started as an event that was being ignored is being breathed new life into every single day that the cowardly police and the malicious government officials are putting them down.  It is amazing how these people are able to somehow rationalize the actions that they perform.  A vet gets his skull cracked open, it was “necessary.”  Innocent people who have done nothing to harm anybody are being shot by bean bags and rubber bullets, well, it was “within the bounds of authority.”  Well, I must have forgotten the part where attacking the innocent for no reason was a good thing.

But these people shouldn’t be villified, they should be thanked.  Each time they do their villainous deeds, more people are joining the movement.  When Bloomberg makes back-room deals to make sure he can serve three terms as mayor.  When Bloomberg has his people acting like book-burners with the books at the Occupy Wall Street movement.  When Bloomberg is taking away the generator that is giving heat to the protestors, and basically trying to freeze them out.  Whenever Bloomberg, or any of those like him choose to make a stand in defense of a system, using completely unnecessary force to put the people in their place, more come!

So let’s not villify Bloomberg, let’s thank him.  This idiot has made this movement bigger than it ever could have been.  If the media had simply ignored it.  If the media has simply chosen to not pay attention.  If Bloomberg has simply chose to not care, than the fickle and pathetically dim-witted American public would have just forgotten about it by now.

But Bloomberg chose to be stupid.  He chose to do something that was obviously a bad idea, and now, the movement has grown well beyond New York City.  It is going to change the world!  The movement is everywhere.  It is all over America, including here in my home city of Anchorage, Alaska.  It is across the world.  This movement is now so much bigger than the original architects could have possibly imagined.  They couldn’t have comprehended how this movement could have grown so large.

This is exactly what the world needs.  Now, more than ever, things are becoming worse for everybody.  Obama and his cowardice to do any positive change for the better in this country has been bad enough.  His Healthcare Reform bill was a birthday present to the private insurance companies.  Wall Street reform was a birthday present to Wall Street.  Credit Card reform was worth something.  That is the only saving grace of President Obama.  Were it not for the fact that not a single of the front-running candidates of the Republican Party have any credibility whatsoever, he would be in real trouble in 2012.  The fact is that he is a failure, and all of America will reap what he has sown.

In the meantime, this movement, and all the others like it, are what this country needs.  And it is what this world needs.  More and more groups are coming behind it.  Anonymous has pledged their support, and is showing the world the truth about what is happening.  Voices like Keith Olbermann are coming out in support.  The world is changing rapidly.  For good or bad, time will tell.  But one thing is certain, Occupy Wall Street has changed the game, permanently!

Peace out,

Lefty

#OccupyWallStreet, revolution in its infancy, or just a game?

This is the question, isn’t it?  This is something that America has been needing for some time, yet the horrible truth is that every effort to ignore this has been done.  Not only that, but the private army of the status quo, aka, the cops, have been used as a weapon against a completely peaceful protest.  At this very moment, a live stream feed is going out.  The link is here (http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution).  Now, like any protest, there are those who are involved who are very well informed, and there are those who are not, but the point of interest in all of this is that these people are being ignored, and cracked down upon.

It all began as a #-tag on Twitter that I saw.  I didn’t even know much about it until a few friends hit me up with some links.  Now it has become one of the most horribly disregarded events in American history.

Keith Olbermann talked with filmmaker Michael Moore about this on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.  This event is not being televised hardly at all.  Egypt is going through a massive revolution, and it is given almost constant coverage and being critically examined.  Here we have a group of people who are just as dedicated to making social change.  Or are they?  That really is the question that does need to be addressed before the people of this country actually critically examine these efforts.

It is not a myth that our country’s economics are broken.  Our nation’s infrastructure is falling apart.  We have candidates like Ron Paul who wanted to completely destroy it and take this country back to feudalism.  Then we have candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry who want to make the people of this nations servants to their religious views.  And each of them has their own cultish following.

Part of the problem in this is that those who claim to support the views that the people who started this had are not giving their support.  Current network is the only one that I have seen giving this some legitimate coverage, aside from PBS, BBC, and NPR.  The corporate media is almost nowhere to be found, unless you count Fox talking about how these people are all just idiots.  But in government, where are they?  Well, since the mayor of New York blocked this peaceful protest off before it even got started, the answer there is pretty simple.

