MY 2006 News wrap-up
You know, I once was a news junkie, but anymore I rarely turn on that mess on the radio, and rarer still on the telly. At one time I would cook, sew or clean house and listen to CNN, occasionally stopping by the idiot box to watch the news crawl at the bottom of the screen, but I got past that about 7 or 8 years ago. These days I get most of my information from a variety of sources on the internet and even there the biases are profoundly distorting. It's rare to find just the facts, ma'am.
On Saturday afternoons, our local NPR (whose "news" these days is unlistenable) affiliate broadcasts Ira Glass' entertaining This American Life which I will turn on if I'm tooling about town at that time. It happens that I was yesterday but was surprised that at 3:13 PM NPR was broadcasting a music program. I soon learned I was listening to a 2006 news roundup by the Capital Steps, a 20-something year old musical variety group that takes popular music and re-tools it into political satire. In fact, in one song I heard Saturday, "Everything's run by Pelosi" (sung to the tune of "Everything's coming up roses" from Gypsy), one line from that is "NBC will be run by NPR." What? Like they aren't already??? Increasingly, most mainstream news sounds like it's getting marching orders from NPR, so it baffles me that astute "savvy" D.C. insiders like The Capital Steps haven't noticed this trend.
So, former president Gerald Ford died this week, and yet every broadcast of news I saw whinged on about how he was opposed to our actions in Iraq, how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, and he disagreed with what was put forward as our reason for invading Iraq. Now, I defy anyone to tell me THAT is not political haymaking-- you'd have to be blind not to recognize it. It is customary for an obituary to tell the milestone events of a public figure's life in the context of how their actions shaped their time. Well, pardon me, but I think it was more significant to note that Ford pardoned Nixon (as he should have done) and pardoned the American men who fled to avoid the draft during the era of the Vietnam war - these were significant events in our nation's history-- and offhand remarks made in an interview during a time in which he was in no way involved in US policy home or abroad simply wouldn't rate in a world where the news had a more sensible overview that didn't seek to buttress its bias. To me, to focus on this (I saw it on a news program Thursday night at 9:00, 9:30 and 10:00 at me mum's) at the exclusion of what the man DID that affected our nation is utterly ass-backwards.
If they are consistent in their reporting style, I expect them to eulogize Saddam Hussein (never may he wave) by saying he opposed new pencil-leg trousers from Prada and thought Madonna should be prevented from harvesting yet another baby from Malawi, and that, by the way, he was opposed to US intervention in Iraq so he could go about his business of exterminating the Kurdish race.
1:30PM addendum: 2 things I have to post here from the comments. g bro refreshed my memory that Carter and not Ford pardoned the draft dodgers. My bad, but I was, like 11 or 12, so I forgive myself for making that mistake. A brilliant observation from Myron was: The problem with folks detecting bias in the media is that no one sees bias when the article or programming agrees with their point of view.