Flipping through the array of news channels available on satellite television, one cannot avoid the idiocy of the human race.
Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Ebola, new dictator in Turkey, remnants of Hurricane Bertha, typhoon in Hawaii, Tea Party, US Congress.
The only good news is that I’m flying off on vacation soon to a placed untouched by all the above…
I do not understand why politicians and companies always announce that they will be making an “announcement” or reveal the contents of major speeches before the speech. What is the difference between the announcement of the announcement and the announcement? Both contain the same information...which makes the formal announcement not news, but rather old news. Shows how dumb these folks are...
Fox News reported (before providing their opinion) on tomorrow’s launch of Al Jazeerah America. Of course, they stressed that Al Jazeerah played Osama Bin Laden’s tapes, which makes them an ally of terrorists, as opposed to being a news organization with a scoop.
AJA’s expressed plan is to focus on news, not opinion, which will make them different than US media organizations, all of which have cut back on news gathering. All major networks are owned by conglomerates, who demand profit from all units. News costs money and does not bring much revenue, so what little news programming left must be made more dramatic, which means less news and more polemic.
Al Jazeerah is owned by the emir of Qatar, who has deep pockets and little interest in profit, or so it seems from past performance. I like to watch the channel, because they provide news, not all of which is pleasant or of interest. They have staff throughout the world and are not afraid to dig deep. Their reporting of the United States is far more truthful and less candy coated than any provided by an American company.
I will be interested to see how many intelligent and discerning folks still reside in the country of my birth: viewership numbers will give an indication. Of course, I expected that much will be done to ensure that as few households as possible have access to “real news”.
Scanning headlines today, I was--as I am most days--the little content is real news. Who cares about the silly old man, who lives in an opulent building in Rome paid for by poor people, has forgiven his butler (Who has a butler?). And, the fact that one Hollywood is divorcing another should interest only friends and family, not take up space in a newspaper. Of course, newspapers are used by hagiographers to erect myths, such as any story about members of England’s “royal” family...especially phony exploits during military service. (These people, who made their fortune plundering weak nations with weapons, continue to glorify brutality.)
My favorite headlines from today’s Onion, where humor can be painfully true...
Atlantic City Faces Long Recovery Before It Can Start Destroying Lives Again
Romney Pitches In To Repair Thousands Of Downed Romney-Ryan Lawn Signs
Nation's Lower Class Still Waiting For First Mention By Either Presidential Candidate
Did anyone miss something about politics, politicians, or government—whether humorous or not?
I didn't think so. I certainly did not reading any of the garbage I usually share with unsuspecting readers. Even the funny bits can be depressing, because the best satire contains a bit (or a whole bunch) of truth. I prefer to stick my head in the sand and doubt that my life will change for not knowing. When the shooting starts, I will notice and keep my head down.
Unfortunately, several of the best writers touch on political topics. I enjoy their writing, even if I deplore the subject. One must take the bad with the good…if wants to find any good.
I get a little bored with reading headlines, day in and day out. Usually, all the usual suspects make the line-up.
Today, some new items have floated to the top of the sewage, which makes reading a bit more interesting. Berlusconi will finally bit the bullet, unable to pay off enough people to sustain his stranglehold on Italy. Michael Jackson’s doctor is guilty...of being Michael Jackson’s doctor. I cannot imagine any doctor refusing the guy his fix. And then there’s Penn State, where someone noticed business as usual and found it unpleasant. Football, the king, is dead, long live football. This year’s Republican Cain (the one without the Mc) is surprising people, because he acted like a Republican male. Oh, and an asteroid is approaching, which could mean that I will not have to write this foolish blog for much longer...
Reporting of the on-going turmoil in Libya is fairly similar between television news channels. Some spend more time on it than others, and some reporters are simply better at war reporting (more objective and less breathless, impressed by their own faux bravery). Lately, reporters have come to don helmets and bulletproof vests to prove that they are near dangers. This is patently different from earlier war reporting, where it was badge of honor to taunt danger and dress the part of foreign correspondent.
Something else new to the 24-hour cable news genre is anchors travelling to hotspots to have their face imposed upon the turmoil in the background. (Daily Show does this more cleverly using blue screen.) I do not know why these people must waste travel expenses, because they do not do better than their colleagues in the field, who are pushed to the sides...or closer to the front. There are some very brave, intrepid reporters, who do not get anchor roles (beauty before bravery).
Women reporters are particularly interesting to watch. I was amused to see one Sky News (UK) anchorwoman, dressed in spotless cliché blue helmet and vest on a Tripoli rooftop far from any shooting, breathlessly reporting tidbits feed to her by TelePrompTer, which had been sent in from her colleagues closer to danger. This was clearly contrasted by the brave BBC women in the thick of things, with bullets whizzing over head and fighters rushing past or crouching in the background. I’m sure that the Sky woman had her hair and make-up staff (flown in with her and put up at the same luxury hotel) complained about the helmet destroying her hair, while I have never seen the BBC woman (who’s been turning up in all the war zones for years) ever seem to care about her hair...which is probably why she does not get an anchor job.
Not only have I been moving from one universe to another (as previously revealed), but I have also left the known world behind. I have no idea what is happening in a world unknown to Americans (except when there is a plane crash, tsunami, or terrorist bombing). There was a brief mention of a bomb blast in India, before talking heads quickly returned to familiar territory called “Casey Anthony” (if you don’t know, don’t ask!).
Americans exist in a small place—no larger than about a 50-mile radius of where they live…disturbed by an occasional rant about Washington, New York City, or Hollywood. Local news—shootings, fires, car crashes, shootings, robberies, shootings, some civic highlight, shootings—fills the half hour (minus advertising for cars, insurance, and medicines) allotted to non-entertainment. The only major “foreign” news item this past week was William and Kate (no explanation needed!).
It’s no wonder that politicians make such dunderheaded foreign policy decisions or mind-boggling declarations to moving cameras or open microphones: neither they nor voters that select them have a clue about issues, background, or history.
At the moment, partisan politicians are too busy playing chicken with the future of the country’s well-being. Party politics is more important than people, because politicians know that most voters are more interested in hearing about J. Lo’s split from her husband than trying to understand economics (beyond the word taxes).
By chance, sitting at the beach and reading The New Yorker, I came across the following quote in an article that illustrates the above rant:
“All my life, I’ve rarely looked at television, never read magazines,
never got newspapers, never listened to the radio. I knew what was
going on in my world and that sufficed. I did my own thing.”
Sufficed? I feel sorry for such people. No curiosity. What a boring life.
(Nb. It should not surprise anyone to learn that the bible plays a big role in this person’s life.)
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.