And does Wall Street take it seriously?  No, they do not.  They laughed at the protestors.  The agape jaws of our economy don’t ever take the people seriously.  This brings us back to the question – what is this?  The big hope is that this will grow into the seeds of a revolution.  It must be a peaceful revolution.  We can’t afford to let ourselves get violent about this, because that will make them crack down further.

If there is to grow into something more, it needs two things – more people, and some of those in power giving their support.  That is it.  That is what is needed.  Occupy Wall Street could be the start of something more.  It could be the start of a nation-wide effort to let those in government know that we have had enough, and we want some global change.  To date, it is being ignored, lambasted, and cracked down on.  Over 100 arrests, including those who were making efforts to get information out, like the members of Global Revolution.

Honestly, perhaps Michael Moore had the right idea, if this is to be the seeds of revolution –

I would encourage people who watch this show to think about – okay, you can’t make it to New York City, but there’s a branch of Chase bank in your town.  There’s a branch of Bank of America.  And there’s nothing preventing you from organizing a demonstration outside that branch.  With signs, with possibly even civil disobedience, to make your voices’ heard.”

At the moment, this is not a major thing.  At the moment, this is just several hundred people.  If this is to be something more, those who endorse the cause have to get down there, or do what Moore is suggesting, and make your voices heard elsewhere.  That is my thought, anyway.  I am glad that this is going on.  For a long time, I didn’t think this nation had it in them.  America, it is time to make your voices heard.

And if nobody steps up.  If nobody chooses to make the decision to pursue this further, then it was a game after all, and the revolution that this nation needs will just be ignored.

Peace out,

Lefty

Glenn Beck Comes Back to Bash Oslo Tragedy Victims

One would think that after his fall from Fox News, nobody would be hearing this man coming back onto the airways and doing more of what he does best – demagoging for his old white audience.  Really, the fact that his audience has to go to be bed 7:00 pm doesn’t alarm anybody?  Although, it was Keith Olbermann who has coined the greatest moniker for Glenn Beck – Lonesome Rhodes Beck.  If only there was a clip from the movie where Olbermann got this nickname from.  Alas, the only thing that one could find was Olbermann explaining his position in a vlog he had before his return to television.  Here is what Walter Matthau’s character said to Lonesome Rhodes in the film –

Suppose I tell you exactly what’s going to happen to you?  You’ll be back on television, only it won’t be quite the same anymore.  After a cooling off period someone will say ‘why don’t we try him again, in an inexpensive format.  People’s memories aren’t too long.’  And in a way he’d be right.  Some people will forget, some won’t.  You’ll have a show.  Maybe not the best hour, the top ten, maybe not even in the top fifty.  You’ll have a show, it just won’t be quite the same as it was before.  Then a couple of new fellas will come along, and a lot of your fans will be flocking around them.  Then someone will ask, ‘whatever happened to, what’s his name?  The one who was so big, the number one fella a couple years ago.  He was famous!  How could we forget a name like that?”

It is almost prophetic, but low and behold, apparently Glenn Beck actually did get his 24-hour network.  It’s only on the radio, so nobody cares, but hey, it exists.  So it was kind of prophetic.  And after his descent into the relative obscurity, you would think he would go away, but lo’ and behold, Glenn Beck is back doing what he does best – making a tragedy all about him.

The tragedy that is being referenced here is the terrorist attacks in Oslo, Norway.  In this attack, a man named Anders Breivik used a car-bomb, killing seven people, and then subsequently did an attack on a youth camp for the local Labor Party, killing 85 people.  He was arrested and looks to face a very long time in prison, and rightfully so.  He deserves to be put in a place where he will never see the light of day again.

But when this issue came to Glenn Beck’s attention, his response was a little bit different than one might expect.  A person would naturally expect somebody to be remorseful, sad, or even at least a little bit phased by the events that took place and all the lives that were lost by a maniac who believes that he was doing the right thing.  Instead, his response was heartless, horrid, and not worthy of even the slightest bit of respect.

