Luke, look at the size of that head!
I saw a reflection of myself in the bus window this morning. I thought, in a few years, that long hair will be a tangle of gray. That face will be lined from the intense heat of the barbecue flame. I’ll look like David Carradine, pacing the sidewalks, chattering to myself, an empty bag of mysticism.
For the past two weeks, distractions have gotten the best of me, weakened me, and dimished my role as an informed citizen. My news consumption became erratic. I have not been able to read The Sunday New York Times for two weeks. I have drifted into the territory occupied by the folks that political pollsters like to refer to as “Low Information Voters.”
Must… fight… back….
Good lord, what was all of that Anthony Weiner excitement about? Did he murder someone? I turned on the TV news one morning for a few moments during my accidental exile and baby-faced MSNBC correspondent Luke Russert was complaining that the New York congressman had lied to him. OK, Luke, here’s some Journalism 101: All of those politicians you interview? They’re lying to you every day.
I did check a few news web sites while out patrolling the Oort Cloud, just to make sure some key city hadn’t been wiped out by a tsunami or tornadoes or the raging Mississippi River. I noted that a new scientific study warns that the ecology of the oceans is much worse than anticipated, and mass extinctions can be expected. National Public Radio reported that climate change is accepted by fewer Americans now than it was five years ago, and that most people in this country are unaware that 97 percent of American scientists agree that it is a threat to our planet.
One news site reported that only two contestants in last weekend’s Miss USA pageant believe in evolution. And one of them was Miss Alabama, hailing from one of the country’s third-world states.
Theoretically, we should be getting smarter. We’re not. I blame:
3, Fox News. 2, The Internet. 3, The mainstream media.
Fox News, because its falsehoods are computer chips in the brains of its viewers. Honest, hard-working people who believe that the president is a Kenyan. That the health insurance law creates “Death Panels.” That climate change is a myth. And Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. My mother – a coherent, 83-year-old nice lady – believes all of this because she heard it on Fox.
The Internet, once heralded as giving everyone a voice, has become a morass of lies and misinformation. Any point of view that you want to believe in can be substantiated on the Internet. You want to proof for your suspicions that giants once walked the Earth? It’s true! Click here: Big Dudes.
The mainstream media, because it doesn’t fight back. Rather than leading, investigating and reporting the truth, it simply follows. Each day’s news seems to be constructed around by one common phrase: “A new poll says….” As if Miss USA knows anything about evolution. Except you, Miss Alabama.
Luke, don’t just repeat what they say to you, like you’re passing on a conversation in the health-club locker room. Present facts, not opinion. When John Boehner says we can cut the national debt by not raising taxes, ask him, “Mr. Boehner, when in the history of all of the world’s governments has that ever happened?” The answer: Never. Be a reporter, not a gossip columnist.