Friday, August 7, 2009

Speaking Truth to Stupid

To quote P.T. Barnum: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American People".

And, judging by the financial results of the Fox News Network, nothing could be more true.

While most media outlets (especially print media), are losing money, Fox News' results show increased viewership, advertising revenue, and, spectacularly, a profit.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the network of Farfetched Outrageous Xenophobia had a 50% jump in profit and a 45% increase in viewership this quarter - indeed, it's the only thing making money right now for Rupert Murdoch - that even-handed, patrician arbiter of news and information.

Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter , Sean Hannity, and Bill O' Reilly, you can all be proud of adding so constructively to the national debate, talking about "The Birth Certificate" and "Socialist Health Care". And CNN and Lou Dobbs - that goes for you too.

Lou, you're so thoughtful and temperate you're making Rush and Michael Savage look almost non-partisan. And I can remember when you were just an Economic Nationalist and before that, a corporate shill.

You liberals aren't exempt either - Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, you are so objective on All Things Obama that, listening to you, you'd think the President's every utterance was the Sermon On The Mount.

Bill Maher put it best ... the reason we have a free press is so that Responsible People with a reasonable command of both the facts and their faculties can Speak Truth To Stupid.

Stupid? Yes, Mainstream American Public, I'm talking to you.

Seventy Per Cent of all Americans can name neither a Senator from their state
nor their Congressman. Half think the Bill of Rights was enacted by
George W. Bush after 9/11.

Before the Iraq War,70% of Americans thought that
Saddam Hussein helped Bin Laden create, train and finance Al-Qaeda and
personally helped plot 9/11. Now, Saddam probably would have if he could have,
but he didn't. And it doesn't stop there.

Thanks to Lou Dobbs and the "Birthers", a Third of Republicans don't think
Obama's even a citizen. A Third of Democrats think Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11.

But we know that's wrong - because, as Bill Maher said, any sentence with the words "Bush" and "Knowledge" in it has to be absurd.

And just look at the Health Care debate - on CNN, we saw a man in South
Carolina at a Town Hall Meeting tell the audience to "Keep the Government's
hands off my Medicare!"

Huh? That's like driving across country to protest Interstate Highways.
And why is it that everyone we see in these Town Halls complaining
about "socialist"health care is obese, white and rural with a Southern accent?
I'm sure these folks have great coverage wherever they work. Right. Uh-huh.

The reality is, these are the folks the reforms are supposed to help. Tell me,
Liberals, just how does demonizing these people on TV as ignorant rubes help
get Health Care reform passed?

And Conservatives, what kind of fever-swamp nonsense is "The Birth Certificate"?

You got the wrong guy if you're looking for the Presidential Candidate
who wasn't born in the U.S.

Guess what - it's McCain - who was born in Panama. And that's a fact - either
look it up or just ask him. From a purely Geographic standpoint, he might be
the ineligible candidate. But you'd have a hard time convincing me that a
sitting Senator who is the son and grandson of US Admirals isn't
eligible to be President.

And if you expect me to believe that Obama isn't a US citizen or wasn't born in
Hawaii, you smoke funnier weed than I do. And I'm not talking tobacco or dope,
I'm talking dried cow manure.

Your problem is obvious - too many hits on the crap pipe.

And Lou Dobbs, you're the one who told the Republicans that if they just put
that in their pipe and smoked it, they would escape the fever swamp and emerge
as a credible, authoritative, political alternative.

Instead, you've led them from the swamp to the wilderness. Maybe permanently.

And none of this is good for the country. We have some minor problems
that need attention - bankrupt banks, unemployment, foreclosures, two wars
as well as health care, to name just a few.

And making one political party look irrelevant and ridiculous and giving the
other a free pass doesn't make getting things done easier - it actually gets in the way.

You see, in politics Conflict and Negotiation lead to Resolution and Agreement.
Two sides have to tango before there can be Consensus that everyone
can buy into and make work.

It's a basic engineering principle .... you have to have friction before there can be traction.

And that takes intelligence, maturity, and fact-finding. Media, that's where
you come in. Your job is to uncover the facts, which powerful interests will often
try to hide from you, and then use those facts to poke as many holes in the
fatuous and self-serving arguments of both sides as you can.

That's why we have a free press - not to speak truth to power, but to
Speak Truth to Stupid.

A stupid and ignorant citizenry means even more stupid and ignorant politicians.

That's why I can't depend on those in power to tell me the truth -
because most of the time, they wouldn't know what the truth was if it
came up and bit them.

They're not necessarily venal or corrupt - they just don't know any better.

Making sure that both public and politicians "know better" is the job of a Free Press.

In fact, it's your only job. Don't forget that.

1 comment:

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