I don’t think we made a comment on it because we didn’t know other than there was a bombing that happened.  And as the thing started to unfold, and there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler youth, or whatever.  I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics?”

That’s right, Glenn Beck has actually made a point to call out the kids who were killed in this attack and make a reference to them being the “Hitler youth.”  This is sick in a way that is not deserving of any respect, or even for people to talk about it respectfully.  This is sick.  And what’s more, the fact that when people rightfully jumped on the bandwagon of this man, he decided to talk about who the real victim of this tragedy in norway was – him.

They’ve been taking something that I’ve said completely out of context, and they’re trying again to destroy me.  Give it your best shot, gang!  You tried to get me out of the mainstream media.  Be careful what you wish for, because now I’ve got a 24-hour a day, seven days a week network!  Oh wait, in a year from now you’ll pray for me to be part of the mainstream media.  You’ll pray…”

People won’t be praying for you to be part of the mainstream media, Lonesome Rhodes, they will be praying for you to shut and leave the rest of us alone.  Glenn Beck’s 24-hour network is nothing but an internet pay-per-view network.  How many people will want to hork out their cash for this man to spew his vitrial for very long?  Economic situations are pretty bad.  If the Tea Party Republicans decide, as they said they would do in an article in the Anchorage Daily News, to prolong this battle past the August 2nd deadline in order to make the House Republicans more compliant with their demands (there are signs they won’t take that route, or that at least a few are deciding not to), nobody will care about Beck’s network.

And nobody already does.  It has been on for over a month, and nobody cares.  Nobody cares at all about this man.  Like Lonesome Rhodes, someday people will ask what happened to him, but nobody will know, and nobody will care.  But back to the matter at hand, comparing the victims of a tragedy to the Hitler youth is absolutely unacceptable.  It is unconscienable.  There is absolutely no reason or excuse.  He can claim to be taken out of context all that he wants.  The fact is that Glenn Beck has said something, finally, that all the anger that people have is justified.  Of course, the right-wing blogosphere came out in support of Beck, talking about how he was right to compare kids to the Hitler youth, that a political camp is a bad thing.

But wait, does anybody remember that 9/12 campaign that Beck had run?  He had a camp for kids in that package where he talked about his political views.  The only thing worse than being a bleeding hypocrit is trying to get on the cross for something that you know you are guilty of too.

Peace out,

Eli

Partisanship has Always Been Around

So, I got the most recent edition of the paper when I returned to UAA to resign my contract for the next year.  Annoying, but whatever.  I got to read an article written by a very articulate and very passionate writer at The Northern Light named Brett Frazer.  He wrote a very good article, but I will admit that I do disagee with parts of what he says.

His article talks about partisanship in this country, and how it is a very big problem that people are not devoting enough time to thinking about and not realizing what a dangerous issue it actually is.  I don’t disagree with his conclusion, just some main points.  And since I’m always looking for a new concept for my professional blog, I thought I would address that.  Here is giving a shout out to Brett Frazer, for giving me today’s blog idea.

In any case, partisan warfare has always been around, in my opinion.  The only real difference between then and now is that back in the day, they didn’t have the platform that we have in this country today.  A YouTuber by the name of Pat Condell made an assertion that the “9/11 Mosque” (the worst moniker that I have heard in a long time) divided America like nothing ever has.  But he missed it too.

The fact is that partisan battles have been going on in this country since we have had a country.  We call it partisanship, but truly it’s just different ways of thinking.  Even back when America had only one partly, the liberal and conservative way of thinking often clashed.  They clash because it is in their nature.

Frazer quoted Jon Stewart in his article, and rightly so, but there is another quote by Stewart that I think works much better to describe the modern atmosphere of politics in this country.

The embarassment is that I’m given credibility in this world because of the disappointment the public has in what the news media does.”

