No news is good news
When Al Gore lost the 2000 election, I simply couldn’t face the idea of four years of watching my country run by a man couldn’t properly pronounce the word “nuclear.” There was no way I could stand watching him bumble his way through four years of speeches without losing my mind. So I went on a news strike. I would live the next four years, not in denial since I knew full well who the president was, but in a state of willful ignorance and would completely avoid the news at all costs.
When George, The God Whisperer, Bush won again in 2004, it was no big deal for me to renew my vow of abstinence. I was used to it by then. Hedon would give me brief updates on world matters of larger importance, and the rest of it just slid on past me. It really wasn’t much of a loss. On the one hand, I missed out on all the hot news topics of the day that gets everyone worked up, but on the other hand, I missed out on all the hot news topics of the day that gets everyone, including me, worked up. It has made for a relatively calm eight years.
A while back, I was at home flipping through channels on TV and in a moment of insanity decided to stop on CNN to see what they were chattering about. The big story of the day was that Al Gore had won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to raise awareness about global warming. I was pleased to see an American win such a prestigious award. That pleasure didn’t last long, though.
The news reader (I refuse to call them journalists) blithely made the report of Al Gore’s award, then explained how the prize is awarded by Europeans, and wink-wink nudge-nudge we all know how those goofy Europeans over-react to environmental issues like the fiction of global warming. With a happy smile, the news reader then told about what else Europeans like: Jerry Lewis. Here came the clips of Jerry Lewis films complete with pratfalls, and nutty professor hi-jinks. And here’s some clips of Al Gore. And more clips of Jerry Lewis, and …
I changed the channel.
When did this crap get so obvious? I mean, when I went away from television news in 2000, it was already pretty biased in my opinion, but at least it wasn’t so blatant on CNN at any rate. Honestly, what pissed me off the most about CNN was the way that they had insulted my intelligence, i.e. Jerry Lewis = jackass = Al Gore. I know they’re out to manipulate us, but couldn’t they at least try to be somewhat subtle?
With the 2008 election so close, I have once again tried exposing myself to a bit of news, but all it’s doing is raising my blood pressure once again. Therefore, I am currently in the process of remaking my attitude toward politics and the news (which I’ll save posting about for another day). Something in my attitude must change because I can’t spend the rest of my life ignorant about what’s happening around me. I have to get my head out of the sand sooner or later.
Monday, yesterday, was a hell of a time to have taken a look around me. Lehman Brothers bankrupt. Merrill Lynch sold. AIG looking bad. Markets tumbling. And the experts say we aren’t done yet.
I was already po’d about the bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns. Why the hell should I have to pay the debts of rapacious companies and all their cohorts right down the line to the people who refinanced homes so they could take fancy vacations and buy more stuff but now can’t live up to their financial obligations? But hey, America got the leader it wanted and deserved. Pity that those of us who didn’t get the leader we wanted will have to pay the piper, too.
I like the way an economist on ”Newshour with Jim Lehrer” put it, about how this has (paraphrasing here) turned into private taking of profits and public taking of loss. Exactly.
So of course I had to flip XM channels to Fox News to see how they were spinning this debacle. And oh joy, it happened to be Bill O’Reilly. He had a couple of financial experts on there interpreting the day’s events. But really all Bill wanted to know was if this could have been avoided by passing a law, and if a law would have been necessary to change the irresponsible behaviour of the investment banks. One financial expert, clearly clueless as to where Bill wanted to take this, said several reasonable things until at last she figured it out and said that yes, a law would have had to be passed. Just what Bill was waiting for. Immediately he pounced on it by reminding everyone that Congress has been controlled by Democrats for over three years and did nothing to stop this tragedy. Lordy, lordy, I laughed and laughed. I expected nothing less.
Just how many O’Reilly listeners are astute enough to understand that even if the Democratically controlled Congress had tried to reign in the situation, Bush would have vetoed the bill, and the Dems don’t have a clear enough majority to even begin to override the veto? I suspect that even those few who are, wouldn’t admit it. Absurd stuff, this.
Bottom line for me — place the blame properly or not, whatever, but somebody damned well better figure out how to fix it because I, for one, am not looking forward to becoming China’s bitch.