Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Are Bloggers Journalists?

(c) 2012 by Tom King

(c) Some rights reserved by Andrew Currie
You know, I kind of resent that question.  I'm kind of tired of journalist trying to get themselves up in white robes and to masquerade as some sorts of informational holy men.

The idea that journalists are unbiased news priests, delivering information without opinion is absolute balderdash. If you are a person you have an opinion. Merriam-Webster says a journalist is a "person engaged in journalism, especially a writer or editor for a news medium. Webster also says "a writer who aims at a mass audience" is a journalist.

By that second definition, bloggers are definitely journalists. Surely, Americans with our long history of freedom of the press, are sophisticated enough to realize that every journalist out there is pitching the news according to his own conscience, editing information to tell a story he or she wants to tell. That's Journalism 101. Sure they tell you to be unbiased and then propagandize you shamelessly, usually with leftist opinions, though there are a few conservative and moderate journalism professors out there who have managed to keep their jobs, if not to actually gain tenure.

The fiction that all true journalists are unbiased is just that - fiction! A journalist is a writer of news - that is all. Even if you choose to be "fair and balanced", choose to show an even-handed look at the news as best you can, all that means is that you believe in making news as moderate or independent as you can. It is still your opinion that this is the best way to present the news.

Even journalism icon, Walter Cronkite was obviously and unapologetically progressive in his leanings, though he did his best to appear neutral when he was sitting in the anchor's chair at CBS news. Everybody knew what Uncle Walter thought by how he selected the news clips he presented. It was as much what he didn't say as what he did say. He was brilliant and while I disagreed with him on many fundamental issues, you had to respect the guy's integrity.  He never took his talking points from the DNC or the RNC. No political icon was immune if Uncle Walter thought said politico was doing wrong as poor old LBJ found out to his utter dismay. Cronkite's opinion was always his own.

The belief that you should present an unbiased opinion differs not a whit in moral superiority from Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews who believe news should be interpreted from a liberal/progressive viewpoint or from Sean Hannity or John Stossel, who believe that a conservative interpretation is the correct way to spin it. Whether the journalist is a liberal, conservative or so-called "unbiased" moderate; whether he or she is a reporter, editor, blogger or a TV news anchor, what you receive from these folk, never forget, is information molded by an opinionated journalist to suit his personal value system or that of the folk that write his or her paycheck. Given that....

Opinion is damned well too journalism!

And bloggers are damned well too journalists!

Beyond that, it's just a matter of quality.

Just one blogger's opinion....

Tom King


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear

(c) 2012 by Tom King

Probably not the well-crafted plot lines that attract women to this show.
When I was six years old in Mrs. Davis' Primary Class at church, we sang a song that went, “O' be careful little ears what you hear.” The other verses went, “Be careful little eyes what you see, feet where you go, etc.” Each chorus ended, “There's a Savior up above and he's looking down with love, so be careful little.......”

A woman I know is hooked on a TV show called “Supernatural”. She's always telling me about episodes she's seen and how “funny” the show is............sometimes.” I stumbled on an episode the other day that caught my attention. It took place in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, a town the show portrays as a backward hick sort of town, dominated by a family of prominent racists, one of whom was so mean he began running over uppity black people in his monster truck. Finally one black guy defended himself and killed the evil racist guy. Some black people and a brave white person (I can only assume he was a Democrats) helped roll the evil racist and his truck into a swamp. Years later the truck comes back and starts killing black guys again along with white people who treat black people decently. The first black guy is killed while his radio is playing news about Republican cutbacks on social programs. The truck is so imbued with this evil spirit they have to not only dredge up and burn the racist killer guy's bones, they also have to burn the truck too – that's how ingrained that racism is in Cape Girardeau apparently. It gets into your redneck pickups and possesses them too.

Anybody want to guess what national radio talk show host comes from a prominent and influential family in Cape Girardeau, Missouri? Anybody?

That's right, Rush Limbaugh. Were they trying to make a comment? Oh, you betcha. I figured I'd check it out, just to keep track of what kind of crap these tricky liberals were trying to pull.

But that's not what I came to talk about. I should never have lingered over that show for a minute. It gave me nightmares that kept me rolling and tossing all night. I did a little further examination of the show which my friend reassured me was “just fun”.

The premise of the show is that these two cute brothers are “hunters”, chosen by God or at least bullied into it by one of the factions in the ongoing war in heaven. They go around knocking off bad demons and stuff. The angels are apparently involved in some sort of gritty guerrilla war. \One faction is lead by Michael the archangel and the other by Lucifer, another powerful angel. The angels are all world-weary cynical dudes who are duking it out over control. Michael's guys are considered “real tools” by Lucifer's guys. Apparently, in order to fight their war they have to take over people's bodies. Michael's people have to find someone to be a willing vessel and give up their own identity and will. Lucifer's not-so-much. Either way it's pretty horrific. They're always making deals, trading hell time for favors, that sort of thing.