Stewart argued on Chris Wallace’s show on Fox Sunday that the “liberal media” that Fox so unabashedly attacks is not some huge liberal counterweight to their massively overwhelming conservative and Republican bias.  They are more sensationalistic and somewhat lazy.  He also pointed out when Wallace said that Fox viewers are happy to be getting “the other side of the story” that studies consistently show that Fox viewers are consistently misinformed.

But he is right, none of the 24-hour news networks are innocent in it all.  Personally, I get my straight news from PBS and BBC.  But I like the political commentary of Rachell Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Keith Olbermann.  I don’t like Ed Schultz all that much.  His mannerisms are way too much like a liberal Rush Limbaugh.

However, partisanship in this country is definitely not a new thing.  Back in the days before the Civil War the partisan lines were pretty clear.  Frazer quotes George W. Bush from 1992 for bringing about the huge partisan movement in this country on the premise of a kind of holy war.  While he did start something pretty major, the fact is that part of what we are seeing today is brilliant political manuevering by the conservative elements in this country.

My good friend, John Aronno, had a thought about modern politics.  It used to be in the 90’s that the Democrats and liberal and progressive elements of this country could talk about the real issues, like legalizing pot, gay marriage, getting rid of DADT (we finally got to that, but there was a gap), all sorts of things, and it was accepted.  There was real debate.  However, the modern political landscape has been for at least the last nine or ten years that the conservatives go further and further to the right and get increasingly more crazy with their ideas, keeping the liberal and progressive and even the moderate elements from not even bringing anything to the debate table.  They are kept too busy trying to stop the insanity that they can’t do anything for the issues that actually matter.

I don’t think some of what has happened with modern politics is all partisanship in the way Frazer does.  I think that partisanship has evolved into a game of chess.  I am absolutely with Frazer when I say that it shouldn’t be a chess board with pieces on one side and the other, but the fact is that this is what it has become.

But more than that, the entire system is crooked, from top to bottom.  One of the key things that Obama said during the campaign was how the problems that sunk our economy couldn’t be fixed by keeping things the same.  And now he has two of the guys who got us into this mess in the first place as his chief economic advisors.  Economic Reform was a joke.  Elizabeth Warren was put (sort of) in charge of yet another toothless government agency.

The partisanship in this country is a problem, but it is a problem that has always been around, and will continue to be around.  The biggest problem, in my opinion, is that the entire system is built around this government really working for the lobby groups, and the American people not choosing to stand up and get involved because they are so apathetic because of seeing how unpleasant modern politics is.

Another good quote from John –

The reason voting doesn’t work is because nobody does it.”

Peace out,

Eli

The Battle For Gay Marriage

It’s interesting to watch the Democrats react to the growing civil rights battle that is happening in this country.  It is interesting to see this growing battle between an old world and the new world.  The old world is gradually slipping away.  People like Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich are trying desperately not to let it go.  They want their old world because in their old world, they didn’t have to have the conversations that we are having now.  They didn’t have to listen to what they are listening to now.  They didn’t have to fight against what they are fighting against now.  The problem is that the Democrats seem unwilling or unable to also stand up and take the fight on, to fight for what is right, what is decent, and what is profoundly correct and a good direction for the future to head in.

It’s been a long time since the days of Harvey Milk.  He was the first true champion that the LGBT community had in government.  He took the fight for gay rights to a whole different level.  His famous speech that he gave, telling people that change is just around the corner, was a beacon for a community that had been leaderless and didn’t want to enter the fight.  It became the rallying cry for a group of people who were treated poorly, victims of pointless prejudice and bigotry, and really, the only reason that people hated them is because they didn’t understand them.

It is a part of human nature to hate and fear what one perceives and does not understand.  It’s not a good thing.  It is the most detrimental part of modern society, of any society, but the fact is that it is a part of human nature.  But people can rise above their nature.  The problem in the modern battle for gay rights is that Group A, that has all the prejudism and hatred, wants Group B to change.  But Group B doesn’t have to change, and they shouldn’t.  Instead, they should be the ones who have to change.

