Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meanwhile, in the Real World

I have already confessed my addiction to presidential politics, even the horserace aspects. But I might have to reject and denounce my media consumption after the embarrassing waste of two hours which was last night’s “debate” on ABC.

Almost one hour, HALF THE DEBATE, spent on political “gotcha” baloney before they bothered to ask a question about an actual issue affected by government. I expected some “small town bitterness” talk since that was the current discussion. But I did not expect to hear the words, after several other questions about him, “Do you think Rev. Wright loves America as much as you do?” Ah, the former volunteered-for-Vietnam Marine versus United States Senator patriotism-off . . . is there really any good answer here? Except perhaps “flag pins!” because I kid you not, that was also asked.

I half expected Who would win in a fight: Rev. Wright or a Bosnian sniper?

By the time they got to issues, my brain was too numbed to focus on them. Not much loss since the economy discussion centered largely on the capital gains tax—a burning issue affecting few blue-collar factory workers but 99.5 percent of debate moderators—and they also brought out such blasts from the past as gun control and affirmative action which don’t even register on the lists of issues Democratic voters are saying are important right now. Health care is high on that list but was not mentioned at all. Neither were the housing crisis, Afghanistan, education, torture, trade, or the environment. But we covered the flag pin issue!

Meanwhile, in the real world:

Truckers are beginning to protest the cost of diesel fuel, and they could halt the movement of 70 percent of the nation’s goods if they chose to.

Top Bush advisors personally authorized the use of specific interrogation techniques considered by many to be torture, including waterboarding.

Your government now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records. This may include collecting and analyzing all electronic communications into and out of a city.

The cost of basic food items are soaring, bringing fear, riots, and hunger. World Bank President Robert Zoellick has said the surging costs could mean "seven lost years" in the fight against worldwide poverty.

But did you hear about those things on the news? Probably not much. There isn’t enough airtime left after making sure we all know the Barack Obama bowled a 37 and had the audacity to request orange juice in a diner.

No, I’m not bitter. Not bitter at all.

So, the questions of the day: How do we make sure we are getting a balanced diet of news and information about issues? Do you trust the “mainstream media” to keep you informed? If not, what are you favorite “alternative” sources of national, world, political, cultural, and other news?

Back to the lighter side: There is always The Colbert Report, which is broadcasting from Pennsylvania this week. Michelle Obama (with whom I am in love) appeared this week and Hillary Clinton is appearing tonight. Who will get the coveted Colbert Bump?


Kenzle said...

Oh wmw, I love your thoughts, especially this post! They are so insightful and a unique way to look at issues that are often unexamined (particularly, as you pointed out quite nicely, by the media). =D

Happy Thursday!
~ Kenzle The (almost) Official Sociologist

Pulaski said...

Did you mean to post this in your prose and cons journal because I thought this one was about Anna?

wmw said...

It's about whatever I want it to be about. I have other friends who tire of child-rearing tales, so I like to mix it up. Of course you likewise may skip any posts you find dull or irrelevant to your daily life. :)

Anyway, technically it's about Anna's future as a person shaped by American media!

Us said...

I listen to NPR for my balance of news. And Stewart & Colbert, of course. Even though I may sway toward the Republican end of the spectrum, I can still laugh at myself!

Jodi said...

Do you ever say to yourself, "can Americans really be so silly?"
There are times I hear something on the news and think "oh...noone will pay attention to has nothing to do with presidential issues." Well...lo and behold, it turns out to be the focus of many! Even some of my "politics following" friends/family STILL think that Obama is Muslim. Good grief! Of course, I am just as irritated at those who only like him because he is "really cute!" And then there are those who only like (or dislike) McCain because he is a dominate white man, or Clinton because she is a woman.
As for me, I consider the issues at hand and examine (past and present) where they have taken stands on them. I try to avoid "Lettermen Politics" and take a more "grown up" view of the elections.
NPR did a thing awhile ago where they simply had random voices reading each of the candidates (when there were many more) stand on issues. You didn't know who was who, just the issues. It was great!
okay...I won't go on anymore :)