Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Toxic 24/7

I really think the 24 hour news cycle is toxic. These pundits and talking heads yap and opine and whine incessantly, filling the endless minutes with a manufactured narrative, depending on the political bent of the news channel. Forget the Super Pacs and their flood of money and trash political ads, it's the 24 hour news cycle that is really going to decide the fate of the nation. They're going to decide it by what they cover, and what they ignore, by what they screech about, and what elicits nothing more than a shrug. Like the man in that tee shirt, for example. Why on earth is that okay? Oh right. Free speech is protected. No matter how hateful.

People who didn't watch the first presidential debate or the vice presidential debate think they know what happened. They've watched the news clips, they've seen MSNBC's Chris Matthews so operatically offended by the president's low-key civility in the first debate, they've heard Fox News commentators speculate on whether Joe Biden was drunk or suffering from dementia (he doesn't drink by the way) in the VP debate, they've dissected swing state polls ad nauseam, and I am so very tired of the prattle and hype, and dismayed by the degree to which people take what amounts to sensationalism and entertainment, as facts.

Speaking of facts, or the lack thereof, why isn't everyone deconstructing the misrepresentations and lies issuing from the Romney-Ryan camp? Why are pundits mildly amused by Republican senators who imply or flat out insist the positive jobs numbers last week were tampered with? Why won't commentators call the assertion what it is—outright treason. Why aren't they calling out the hateful tone of the Romney-Ryan base? Why aren't they jumping up and down about the efforts to disenfranchise anyone who might cast a ballot for the Democrat, an open, galling, in-your-face campaign to steal the election from voters.

You already know my political bent, and if you don't it's not hard to discern. But I think the whole tone of the media narrative right now is irresponsible in the extreme. Only a few commentators are making sense to me, young guns like Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry, who are doing the research and putting actual thought into what they report. As for the rest, let's just say I'm talking back at Joe Scarborough and his circle of men in suits on Morning Joe this morning. God, there's just so much noise. 

Update: Well, the Supreme Court upheld early voting in Ohio today, so kudos to them. I have to admit I thought they'd strike it down, especially since those bringing suit  to preserve the right cited Bush vs. Gore (oh, the irony). Happily, I was wrong. Still, I wonder if I can bear to watch tonight's presidential debate? I'm not detached enough, not remotely close to achieving the proper state of zen. Oh, who am I kidding? I will be watching anyway.


  1. Me too. I'm going to try, at least. The last one left me so flat.

  2. I posted that picture on Facebook because it's just so unfathomable to me. Shocking. An Argentinian friend said, "Now, is it really shocking?" Yes. Maybe it's ok in other places in the world to be racist (ah-hem, Argentina), but it's unamerican. Multiculturalism is patriotism.

    I am really removed from the politics, with only really my morning commute touching on it while I listen to NPR ... and so I flip to some reggaeton instead most morning.

    I've worked very hard to become civil, respecting Obama's dignified truth-telling. But part of me wishes I could be an angry teenager again and shout as loudly as the ugly liars.

  3. That really IS a shocking photo.

    An interesting side effect of the hyper-partisan Washington culture is an uncertainty about which facts really ARE facts. I think journalists are hesitant to call right-wingers on some of their BS because they don't want to be unfair, they want to concede that there are multiple ways to view things. But when does an alternate viewpoint become an outright lie? It's harder and harder to tell!

    I am so glad I never had to cover national politics in my days as a journalist. What a nightmare.

    As for the 24-hour news cycle, I've pretty much turned it off. I read the NY Times web site once a day for my American news, the BBC web site for news here, and sometimes I look at the Evening Standard (if I pick it up on the tube). Otherwise, I let it all go. TV news is particularly toxic, I think, though less so here in England.