And Group A has reason after reason why they don’t want Group B to be a part of them.  They say that gay marriage somehow threatens their marriage.  They say that their religious figure calls their existence an abomination.  They says that they are going to “recruit” more people into becoming gay.  They say that being gay is a choice.  They say that it can be “cured” by making noises to their holy being.  They say a lot of things.  And now those who say those things are working day and night to make the LGBT community’s dream of being treated like human beings get further and further way.

The problem is that the Democrats are not getting into the fight, they are not supporting it publicly.  Every once and a while you get the stray senator or congressman/congresswoman who will say they are for it, but the bulk of them just say “let the states decide.”  It is the cheap way of getting out from under the bus of a changing world.  Why do they do this?  The answer is simple – they want to get reelected.  They want to keep their seat in office, and they don’t want to get all the bigots who live in this country to come out of the woodwork and make them go away.

During the 2004 election, Bush won when Karl Rove decided to make gay marriage the big issue of the election season.  He decided to bring gay marriage up in a bunch of states that would never have considered doing this before because the LGBT community knew that this would be a losing battle.  That was how Bush beat Kerry.  Cheap, tasteless, and almost inhuman, but that is how conservatives in this country operate these days.

My friend John Aronno said that the modern conservative strategy has been to fight completely insane battles for the most ridiculous and hardcore positions possible.  This is to keep the Democrats fighting it out with them, and not thinking about or trying to fight for the things that actually matter, like ending the drug war, or letting people who are different be able to marry the ones that they love.

Keith Olbermann did a “Special Comment” on his show last night.  He pointed out up-front the thing that people need to realize.  The young are starting to figure it out, but the old aren’t – that ten years down the road, this issue isn’t going to matter.  Ten or twenty years from now, gay marriage will be legal everywhere.  This is a battle, yes, but the fact is that the margin of people who support gay marriage is growing every day, not shrinking.  There is a saying that bad ideas die.  But that’s not true.  As Richard Coughlin put it, “people with bad ideas die.”

Here are the facts, as listed by Keith Olbermann –

It won’t destroy the democracy, it doesn’t destroy the family, it strengthens the institution of marriage and it’s principle premise of fidelity, and it increases the number of people living in stable and loving homes.”

That is the absolute truth.  And anybody who says otherwise is just a bigot who doesn’t seem to realize that their hatred of this group of people is not only unfounded, it is ridiculous.  But that battle needs something more in order for it to finally be won – for the Democrats to get off their butts and to stand up and say that they are in support of these people!

The LGBT community has NO true representation in Congress or the White House.  It has NO party who is directly behind them, fighting for them.  There are the odd senators here and there, or Congress people, but the fact is that they stand alone against a tide of hatred that is slowly waning, but as those who are dying away go, they are now trying desperately to not lose this America they think they need so desperately to progress.  They want us to regress, not move forward.  But life is about moving forward.  Nature is about moving forward.  Moving forward is what humanity does.

I think I’ll end this with a quote from Harvey Milk’s Hope Speech –

 I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who’ve lost hope. Be they gay, be they seniors, be they blacks looking for an almost-impossilbe job, be they Latins trying to explain their problems and aspirations in a tongue that’s foreign to them. I personally will never forget that people are more important than buildings.”

Peace out,

Eli

The Difference Between Corporate News and Real News

Fox News has had a big event that they published on their network as being one of the major campaign hits against the liberals.  Fox News Sunday had Jon Stewart on their network.  It was an interview with Chris Wallace.  This was a pretty cool interview to watch.  Thank goodness somebody on YouTube had the sense enough to post the interview.  Part one is here.  Part two is here.  This was a great catharsis for those of us who believe in the genuine media that it is supposed to be.  For those of us who believe in real reporting, who believe that political commentary can be combined with getting all the facts, it felt good to listen to Jon Stewart bash all of the corporate news networks.

Jon Stewart had a great quote about what he believes 24-hour news networks exist for.

 24-hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11.  And the type of gigantic news event that the type of apparatues that exists in this building and exists in the other 24-news hours is perfectly suited to cover.  In the absence of that, they’re not just gonna say ‘there’s not that much that’s urgent or important or conflicted happening today, so we’re going to gin up.  We are going to bring forth more conflict and more sensationalism because we want you to continue watching us 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  Even when the news doesn’t necessarily warrant that type of behavior.'”

