Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Welcome to Lowball

The truth plain and simple is not something that is in doubt. You can argue the facts of any situation, but the truth is not open to debate. Why then do the major cable news network spend so much time arguing about the truth. There are no death panels in the health care legislation. That is the truth. How many times have we heard "debates" over the past couple of months about this very thing? President Obama was born in the United States. That is the fact and yet lunatics, including members of Congress, get to go on TV and argue this very point on a regular basis.

Do you know what wasn't the truth? Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and yet there was very little debate about that point when the President said it, even though it was later proved to be absolutely false. Are we now seeing a backlash from the press against its negligence to question what was coming out of the White House during the Bush administration? Is the press trying to make up for being asleep at the wheel?

Roman Polanski plead guilty to a charge of having sex with a minor which was the least serious of the six initial charges that arose from his drugging and then raping a thirteen year old girl (consensual or not, having sex with a drugged and drunk 13 year old is rape by definition). He served 45 days under psychiatric observation and then was to return to court for additional sentencing as deemed necessary by the court. Apparently under his plea deal, he was not supposed to serve any additional time. The Judge in the case, who undoubtedly committed some major misconduct decided that he didn't want to go by the agreed upon plea deal and so Roman Polanski fled the country after being released from psychiatric observation, but before appearing before the court again. He is therefore a fugitive from justice. That is the truth. He is a convicted felon who decided to flee the country when faced with more possible jail time. Yet the networks have committed air time to having people try and debate this issue. There is no issue. He pleaded guilty to a crime and then ran away before facing sentencing. Period. It does not matter that the now adult woman (who received a very handsome settlement from Polanski) wants the case dropped. It does not matter that those in Hollywood decided to give him an Academy Award for his direction of the movie "The Pianist". It does not matter that he made "Chinatown". It does not matter. The truth is that he is a fugitive from justice. Period. There is no debate about that, so why would you put two people on a major news network to debate the point.

When the news networks give equal weight to both the truth and whatever made up nonsense can be spewed against the truth, they play a major role in undermining that truth. When they make fun of the crackpots (like the insane woman who keeps on coming up with Kenyan birth certificates for Obama), they legitimize them by giving them air time and allowing their message to be heard by millions of others. It would be the same as if Chris Matthews were to allow a serious debate to take place between the people who believe the earth is flat and those who know that it is round. The argument is ridiculous on its face, but by giving them equal time you legitimize the ridiculous.

It is unfortunate indeed that the news organizations didn't do a better job of questioning the Bush administration when they had a chance, but to turn that mistake into a free for all maybe even more damaging to the American public. Isn't there someone in the morning production meetings of those major cable news networks who will stand up for the truth? I understand that the 24 hour news cycle forces each network to search for stories to cover, but there are so many worthy stories. The networks are not only guilty of laziness, they are guilty of trying to appeal tot he lowest common denominator. How many follow up stories have been done about the murders that took place during Hurricane Katrina that went unpunished. How many stories have been done about the fact that our public education system is falling apart? How many stories have been done about the fact that our Constitutional rights are under constant attack? I don't have any specific numbers but the answer is too damn few!

There are a hundred legitimate topics that the news organizations can point their cameras at and yet they chose to show us debates about the truth and present that as real news. When will this stop? When will our news organizations once again try to give us the news as news and not as entertainment. There are lots of network shows that I can watch or hell I can even rent a movie if I want to watch something for the sake of entertainment. I watch news networks because I want the news, not so that it can compete with the latest blockbuster from Steven Spielberg. Let's focus here people. The times demand more than we are being given. The stakes are too high for our only real inside view of the politicians, that are going to decide the fate of this country, to be looked upon as just another chance to entertain the lowest common denominator.

26 comments:

SJ said...

@Mycue,
-well said, well written.
We must get out of the habit of accepting one meaning for another just because the TV said so. We have to drop this idea that there are opposable viewpoints to every aspect of reality; all that does is insure that someone will always be lying.

While there may be many sides to the truth, there is only one side to the facts.

-SJ

Beach Bum said...

Adding you guys to my blogroll. SJ, sorry it took so long to drop by.

Vigilante said...

