Monday, June 23, 2008


By age 50 you cross over to that point in your life wherein you are settled in for the last lap or three. It is not a bad thing - it is actually quite refreshing and liberating. But it also means you have history behind you. One of my favorite things to do when I am cleaning is to listen to the old Edward R. Morrow recordings from London during WWII. Journalism was different back then. Even the Herald was a different paper. I like going to the library and reading the old papers from the 40's and 50's on microfiche. It was a different time and grammar and structure mattered.

The reporters walked the streets in search of reliable sources. You did not find them hobnobbing with politicos in hopes of getting an official leak. Journalists today are lazy, and unreliable. Journalist care more about being liked and the invitation to the next big party than getting to the real story. They are worse than the politico who takes gifts, because they claim the politico is influenced by the gift while denying the need to be liked by politicos or accepting invitations to their parties has any influence on the way they report.

The other day Fox news put up a picture of Governor Perry 4 times with the designation (D- Texas) Accuracy means nothing to these people. Lou Dobbs is always getting in trouble for citing sources from racist organizations. His excuse is always the same - when we realized who they were we withdrew their comments. The problem is - he believed the comments because they supported his racist mentality.

Journalist, bloggers, commentators and people are all basically the same. We tend to look for anything which supports our preconceived ideas. In most cases our minds are shut to anything which is contrary to the result we wish to accomplish. While this disappoints me in people and bloggers, I expect more from journalists and nationally recognized commentators. I personally believe public universities and schools have become a joke, and I would never send my child to either. As such we can never expect any semblance of intellect from a graduate of a public university or school. Yes this sounds elitist and it is. But conversely, I believe you can take these same people and bloggers and put them into private schools which emphasize critical thinking, ethics, and analytical model building and you will get a better person.

When Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas came out with his book he explained that he blamed affirmative action for why people never saw him as an accomplished student, and instead always saw him as black. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since he graduated law school. The lense of bigotry through which we see each other is pervasive in our society. So called, but false, conservatives hailed Thomas for his honest words concerning affirmative action.
These same so called conservatives are now denouncing Michelle Obama because in her senior thesis as an undergraduate she stated that the entire time she was at the university she was always viewed as a black person and never as an accomplished student. How is this a great revelation when Thomas says it, but evidence of being anti-white when Michelle Obama says it?

While Thomas was correct in his position about affirmative action causing people to only see him as black, he was wrong to assume that things would change by abolishing affirmative action. Affirmative action was an excuse to see him as black - without it they still would have only seen him as black.

The lense of bigotry through which we see each other will not go away just because we change laws or make new laws. Some people cannot be changed. Some people just hate because hate is all they know. Some people only know deception and lies because they cannot compete intellectually with their adversaries. But some people can be changed. If we are willing to have frank and honest discussions about these matters people will begin to see that the problem is with the lense through which they see people.

Along these lines journalism has failed us. How journalist have handled Obama is just an example of the many problems facing journalists. The complexity of the race question has been reduced to poll after poll. We should be talking about Clarence and Michele and their respective experiences and ask - have things changed? Everyone understands the news media is in a free fall towards self destruction. I would submit the blogosphere has crashed and burned. Locally most blogs only have between 150 to 200 regular readers. Since I have not been able to install blogger analytics I am not sure of my exact readership. In a city of 170,000 people, an audience of 150 to 200 people is tantamount to no readership.

My friends do not read the blogs, newspapers, or watch the news because most simply do not believe a word they read or hear, so why bother. The blame for the total lack of credibility belongs to everyone equally on the left, center, and right.

The problem we have is, we have no hopes of solving major problems such as the oil crisis, because nothing we read or hear can be considered trustworthy. So basically - people are tuning out.

Our best hope is any newspaper or news outlet firing all of the journalist and starting over with new people who will not hobnob with the politicos and simply go back to reporting the facts instead of snippets which make the editor or their sources happy. In the end without editors who are going to reject stories until the journalist gets all of the questions answered, the news media will continue to devolve into chaos. Intelligent people know that trustworthy is not something you associate with journalists, commentators, or bloggers. If this void of integrity in journalism lasts much longer, the worst of the worst will control the radio waves, the news media, and the blogosphere. No one will believe a word they say, but conversely the truth will never be told to the people.

The bottom line is- people who hate read hate blog, people with low self esteem read attack blogs which never focus on the substance of the issues of the day. These people seem to feel they can raise their low self esteem by hating others. Basically, just because people are reading the blogs does not mean they are having an influence. Sometimes an open minded politico might read something and say - hey he is right and then bring it to the table. People with rare exception are only attracted to what they already believe - so there is no real influence. Until the mainstream news media can find a way to shock us into thinking, more and more people will just tune out.

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