I scan many television news channels and newspaper internet editions, even ones leaning in the opposite direction from my basic values.
That said, there is one “channel” that I will not check out: The Sarah Palin Channel. First of all, how is that for hubris? Second, who cares about anything this person says or does. Anyone with half a brain knows that she is only interested in amassing personal wealth through lies, distortion, and dishonesty. Sadly, there are plenty of people with half or less of a brain, who are willing to waste money of idiocy they want to believe. This surely a scam to separate stupid people from their money.
There are few people in public life I respect less…sadly, there are a few, which shows how crazy human life can be. Although one click is surely worth very little in terms of income, even that insignificant amount is too much to contribute to this ridiculousness.
If you have time to waste and can stand listening to US politicians, pundits, and blowhards, it is easy to imagine that they want a war—the kind they understand. No more chasing towel heads in inhospitable terrain: they want a battle of tank against tank on the plains of Europe. The arsenal of conventional weapons saw little use in Afghanistan or Iraq, but Ukraine is marvellous tank country. Arms manufactures are salivating at the prospect of a “real” hot war, safely residing on the other side of the Atlantic. Armchair warriors in and around the Beltway and television studios everywhere know what needs to be done.
I don’t know who to believe, but I doubt the credulity of the Internet and US media.
I am watching the Holland-Mexico game. On the television, which is usually a live broadcast without delay, the time is 28 minutes of the first half and the score is 0-0.
On the New York Times website at the same time, one item says “live blog” and gives the score as Mexico 1, Holland 0, while an item further down the page announces that the score is 0-0 at the end of the first half.
Who do you believe? I will be interested to see the news later or tomorrow to find out what actually happened…
The most nationalistic aspect of a news program is the weather, except for international channels.
For example, weather reports show a country as if it’s an island. Germany floats on a blank canvas, with no detail beyond its borders. One would think that Northern Ireland is a small island, when seen on the weather map of British channels. The “other” Ireland has been erased.
Do these people think that the weather gods recognize national boundaries? Clouds over Germany do not extend into France. A rain shower does not dampen Austria. The sun does not shine on Holland.
It’s almost as if news people do not want to share their weather information with their neighbors.
There was a time, when a television news editor was spoiled by choice. Networks had, at most, one hour of news time to fill in a day. National nightly news was a half-hour show around dinner time, preceded by a half-hour local news, sports, and weather program aired by affiliates. An editor had to choose what was important or interesting from stories collected around the world. In the United States, the only international stories worth mentioning usually included a plane crash or some other catastrophe. Politics of other nations was never interesting and could mean loss of audience in a world controlled by ratings. Networks had to attract advertising dollars.
Now, editors of cable news networks have to struggle to fill 24 hours with something interesting, compelling, or attractive. Attracting and holding attention is difficult in a world of choice, now in the hands of viewers and not editors. On many days, there is nothing to talk about, but anchors and correspondents--if there are any--must talk all day. Increasingly, one sees the face of someone with an opinion--matter how obscure--on a Skype connection, just to fill time. I am often amazed at how some man or woman can talk--seemingly endlessly--about nothing, as if the subject is the most important event happening on the planet. Car chases filmed from a helicopter are favorites, because the commentary is simple.
I appreciate the plethora of information--if it is truly informative, not a car chase--offered by multiple outlets from different countries, because I can edit my own version. I must no longer rely of someone sitting in a control room in New York and deciding what I should or should not learn.
The only story of interest in Germany is not Malaysia, Ukraine, or Syria. These are insignificant, because a leading figure in the world of German football/soccer has been convicted of tax evasion. The president of Bayern Munich, the most-successful club in the country and holder of the European title, and the man credited with building the club into a powerhouse has been brought down by greed, arrogance, and hubris. Germans, who like to think of themselves as Europe’s most-honest taxpayers, are enjoying a bit of Schadenfreude...except for fans of Bayern Munich, who would forgive any sin of the club’s president.
One needs a strong will to keep an open mind, when confronted by media reports on the Ukrainian “situation”. If one swallows the take of a single source, whether Fox or RT or slightly unbiased channels, prejudices and biases are easily strengthened. The New Yorker tends to have a balanced view, which reveals the idiots and idiocy. One passage in a piece by the editor is telling:
But not all those most directly involved in this crisis evince an understanding of the complicated politics of Ukraine. It is worth remembering that, in the back-and-forth of Ukrainian governments since 1991, both the pro-Russian leaders, like Viktor Yanukovych, and the pro-Europeans, like Yulia Tymoshenko, have been brazen thieves, enriching themselves at fantastical rates. Both sides have played one half of the country against the other.
Sadly, political leaders seem to have fallen into the trap of being driven by biases. Sides are hardening; rhetoric is losing nuance. Hypocrisy is ruling over common sense and intelligence.
I have only one concern: will natural gas still flow freely (at a price, of course) to Germany from Russia? We have decided, after years of trouble with dependability of an oil furnace, to change to gas. I have my prejudices against gas, but dependability won out. Now that we have decided, the main route of gas--through Ukraine--is in question. Perhaps, I am at fault for the controversy. Someone is trying to punish me for something....
But, gas seems to be the new weapon. The United States wants to sell gas recovered by the means of polluting its ground water. Powerful lobbies seem to be driving policy and “diplomacy” in Washington. Perhaps, the United States dislikes Russia, because they do not buy enough. That is a better argument than the neo-con wish to re-ignite the Cold War, although not necessarily more correct.
The only news reports than upset me are ones stating that European politicians are considering using their gas reserves to help Ukraine. Russia has threatened to cut off gas deliveries to Ukraine, because they have not paid for past deliveries. If you do not pay for you electricity, the switch is pulled. Why would Germany send gas to a deadbeat country, whose citizens hate Germans but are happy to exploit feelings of guilt? Although they do not pay their gas bills, Ukraine decided to increase defense spending. Who is going pay?
Being selfish, all I care about is heat for my house. I pay my bills...
Very few people cared about the Paralympics Winter Games in the past.
Now, with a war to stir up, the media will surely ignore completely the Games in Sochi. Ironically, this (supposedly) peaceful event is just across the water from the Crimea, where different games are being played, and just done the road from from the border with Ukraine.
The hosts of the Games will be excused if their attention is elsewhere. No amount of warm words from the IOC president will affect the hotheads in capitals around the world, who prefer real war to the vicarious kind offered by sport.
Paratroopers seem more likely to make the news than para-Olympians...
Anyone looking at Google News or other news accumulators would be excused for not knowing that the Olympic Games are currently being held in Russia. This is not big news for Americans, especially given the less-than-expected success of their athletes. Stories about Pussy Riot being arrested are more important than sports news. Criticizing the Russian president takes precedent over heroics on the ice or snow.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.