Sunday, January 15, 2012

This is News?

I have like 17 weeks of Journalism school under my belt, so clearly I'm the expert here when I ask "This is news?"
But it doesn't take a J-school student, a rocket scientist, or even an individual of sound mind to see that what is being dolled out as news falls far short of the word. 
After reading "news" magazines and watching "news" channels, I'm ready to plug my ears and rock back and forth in attempts to drown out the propaganda and pure editorial-ism that is oozing from these so called "news sources."
Let me give you a couple of examples. Each comes from a well known, reputable source. The first is from Time magazine. Moments ago, I was reading the article about Mitt Romney titled "Revenge of the Aloof," in the most recent issue. It was a portion of this article that was the instigator of this blog post. Since you can't access the entire article unless you're a subscriber, let me quote what was said in the article that caused me grief:
Then he turned the microphone over to the evening's main speaker, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. This was something I'd never seen before: a candidate working as the warm-up act for one of his endorsers. Christie, who is as comfortable in his bulk as the actor John Goodman used to be (when he was bulky) immediately took control of the stage and the room... 'I believe the American pie is limitless,' said Christie, with the obvious conviction of a man who knows his pies.
Whoa. Wait a minute. What? This is okay to say even in an editorial piece? We, as journalists and human beings are now allowed to totally degrade people based on nothing but outer appearances? I mean, I know folks do that all the time, but I guess I was thinking that was a bad thing and certainly something to be avoided in quality journalism, editorial or not. What place does the above statement have in a news story other than to make the author look like a total jackass? 

The other example is one that I've made several friends watch recently due to the sheer absurdity of it. I hate to bring up Fox News, but, well, it must be done. Before you go calling me a socialist or communist or what-have-you due to my distaste for Fox News, let me just say, I am aware that Fox isn't always the ignorant country-bumpkin of news sources, just as much as CNN's Anderson Cooper isn't the Anti-Christ of news anchors. I know people are loyal to one or the other, but that is beside the point I am attempting to make. (Save to say it goes right along with the polarization of our country that drives me mad.)
The reason I hate watching Fox News isn't because they favor one side over another. The reason I hate watching Fox News is that rather than calmly discussing the world's events, the tones their anchors take are among the most grating, condescending inflections I've ever heard. The do not deliver the news so much as slam those who don't agree with the way they present it, and they certainly don't let those folks get a word in edgewise. While they are certainly not the only unbiased news source out there, they are the most degrading to those who oppose them. Watch one or both clips. I couldn't decide which was worse.
Example 1

Example 2

Again, I want to point out that these sources are not purely horrible or to be avoided at all cost. Nor do I think other news sources are superior and flawless. All I'm saying, really, all I'm asking for is a return to balance, especially in the one place it should stand out: the news.

PS-Stay tuned for a blog post about Eric Bolling's show title "Follow the Money," his words about Christianity, and Christ's words about money. Don't worry. I 'm allowed to write that. This is a personal blog, not high quality journalism.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Redemption Begins in Iowa

Is this Heaven?
No, it's Iowa.

Well, to political junkies, yesterday they may have been one and the same. To me, however, it's like the innermost layer of hell. Yesterday's Iowa caucuses remind me of the ugliness that is to come in the next 11 months. Of course, like passing a horrific car accident on the highway, I cannot help but stare no matter how much I want to tear my eyes away.
Okay, perhaps innermost layer of hell is a bit of a stretch. Maybe it's more like purgatory. Whatever it's like, I always end up watching election results like most people watch the Super Bowl. I just can't bring myself to turn off the television.
While surely there will be more from me about the subject in the coming months, as this rat race begins to gain momentum, I am reminded of a piece I wrote during the 2008 elections. I find it still holds true. This year, no different from any past elections, I see hoards of people holding up signs, cheering, and chanting belief that this time around, this person will be the one to make all right.   Here it is:

Dear Sirs and Madam,
As your stand there on the podium, beckoning us to believe, we lift our voices and shout our praise. We wave our “hail hosanna” cardboard signs crying victory in your name. We bow and uphold you for the promised change you jingle in your pocket. Change that will feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, provide for the needy, and lower taxes.
Your face glows as you draw us near to you and summon us to hope.
Your messianic voice cries salvation from the sin in which we’ve been forced to wallow. Your face shimmers in divine light with reflections of halos round your head.
You are the answer. You bring redemption.
We dance in the aisles, while tongues of praise pour on you as rain.
Delegates sing hymns of your glory and chant triumphant battle cries.
Your promises ring prophecies in our ears. In you we place our trust. Our hope is in you. Show us your way. Guide us in what you know of truth.
For we know that in you, all will be made right.
We will be restored.
In your name we’ll become The United States of a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come. Save us, O redeemer.
Our children nestle against your neck, raised up rightly in adoration of you. Your redemption will spread through the ages.
Tears of hope for tomorrow fall down our cheeks as you kiss our babies, grasp our hand, and lead us to the Promised Land full of milk and honey and all that we believe us to deserve.
In you, we can. With our hope in you, country first shall be last.
Those who choose you are free indeed. Let freedom ring.
Save us from our enemies. Deliver us from evil.
For yours is our kingdom, our power and glory for years,