Anyway, Lucifer, of course, claims he's misunderstood and that his rebellion is in everybody's best interest. Gabriel shounds like Rodney King. He raises a bunch of hell, then when he gets caught, he whines that he "...just wants everyone to stop fighting and get along." God, meanwhile, evidently stopped really caring about the whole thing long ago and left the siblings to fight among themselves. Demons are everywhere and the redneckish brothers go around hunting them with a “special” Colt pistol that kills demons (and the people whose bodies they've borrowed).

Watching this thing is like sitting in on Satan's board meetings. I felt like I needed a shower afterward and I've had nightmares every time I've even glanced at this mess. I don't know who wrote this, but whoever did, must have opened a direct line to the anti-Christ to get his material. (It's also interesting that one key character in the so-called Christian “mythos” is conspicuously absent – probably somewhere having a nap after all that crucifixion stuff).

My nightmares have reminded me of the ones I had when I was 12. A misguided pastor told a group of Juniors (a more literalist group you will not find anywhere) that if you didn't remember to confess all your sins and you died with even one unconfessed sin to your credit, you were headed for hell). At least that's what this 12 year-old got out of it. I kept dreaming that I had left something out and Jesus was coming and I was going to be left behind. It put me off becoming a Christian for years. I figured if God was like that, I was doomed anyway and wanted nothing to do with Him.

My nightmares over “Supernatural” were similar. I kept trying to figure out what spells, incantations, bullets or immolation techniques I had to use to get rid of the demons or vampires or whatever was menacing the town and I never could figure it out and kept having to start over and there was always something wrong and I could never tell who was a demon and who was a good guy and nobody was really a good guy anyway, they all just have theological differences of opinion.

So here I sit at my desk. It's 5 AM, I can't sleep and I'm trying to work out what's screwing with my head. I NEVER have nightmares.

I sat down to write this blog entry and remembered Mrs. Davis' little song. She was right. We need be more careful about the kind of crap we watch on TV, listen to on the radio and read. I heard my nephew repeating the lyrics of a popular song the other day. The words were horrific. If you ever said something like that to another person just outright, they'd be perfectly justified in slapping your mouth! But because it was set to music, that makes it okay?

If you look carefully at today pop culture, music, movies and television, you can see a pervasive and evil message being sold to the human race. It's not being forced down our throats. We're taking it in little sips with a lot of sweetener.

You know, if you take it in small doses, you can eventually work up to the point where you can sip arsenic from a shot glass without dying, at least not right away.

Be careful little ears what you hear.....

I'm just saying.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Where's a Statesman When We Need One?

The Greatest Statesman of My Lifetime - Bar None
 One of my favorite weblogs, "The Art of Manliness", just ran a piece called "The Four Qualities of a True Statesman."  Brett & Kay McKay, the authors, certainly picked a subject that would get a lot of comments. Predictably the Paulestinians came out in force and I'm thrilled they're getting so many hits off those guys. They've really kicked the ad revenue of small political blogs like mine into high gear. All you have to do to get a spike is to mention Ron Paul and step back and let the comments roll in.

I agree with Brett's analysis as to what a statesman is. It's not hard to spot a statesman. The top 4 American statesmen who made president in the 1800s are carved on Mt. Rushmore. I think you could add Daniel Webster and Henry Clay to that list whether you like their politics or not. Of all of them, I think Washington was the father and model of true American statesmanship. Lincoln had the toughest job, Jefferson the greatest impact on personal freedom and Teddy Roosevelt was the man on foreign policy - him and his "big stick".

In the 20th century, I’d pick FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan – and possibly Harry Truman. Reagan always befuddled "real" politicians because Reagan actually believed all that stuff he was saying and "the people" believed him when he said it. I believe the others I mentioned had that ability as well, with differing degrees of success at carrying public opinion along with them. Truman, who was no career politician, believed the buck stopped with him and that is very statesmanlike and all kind of manly.

In the 21st century we’ve had a shortage of statesmen so far. I’ll give you Ron Paul as statesmanlike, but no more. He’s as principled in what he believes ought to be done as George W. Bush was on the war on terrorism. GW was wrong on some issues as is Ron Paul. Both have fatal flaws in that they fall short in the consensus building department. I don’t think the 21st century has yet seen its first great statesman yet. The closest to a principled politician I’ve seen so far is Sarah Palin. That woman really believes what she says, though I’m not sure we’re ready to hear it from a woman quite yet, despite our efforts to change our culture in that regard. Sadly, we’re not ready for an American Margaret Thatcher. I do hope one will take the stage at some point. It would be nice to add an American iron lady to that list of iron men.

I do believe that statesmen are no accident. I believe, when we need a statesman, God will raise one up.

  • “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”  - E.G. White

Oddly enough, it was a woman who wrote that. but then who better to recognize a real man when she sees one?

Just one man's opinion.

Tom King