Yes! Very well said, Mycue23. Speaking for myself, I don't watch network news at all except between innings of the L.A. Dodgers' games. (And the way things are going, that won't be that much longer.) Electric news media are chasing ratings, not the truth. They are trying to save their asses from the new on-line media. They serve their audience so badly, it's almost as badly as Congress. The people are so much ahead of Congress on health care and Afghanistan, that it's pathetic, what with these knuckle-dragging Blue Dog Democrats. I don't see how some of my on-line comrades can bare to watch teevee without a barf bag at hand.

Vigilante said...

Unsolicited advice to Administrator: Consider taking comment moderation off this blog. It suppresses spontaneity, and it is unnecessary! (You can always delete what you don't like!)

Jack Jodell said...

Great having you back, Mycue23, and I think you really nailed it here. I have long criticized 34/7 news stations for being shallow and not broad enough. Instead of investigative journalism we are in dire need of, they often present spectacle or conflict and try to frame their presentation as entertainment. When they DO dig into a story, they tend to beat it to death and/or turn it into an either-or, he said-she said, Democrat vs Republican debate. They never resolve the argument and instead cut away to endless commercials. This is news?

We are being severely shortchanged by cable news. We get very little news from them compared with what we could and should get, because they are far too repititious. Whatever became of background, history, and fact? Is that the sole domain of Jim Lehrer or Bill Moyers? I'm sick to death of pretty boy/pretty girl talking heads who read and reread the same old shallow stories. Who the hell made Pat Buchanan an expert on current events? It's absolutely disgusting.

Why the hell don't we get regular, in depth reports on what is going on politically and economically in each individual state or country? Why is it that the only time we get information on specific foreign countries is when there is a natural catastrophe, an uprising, a political assassination, or a war? Why doesn't cable news do in-depth reports on the leaders and happenings in Soth America, Europe, or anywhere else?

You have presented a nice cut-to-the-chase post here, Mycue 23. You should have your own show and network, and I mean it. Yours would be far more relavent and informational than crap like Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace, Glenn Beck, Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, or most of the rest of that cable garbage!

Mycue23 said...

Thanks for the comments. Jack, I've just been busy with some other stuff, but I hope to try and keep up with SJ from now on. Vigilante, we used to allow all comments, but we really got some crazies. That hasn't happened much since we limited comments to people who had to identify themselves, so we might rethink that policy. As far as news goes, It's a real shame that Bill Moyers, the Newshour and BBC America are the only places you can turn to find news and commentary that actually try and report and analyze the facts rather than turn them into spectacle.

SJ said...

@Beach Bum,
We're honored. I'm a fan of your blog. Many thanks.
-SJ

@Vig,
as Mycue, the blog's founder mentioned we're thinking about it, I used to mix it up with anybody who came on here and could get pretty aggro myself (see the post last year on Jesse Helms' death right before the fourth of July when a law professor tried defending/downplaying Helms' true legacy), but beyond Far Right supporters and Ditto heads, we had real, legitimate, certifiable crazy people posting without giving us a way to respond to them.
One guy recently wrote us that we'd better watch out for the cloned superhuman workforce coming out of China.

-Can't make that shit up.

-SJ

Mycue23 said...

Beach Bum and Vigilante, we have added you guys to our blogroll. Thanks for the great comments and keep up the good work.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Absolutely AGREE AGREE AGREE on all issues stated! Pointing cameras at legitimate topics is lost in broadcast journalism... BBC can be trusted to give you the day. We grow weary of the 'talking heads' and their fascination with their own voices. I still catch Keith / Rachel (actually tivo them and edit) off and on. I read more blogs than I do listen to the news any longer. Good stuff!

Oh, and SJ! Cloned superhuman workforce out of China? Perhaps they can afford to house and feed since they have that wonderful People's medical program in selling human organs? Think that sort of Healthcare package would appeal to the Republicans? We could posit a new program here where the uninsured / poor might 'donate' a kidney for treatment of a family member for chemo? (yeah, this healthcare thing has got me pissed... I'm a cottage company owner who is appealing to Medicade because can't afford insurance and had emergency surgery a year ago...let alone the injustice of a nation that allows 144 people a day to die from no coverage.) GEESH! Great post guys!

Vigilante said...

For what it's worth, my comments on comment moderation from more than a year ago.

SJ said...

