Just a few words to save you and me some sanity

I have written before my browser feed seems to be like a gossip column with the he said/ she said stuff that goes on as news. Rather than spend time on issues, we spend far too much time on things of little consequence. The reporters share some culpability, but the political and entertainment news makers share most of the blame.

So, here are a few rules of the road to help both your and my sanity.

  • If a politician is adding little or no value with his or her comments, ignore him or her. I see so much BS being spewed out of the mouths of elected officials, it is embarrassing. Names like McCarthy, Trump, Cruz, Cuomo, Gohmert, Gaetz, Greene, Graham, Johnson, et all are having a very hard time uttering truthful comments. Ignore them if they cannot add value. Just because their followers may believe their BS, does not mean we have to.
  • Ignore the comments that come from entertainment hosts disguised as news people. Fox defended in court one of its nighttime hosts saying he was not a news person, but an entertainer. So, Fox argued successfully his comments should not be considered news and are not subject to defamation scrutiny. This is the “no one should take what he says seriously argument,” which is hypocritical because that is why the person is on the air. Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham, O’Donnell et al are entertainers. And, the truth is not a consistent guest on the shows of too many.
  • With that said, we should not knock too many entertainers, as some comedians have reported news far more accurately than some news sources. But John Oliver, Trevor Noah and Jon Stewart never claimed to be news people. Yet, each have received acclaim for the veracity of their news reporting used in their comedy shows. The work they did on tele-evangelists, property seizure, voter id laws, punitive court costs, beauty pageants, conspiracy parrots, etc. were excellent.
  • Truth. We need this more than ever. Yet, too many have devalued its use. When the truth is deemed superfluous, the lies flow even more. And, organizations and followers take on the personality of their leader. The head of the Republican party is known as a very untruthful person. So, it is not a surprise conservative pundit David Brooks said a week ago, “To be a leader in the Republican Party means you have to lie.” This does not give a hall pass to Democrats, as they need to be as truthful as possible. The lying is far more prevalent on the right, but it is not absent on the left.

That is enough for now. Seek out the truth tellers. Ask questions and listen to the answers. But, it is more than OK to ignore those who are not only not in the ballpark, but are not in the same city as the truth.

Note to politicians (and so-called news people) – STOP THE NAME CALLING AND LABELING

The United States and the world have a lot of problems that need elected officials to address. The problems are multi-faceted in causes, so they require holistic thinking, educated and civil discussion and multi-faceted solutions. Our problems are hard enough to solve when we focus on the facts and issues, but nigh impossible when we listen to name calling and labeling as a substitute for discourse.

So, politicians, here is a simple piece of advice. If you cannot understand the first paragraph, then what you need to do is please resign. We don’t need people who decide not to add value and name call opponents. That is not civil discourse, that is childish playground talk. If you cannot add value with your commentary, please keep your thoughts to yourself. At least this citizen will not be listening to you, nor should others. That includes all politicians, not just the ones who disagree with your positions. It also includes those who are berating Tim Scott calling him “Uncle Tom” because he has the temerity to be a Black Republican.

The same goes with opinion hosts who are disguised as news people, but are really entertainers. Note, that is not my word, as Fox News decided to defend one its hosts who is being sued for defamation by saying his show should not be taken seriously as a news show, as it is an entertainment show. To repeat, Fox News said one of its night time hosts is an entertainer, so his opinions should be taken less seriously.

My advice to people who watch the news or read it online, please consider the source. Do they print errata notices when they get it wrong? Is it an opinion host or a newscaster saying or writing the news? Or is it one of those paid advertisements spread between the news, hoping you do not see the word AD on it? Is it a Facebook or Instagram friend who likes to share evocative videos just to get a rise out of folks?

For democracies to work, we must have a free and read press. Sadly, there are some who wish to taint all news as bad or fake, so they can basically do whatever they want. That is what we must guard against, especially after January 6. Civil discourse is a must. If our so-called leaders and talk show hosts cannot be such, then it falls on us to show them the way. Our leaders should be among our better angels, not our worse demons.

Negative news has a larger echo than positive news

We should remind ourselves that bad news has a larger echo than good news. This is why good news articles and social media posts are so needed. News agencies publish “conflict” as it sells better. The doctor who does things well 19 times out of 20 is not newsworthy, until he messes up that one time. The best offensive tackle is not newsworthy unless he is penalized or his opponent gets by him to the quarterback.

No question, division exists and civility is lacking to too many in discourse. But, what we don’t see and hear are the countless folks who are living their lives and getting along. Most people do not pay attention to the blathering untruths of people named Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham, et al. We are too busy paying attention to our own lives.

If we do watch news, it is more often entertainment or sports news or something someone shared on social media that was more provocative than accurate. In fact, much of what finds may way into my browser could qualify as gossip – some one reacting to the inanity said by an opinion host who is just trying to sell ratings. My reaction before I pass on reading it is “Oh, (insert name) must have said something stupid again.” Next.

Some have prophesized this will cause our extinction. It does threaten our democracy, but will likely not cause our extinction. On that front, what we need to worry about is too many people chasing too few water and food resources. So, before we are pronounced extinct, please note it is not as bad as portrayed, but it still needs to be a lot better. Our real problems are hard enough without some opinion host masquerading as a news person making up inane things. My advice is to ignore blather and check other sources.

Email to Tucker Carlson

The following was posted on the websites for Tucker Carlson and Fox News after I read yet one more untruthful thing .

Mr. Carlson, as a former Republican and now independent voter, I must beseech you to arc your comments to the truth rather than the rhetoric you have been using. I do not care if people are more conservative or progressive than I am on various issues, but I do care when people working for a news organization and politicians do not even try to be factual to drum up votes or ratings.

My former party is condemning Republicans who speak the truth and rationalizing those who do not. We need the party to find its bearings and get their rudderless ship back on a better path. Conspiracies, lies and fear mongering are not conducive to good governance. The Democrats are not perfect, but they are at least trying to govern, whether you agree with them or not.