NEWS? continued…


I had no idea how topical I was until yesterday.  I use this blog just to dump things out of my brain and on to paper for musing of myself and any who may choose to follow.  And lo and behold and Bless their ‘little pea-picking hearts’ (Thank youTennesseeErnie Ford) MSNBC helped me look smart.  No sooner had I posted my treasure of the day, I caught wind of the curfluffle with Andrea Mitchell.

It seems MSNBC posted a submission about Mitt Romney.  Let me set the scene as I am not uploading the video.  Andrea Mitchell, a pundit of MSNBC with her own show,  is speaking with some man (did not get his name) and chuckled and showed this clip of Mitt Romney being amazed over a machine at WaWa that allows you to punch in what you want in your sandwich and VOILA the sandwich appears.  After the clip was over Ms. Mitchell chuckled again and said something about it being his WaWa moment.  My take from what I saw is that she thought Mr. Romney foolish and way out of touch with the WaWa people of this country.

First off let me say that until I moved toMarylandI had no idea what a WaWa is.  It is the same as a Cumberland Farms inMaineor a Fox on the Run inMissouri.  It is a convenience store with a gas station.  I had no idea they had such a machine and you have to know I am going to go to my local WaWa to try it out!!!

Secondly, yesterday I was commenting on the concerns of relying on one news source alone.  Had I relied on this MSNBC broadcast I too would have thought Mr. Romney not one of Main Street America’s people.  While I am sure he does not frequent these places as much as I, I am just as sure that upon occasion he does pump his own gas so would be aware of these stores.

Thirdly is the ‘rest of the story’ as Paul Harvey used to say.  Had this clip been played in it’s entirety we would have heard Mr. Romney speaking about a Dr. trying to get through the system to submit a patient’s bill to the government.  After he spoke this he went into the description of his experience at WaWa.  He ended up with a concise message by saying it would be nice if the government worked as well and treated it’s people as well as WaWa treated their customers or some such wording.  That is a totally different message then the one that MSNBC left us with in that clip.

The RNC and the Romney campaign called MSNBC and told them they had given a poor example of the events of that day.  On Andrea Mitchell’s show at1PMyesterday she said that they had been contacted by these groups and asked to play the full clip.  She played the clip then from the WaWa story to the end.  She left off the beginning about the Drs problem, left this item and went onto the next story with no apology.  One source would have given a very slanted impression of this whole episode.  I am grateful to MSNBC for helping me appear smart or at least topical.





I have been engaged in a running discourse these last few days on Facebook.  The  thread began when I posted a ‘share’ about MSNBC fantasizing about blowing up Romney’s campaign bus.  This went directly, without passing GO, to a post with the question of is this journalism to the fact that MSNBC denigrates conservatives and FOX does the same to Liberals.  Then we were hit with the name calling that comes on both sides.  The thread got very interesting for me when FOX News was criticized for NOT being fair and balanced and my nephew used the Daily Show as a tool to prove that.  Another nephew posted, “I also know that a recent study found that people who rely on foxnews for their info are the least informed americans.”  That hit a spark for this information junkie and off I was on a search to find this study.

FairleighDickinsonUniversitydid a study in 2011 that showed just that.  They called New Jersey people and asked them a few questions on the news and the results were published.  In 2012 they did the same with the questions to the whole country they said, the same to all participants, and found the same results.  As a FOX News watcher this did not seem to ring true.  I searched and searched and could not find a recent study that agreed.  I did however find the ratings for Friday the 15th of June had FOX News as one of the most watched.  I posted those on my wall and concluded that if in fact that is true then there are a lot of uniformed people walking around out in America.

It got me thinking and searching to find definitive news.  My conclusion is that there is no longer such a thing.  CNN may come the closest to fitting the paradigm.  Straight news left us I believe when Cronkite left TV.  I did not know what Walter’s political views were. I knew that he cared about things from the tone of his voice as in the example of taking off his glasses when JFK was assassinated.  Otherwise he read the news with no emotion or opinion.  The same could be said for Huntley,Brinkley, Edwards,Downs and Walters – newscasters of the day.  It is my belief that this is a rare thing on TV anymore – network or cable.  More so now than ever before to be informed it is up to us to find the information. 

Matt Drudge said it best.  He broke the Clinton-Lewinsky story and no one would listen to him let alone print it.  It is said that 11 times the networks ignored what he was telling them.  It proved to be true of course.  He is quoted, “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be.”*  I believe this is exactly where we are right now.  In order to make an informed opinion we have to be our own reporter/journalist/newscaster.

My brother-in-law was right when he posted on the thread that those leaning left listen to MSNBC and those leaning right listen to FOX News.  In saying that we can all listen to it all and we must.  On both there are news shows and opinion shows.  We must know the difference.  While Bill O”Reilly is the most watched show in his timeslot he freely states that he is an opinion show.  He brings in people from both sides and has a debate – unless he has strong opinions about what is being debated.  At these times he can take over the conversation which is his right to do in the format he has set.  It is our responsibility to discern the difference.  Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are loud and entertaining and amazingly right, meaning correct, on occasion.  As I said on my thread we must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.  There is a lot of chaff out there.

This is where the rubber meets the road to use an old cliché – must do a blog about clichés one day!  If as an audience we only watch one station we are going to get one side.  We are going to vote one way and our discussions will be narrow.  For me I try to be well informed and listen to many things and subscribe to newsletters and websites.  I want to be informed.  Matt Drudge now has one place to go look at many sources with his Drudge Report.  The Huffington Post offers an alternative.  There also are others.  It is up to us to choose.    

We must be informed not steeped in ideology.  From information we can choose to make informed opinions and ideas.  I cannot end this any better than to use a quote from one of our former Presidents:

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” ― John F. Kennedy

Not sure about making it safe.  We can however be informed and listen to each other without rancor.


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