Monday, July 9, 2018

Has the U.S. media lost sight of its role as a lamp of leadership?


High grade imbecility reigns at so many levels in the American political culture, including the megaphones controlled, manipulated and twisted away from
“all the news that’s fit to print” as the commitment of the New York Times has it.

What has replaced what some consider boring, dull, too detailed, and “weeds” of the nuances of policy and political theory is the most inflammatory, most incendiary, most exaggerated and most tabloid-like story, and the manner in which it is covered, specifically by focusing on the personalities, the pecadilloes, the sex-and-money stories that, like a blow-torch, ignite public attention, and drive advertisers to buy space and time. And when advertisers line up to buy time and space, you know that they already know that public will read/watch/gossip/and generate enhanced profits and dividends.

Tonight’s 9:00 p.m. announcement on all those networks trump calls “fake news” when they are reporting on his tweets, is a prototypical example. Like a reality television show, devoid of any interest in the need to balance the Supreme Court, and tone-deaf to the political “centre,” concentrating on one basic premise: “How will this announcement enhance my electoral prospects and thereby my access to bloated business and ego ‘revenue’ as well as an extended period in office for those purposes?”

Governance by “fiat” (executive order, tweet, press ‘scrum,’ towel-tosses, private dinners and chats with international thugs, appointments of extreme judges, tariffs and trade wars through executive orders, insults, late arrivals and early departures, not to mention the lies, fabrications, distortions and devious (and highly  secret) excising of environmental regulations. and access to affordable health care along with the injection of fiscal steroids into the pentagon…..these are hardly the workings of a civil government concerned about the public good.

The process by-passes the elected officials, unless and until they are needed to confirm another “federalist” judge, or to pass an unbalanced tax bill. And there is still a large “congregation” of Republican supporters (some 90% of the party) egging on this administration, in spite of the evidence staring them in the face. “Congregation” seems appropriate, given the religious fervor with which these people turn a blind eye to their own manipulation, in order to achieve an even more epic manipulation of the judicial system for the next half century.

Thousands of missing children, separated from their parent(s), long before their stories became public, millions ripped out of the Affordable  Care Act, a United Nations report on poverty in the U.S. that ranks that country as bad as that  the developing world, given the largest gap between rich and poor in the world in the  U.S., chaos, cruelty piled onto incompetence….and the “game” goes on as if there were only “good news” about making America  great again!

And the television media examines, parses, and obsesses over every last tweet, as if they are doing their job. Where are the editors, the assistant and deputy editors, some of them Pulitzer prize winners, permitting, or worse, encouraging this kind of micro-myopia. The news media has effectively created another swamp, in open support of the chief executive, whether or not the tweet is newsworthy or not. Some questions for the television media editors, and their supervisors:

·        Do you think, or believe that your news department is being played for a fool by this president?

·        Do you believe that each and every tweet leaping out of the Oval Office is as news worthy as every other tweet?

·        Do you coach your reporters not only to read each tweet, but also to make a serious judgement as to whether or not it merits repeating along with some discussion?

·        Are you under strict orders from your senior management to broadcast, and to interpret each and every tweet?

·        Would it not be feasible to assign a small number of Washington reporters to cover some international developments, with a view both to enhancing the world perspective of your audience and to demonstrate that good governance is developing in other capitals? And would such an approach inevitably result in lower ratings and advertising revenue?

·        Would it not be feasible to assign a larger number of reporters to the United Nations “beat” in order to demonstrate the dangers of the atrophy, added and abetted by the U.S. government of that agency?

·        Would it also not be a “forward” step to assign reporters to the EU, the World Bank, NATO, the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, the OECD, the Paris Climate Accord, not on as a “when news breaks” bases, but on a permanent basis?

·        Another “venue” and organization that needs more coverage is the Centre for Disease Control, and at least one reporter from each of the major networks would be able to shed light on the ravages of poverty/disease linked to falling out of the Affordable Care Act coverage!

·        How can your networks continue to “bash” the emasculated Republicans in Congress when you, too, have subscribed to the menu of trump koolaid? Spine, in the political sense of that piece of anatomy, has to be demonstrated by more than Mueller, Schiff and Warren and the media is poised to make a significant turn in the direction and the breadth of its coverage.

·        Leadership, especially so needed for the last two years, requires that this president not be permitted “star” status through your microphones, cameras, and time allotments. You might be surprised to learn just how thin and tattered is the American place in the world, through enhanced coverage of people like Macron, Merkel, May and even Trudeau. The American vacuum of consciousness about the rest of the world is begging to be eliminated. And your professional reporters, editors and management can remedy this shortfall.

“Fascism,” in a strict definition, national socialism as the Third Reich incarnated it in the 1930’s and 40’s, is a word now beginning to be applied to the trump administration, by people much smarter and more articulate and more experienced in the history of world governance than this scribe. A complete break-down of the social, political, economic and judicial structures, along with the evisceration of the State Department, the dismantling of the education and environmental protection departments, the gutting of the social network, and the triumph of the propaganda arm of the White House in debasing the Public Inquiry of Russian infiltration in the 2016 election….and yet the Republicans in Congress remain deaf, dumb, blind and "eunuched". Even worse, some like Nunes actively work illicitly on behalf of the White House having sold out their honour, dignity and all vestiges of ethical and moral convictions.

And the band of silence, co-dependence, empty talking points, highly groomed hairstyles on both men and women in Congress, blankets those might, heroic and
“crying-in-the-wilderness” voices of Warren, Sanders, Holder, Kasich, Harris and a few others, who valiantly try to break through the fog of this political war.

The casualties, especially truth, continue to mount. The families continue to be destroyed. The investigations and “infestations” continue. And the band plays on!

A nation’s head-piece filled with straw, a nation’s heart frozen in a cryogenic encasement, a nation’s elite locked behind both the gates of their communities and the drugs of their brains and a nation’s honour and reputation in tatters….,and the band plays on!

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