@Gwendolyn,
You're one of the millions of people underrepresented in this whole debate.
You are one of the "small" businesspeople that Republicans claim to defend.
It's a disgusting situation and it's indefensible. Sorry to hear of your challenges with the system.

I guess the "attack of the clones" from China isn't that nuts an idea in a nation that still floats the term "death panels" in the media as if it were anything other than a figment of a delinquent Alaska Governor's puerile imagination.

-SJ

Mycue23 said...

Vigilante, you have convinced me. Comment moderation is off. You can now give us your best with the knowledge that it will immediately appear on the site.

Mycue23 said...

Gwendolyn, thanks for your comments. I am thrilled that you stop by to read our random thoughts. I have always found your posts to be filled with such genuine emotion and wonderful writing. I strive to do the same. Thanks again for coming by.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Mycue23- Ta so much! I've got ch'all on my blogroll... I actually have a 'family' of friends who never comment (hardly) online but who keep up with most of the posts and they now read Jack, Vig, BB... my sister loves Mad Mike...Stella's sites are being purloined with links by some of my pals onto FB. LOL Our words go out there and we don't really have an accurate knowing of how far they spread into cyberspace...ya know? You gentlemen have another of the content savvy and well thought sites! I come by when time permits me ...regular, like stopping by Sozadee with an evening cocktail!

SJ-It's the 'small business' folk who actually the largest group of 'liberals' by my count. I don't mean to sound 'woe is me' ... just upset in this continuing HC drama. Dang.

Vigilante said...

I heart U, Ms Barry!

MadMike said...

What an excellent post! I agree with all the comments and Jack said it quite nicely when he said what you have posted is more relevant than the legion of Right wing talking heads. I am glad I stopped by and will do so on a regular basis. I will also be linking you to my blog!

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Heart U right back, Vig!

For the record: properly tattered and well framed on my wall is my old house flag; royal blue background with a rocks glass/rocks included in gold...name of the vessel, "Piece O' Whiskey"!

My way of saying it would be a pleasure to actually sit and have a drink / or club soda as it allows / with any of you all! I only have a day or two a month nowadays I do so... but my, wouldn't that be yawl?

MadMike said...

Hey Gwen....Is your sister single?:-) Regardless I am much complimented. Thanks!

SJ said...

@Gwendolyn; and Jack, Vig, Beach Bum, Mad Mike, Will, Oso, Stimpson and others-

I raise a glass to anyone who loves their country, and their world enough to say the unpopular and inconvenient things that need to be said. It's tough thirsty work, it gives us headaches, but remaining silent while lies are repeated everywhere around us is no alternative.

Cheers to you all.

-SJ

Mycue23 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

My page has been opened, as I've worked today, to Random Thoughts ...watching comments come up... y'all make my day cheerier... and MM... yes she is! Though, she's a full time acupuncture student, full time football hero mom and full time help at the bench with me (when I can get her here)! She's a Leonine giant of energy.... AND the 'bat signal liberal' who's mouth knows no shut nor off position.... LOL Generally, she's Trouble with all capital letters!

I keep thinking I'll hear a bell from my open mac with a 'happy hour' call from SJ or Mycue23 sooner or later today.... :-)

Mycue23 said...

Gwendolyn,
I was just waiting for an invite. Trust me, if I was anywhere near Florida, we'd be sipping a few cocktails before the evening was through.

Mycue23 said...

Thanks for the add (I'm an idiot. proof reading was never my strong suit.) MadMike! We do appreciate finding so many who are thinking for themselves.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm with you 100% on Polanski, S.J.. I was absolutely flabbergasted that Chris Matthews was able to find ANYBODY to come on his show and defend this frigging child molestor (get 'em wasted 1st, of course). And the fact that Willie Brown was one of them totally shocked me. Mr. Brown had always come across as such a reasonable fellow before. Maybe it's time to reasses that assessment, too.

SJ said...

@Will,
Yeah, that was a pretty inarguable post by Stimpson.
If that girl was a daughter of anyone arguing for his clemency, I'm sure they'd change their tune immediately.
Bottom line, one law for everyone, everywhere, rich or poor, famous or unknown, talented or undistinguished.
-SJ

Jack Jodell said...

A toast to all of you, as well! We sure hang out at the best places, with the best company, don't we? My hat's off to all of you---keep up the great work!