Sunday, October 24, 2010

6. It’s always 1984 now!

Orwell’s novel “1984” really got our mass media types riled up just before that year arrived in the calendar. According to some, this country, and for many the world, were doomed because in the year 1984, Orwell’s version of an authoritarian government was going to come into being, obviously. Well, that didn’t happen, yet in so many ways “1984” is with us always.

Just recently, former President Clinton railed against the modern TEA Partiers, who are rallying against certain aspects of the President Obama administration. Mr. Clinton raised the specter of the 1995 Oklahoma city bombing, which destroyed The Murrah Federal Building, killing 168-man, women, and children; a horrible event in our history. One shame of that terrorist attack was that two Americans planned and executed the bombing, two people who had a grievance against the federal government that somehow was not satisfied.

Mr. Clinton tried to equate the Murrah Building bombing with the protest rallies held by TEA Partiers over the past year or so. Mr. Clinton is wrong. The TEA Partiers have been generally well behaved and orderly, gathering without orders, gathering without much organization except for someone to define where a rally could be held. These people have brought their own hand made signs, with few exceptions and have not been profane or shown anger, violent anger, at federal officials. These TEA Party rallies are peaceful for the most part, especially compared to the WTO and IMF protesters and other similar protests of the Left, which typically include much violence.

What I believe Mr. Clinton is doing is to designate TEA Partiers as the Emmanuel Goldstein of today. Mr. Clinton is trying to make these TEA Party citizens an object of hate and scorn. I certain Mr. Clinton would deny that as his motive yet look at how the main stream press is playing that theme.

One cable TV news channel has condemned a statement made that said this country needs a leader, not simply a president who is a good athlete, that the statement was obvious racist? The news reporter who made that charge was taken aback when others on the show refuted her statement, rightly so in my opinion.

I’m certainly not condemning former President Clinton for he is an accomplished man, with much accruing to his credit. I am however, concerned about how easily our press ignores the good the TEA Partiers are doing, showing their interest in American politics much more than we’ve done before. And, that so-called citizen apathy has usually been attacked by our press; not now!

Just look at how peaceful the TEA Party rallies have been. Yes, there have been a few, very few, signs wildly spewing hateful statements, yes, there has been some violence at these rallies, one in Missouri where labor union thugs attacked a TEA Partier, others where the police have been called to forcibly remove a peaceful protester from a Congressional Representative’s townhall meeting. Also, there was a very recent event in New Orleans where a couple involved in that event who were savagely attacked, with severe injuries, yet the media has ignored that attack; the police seem only slightly interested in solving that attack.

So, yes, there are signs that some in our country are behaving as though they want us to be like that terrible authoritarian society so clearly shown in Orwell’s novel.

Once again, I believe this “1984” like behavior is a result of our press not doing its job. Broadcast media has a wide reach yet it doesn’t report accurately. Too often, the old broadcast networks seem to be repeating lines from a White House press release, the same words, the same phasing, the same highlighting enemies of the state. Print media is more of the same, most often word for word.

Of course, with the print media, we have the reporting services, originally setup up as subscription services for distributing news reports. Today, a news report goes around the world in a flash and then is reported as a fact even when its provenance is absolutely false. Back in the year 2004, one totally false story was reported widely, its originators claiming it was accurate even though it was false. That was a low point in so-called journalistic reporting, in my opinion.

So, today we’re at the point that a politician may claim that his, or her, opponents are evil simply because they exist. Do these politicians want the 2-minutes of hate to be directed at who-so-ever they wish? It seems that if those politicians expect that kind of behavior, our country is really in for tough times.

American politics always has been a full contact sport, if that football analogy may be used. Going all the way to our founding and then with our first several presidents, wild claims have been made, wild statements about an opponent’s health, wealth, acts, and beliefs have strained American credulity, sometimes producing an opposite result from that desired and sometimes right on target.

Yet, this recent smear on the TEA Partier’s has gone almost too far. This smear would not succeed if the press did its job but that might ever happen?

This mixing of news with opinion with less than reliable information is greatly harming this country. Those budding journalists who wish to do “good” have done much harm. When demagoguery is not challenged by the press, we all lose. What the press does not understand is that they shall lose too. Perhaps there’s been a small awakening going on with our press when they mildly protest how the current White House has been treating them. However, no one should hold their breath waiting for our press to roar back to life.

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