Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beware False equivalencies - Breitbart and its kind are NOT news

I was reading another ZDNet article this time showing how fake news and siloed information was a danger to U.S. democracy.  The long-winded article went into a treatise, complete with spiffy chart of where on the political spectrum all the various "news" organizations fell.

CNN, AP and Reuters were considered middle of the road, mainstream with Huffington Post and Fox News occupying the left and right of them respectively.  Of course the middle is always under attack as being too liberal by somebody.

Seems the past decade has spawned an outcry for a more "balanced" media view bringing forth what is laughably called Fox "news" and ultimately lending legitimacy to far right wing "journalism" like that purveyed by the likes of Breitbart news (a known proponent of Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist ideologies.)

Folks,  the past 8 years have taught us what happens to a country caught up in in siloed rhetoric.  Men of otherwise good intent are prisoners of the polls and fearful of a vocal minority.  A minority that grows into an immovable majority on both sides sown only with the seeds of propaganda.

We're literally too stupid and too lazy to know any better.

We cherry pick that which we agree with and discard the rest.  You can't help it, the bias is so great, the vitriol so thick that it's nearly impossible to find common ground.

This is not the function of journalism.  Opinions belong on the editorial page not the front page.  But in a world of information overload we don't have time for opposing views especially when they come from those who care to know nothing but their own.

Those who refuse to recognize or even acknowledge the lessons and warnings of history are the real danger.  Degrees don't make you intelligent, being aware of your world does...

"We aren't a democracy - say the Pledge of Allegiance and realize this.  Democracy, as in the Roman Empire, is rule by the mob.  Heaven help us if we get there, as the Roman Empire didn't last as long as the U.S. has."

I'd like to say I made that quote up but I can't.  He's off by at least 300 years and doesn't care to realize it.

So much for "No Child Left Behind."

That quote, by the way, is from the comment section of the same article and sadly it's not alone.  I see it far too often and when the obvious oversight is called out instead of thoughtful reflection there is instead an attack.

Libtard, Butt-Hurt, Elitist.

These are the retorts.  These are the product of faux journalism and if nothing else we need to read the signs.

Is it so hard to form an opinion based on your own views instead of someone else's?

Is that NOT what this grand democracy is supposed to be?

Rhetoric is not governance, it's a campaign and campaigns are about wars.  Warriors are about conquering.  To conquer is easy, governing is hard.

Just ask a Roman...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I'm sorry, I should have taken this guy more seriously...

I'm sorry....

About 18 months ago in the heat of the early Republican races for the Presidential nomination I said something that has since haunted me.

I said I liked Donald Trump....

At the time I was clear that I didn't feel he was qualified to lead a shift at a McDonald's let alone the most powerful country in the world but there was at least one defining virtue.

He wasn't much of a politician and that in itself was refreshing in a way.

Until his candidacy, it was looking like a rerun of the past 2 elections with the 2 political parties locked in their ideologies and ultimately out of touch with the concerns of their constituents.  He was to Conservative voters what Bernie Sanders was to Progressives.  

Maybe someone like him could change the talking points.

I had hoped that was as far as it would go.

But it didn't.

Little did we know that reality TV would have such an impact.  Who could have guessed that this cartoon of a man could possibly win.

Apparently a whole lot of people that watch cartoons did....

So today as I watched his first press conference since the election I was hoping that with all that he now "Knows" because of course he, "knows things the experts don't know" that maybe, just maybe,  the gravity of the office would have tempered his bravado.


The press conference began with what could only be described as a childish rebuke by proxy delivered by his incoming press secretary.  That was followed by a rambling self-aggrandizement with every sentence punctuated with, "tremendous."

The dog and pony show continued with an elaborate presentation by one of Trump's lawyers who explained how legal gray areas would be utilized to the fullest while preserving the gracious and unassailable character of Saint Donald.

I'm sensing that whatever becomes of the Trump Presidency, the buck will never stop with him.

Truman is spinning in his grave...

I'm left thinking it wouldn't have been so bad if we had a President Romney or another Bush in the White House.

After this, I'm confident that YouTube is the next pop-culture wasteland to be harvested for political office.   

Just imagine the debates between the Flat Earth and Fake Moon constituencies!

What do you think?  Below is the actual press conference.  Come back in a year and see if anything's changed....

Skip to 48:12 for the start....