A long quote, yes, but absolutely correct, and horribly brutal against the networks who do 24-hour broadcasts.  Sure, I get my political commentary from Keith Olbermann (so glad he’s back!), Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Lawrenece O’Donnell, but there is a reason that all straight news that this reporter gets is from BBC or PBS Newshour.  The major corporate media is not designed for the kind of news that isn’t in conflict, isn’t sensational.  Because let’s face it – the news is boring.  To most people, who don’t care two craps what happens in the world, news is not something fun.

Watch the BBC news or PBS Newshour and you’ll see for yourself.  The news is generally delievered in a monotonous way that doesn’t seem all that entertaining.  The talk in a very low-key way.  They do this because the bulk of information that matters isn’t sensational.  It’s important, yes, but it’s often dull.   Talking about politics can be pretty fun.  Finding the funny side of things is the reason that Jon Stewart has a job in the first place.  But it also needs to be taken seriously, which is how O’Donnell, Maddow, and Olbermann tend to treat it.  But the fact is that raw news is rarely a lot of fun.

You can drive in your car and have NPR playing, and most times, you won’t listen all that hard.  It’s not a bad thing to be that way.  It’s the way of the world.  You perk up and turn the radio up when something really catches your interest.  That’s how people work.  There are different things that interest different people.  But to even listen to something on a topic you like in the monotonous way that NPR reporters talk takes an amount of dedication and, I guess it would be patience, that the bulk of people in this country don’t have.  So, how does the corporate media make up for this?  They sensationalize.

Does anybody remember the backlash after Anthony Weiner was found out for having sent images of his junk to other women?  The media went off their nut about this!  Jon Stewart brought this up as an example.  After he decided to capitulate to the six-year-old (in spirit) members of Congress and step down, Nancy Pelosi was going to make a press conference.  Everybody from the major media organizations was expecting her to blast Weiner (I think the only reason people got upset about this is because the guy’s name is Weiner).  They thought she was going to come out with both barrels blazing.  And what happened?  She decided not to let the six-year-old American audience rule her, and talk about things that matter, like jobs, the economy, stuff like that.  Stewart asked Wallace what happened after she said that –

What did everybody do? (Stewart?)
Left (Wallace)

Stewart went on to make another REALLY good point –

The embarrassment is that I am given credibility in this world because of the disappointment that the public has in what the news media does.

Stewart went on the attack against Wallace, which was great.  It was great to listen to a guy who is openly a political satirist getting bitter and upset with being called biased.  He said that his bias first is comedy, next comes politics.  The problem with the corporate media like MSNBC, CNN, and Fox is that they go out of their way to make things exponentially bigger than they actually are.  Fox blew the Shirley Sharrod thing totally out of proportion.  Anderson Cooper on CNN has introduced stories in the most cataclysmic of tones that even his guests agree was nothing.  MSNBC has had Ed Schultz go off on tangents.  There is a reason that Rachel Maddow has such respect on that network – because she had an obsession with the fact, connecting dots, and getting the information to people.  I think she is the person who has done the least amoung of sensationalizing on MSNBC.

Stewart closed his interview stating that he has seen no significant change with how things are run in this country after the fall of this economy, which is a great point.

But the fact is that people believe that they are being given the correct news by the big corporate 24-hour networks, but they aren’t.  They are being given news that is sensational, and news that is often either blown out of proportion, or dumbed-down so that people won’t think about it too critically.  But people need to realize that that isn’t what the news is always, or in my opinion, even often, about.  There real reporters like my friend, Heather Aronno.  She did her first report on APRN today.  Here’s a link to it.  Check this it, it’s good stuff.  It’s fair reporting about a pretty nifty topic – teaching young people how filmmaking is done.  People think that all media is biased.  I agree, but not to the same extent that they believe it is biased.  I think true objective reporting isn’t possible, because nobody is completely objective, but I do also believe that the bias is not so big, and most reporters genuinely want to get all the facts, or as many as they can fit.

Peace out,

Eli

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