Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shame on You, All of You, The Press

My morning routine has included Good Morning America since I can remember. I don't know when it started, but I do recall watching when Charlie Gibson and I *think* Joan Lunden served as the hosts of what was once the best morning news show on the block.

It is sad when things decline. Sadder yet when it is under the reign of such seemingly respectable luminaries as Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts. You want them to succeed. But it seems the spiralling that embodies all things MEDIA has also begun to rot the roots of a once admirable little tree that, while just as much fluff as substance, once was at least purposeful if not steeped in journalistic heft. But it seems even the sweetest, best intentions must be sucked into the piss-soaked vortex that is Modern News, or lack there of. Journalistic integrity is a pale whisper on a windy plain. Wave bye-bye to Excellence and Relevance, folks. Buckle in for the grinding ride of hell that is New Journalism in all its neon shouting and flatulent banter. (yay)

It's been going wrong for a long time now, but the election of Obama and the death of Jackson have pretty much writ that Salieri death-score. Woe is me, woe is us, woe is the brain that bakes in the heat of the scorched soul of pop culture. It is sad to see GMA shuffle relevant stories to the backburner to yet again beat that dead horse (pop star) deep into the ground: the doctor, the tracks, the son, the alleged son, the custody, the doctor, the drugs. Who the fuck cares?

And, this morning, coupled with the inevitable "new" news on Jackson, his addictions, his personal chef, and his conflicted fame, we also got to hear a sickeningly sarcastic news cast about Obama's "beer summit" with the White Guy and the Black Guy. And GMA was not alone. It seemed the only important news of the week was the arrest, the black professor, the white cop, and Obama's "horrifying" (yet accurate) comment.

First, let us not let those venerable members of the press off the hook. No matter the race of the questioner--for Press, in my eyes, you are all due a reckoning--did you not think that every member present at that press conference had a rock hard boner to ask that question? Who gives a shit about health care, Iraq, the economy, anything, when we can finally get that Black Man at the podium to answer a highly controversial question about race? God, they must have been dizzy with desire, wrecked with wanting, and blowing their loads all at once.

Too much? Too bad.

My cop experiences have been good and fair. I spent too much time with them one particularly bad winter due to a stalker problem. They chased and caught the son of a bitch and did their jobs well. On the fair front, I've been pulled over twice: once for having a light out, once because I was driving like a homicidal maniac. It must be stated, of course, that on that second, regrettable incident, I was not hauled out of my car and my car was not searched. I have, however, known African Americans--men and women--who were pulled over for piddling reasons and WERE searched. Weird. Wonder why.

Worse yet, it seems to me that it is general knowledge that this shit happens. I do not believe that it is "coddling" to extend a little racial sensitivity, then, when a cop is called to investigate a possible crime in process. NOT to give the possible criminal a break because of his poor, sad, racially compromised life, but to consider that it Might, MIGHT, be possible that a member of a specific race immediately feels threatened, vulnerable, and even guilty just by being who they are. So, if the questioning went on a little too long...if it got a little too tense...perhaps someone lost his temper and told that poor little white cop "Your mama."

Really? Gates talked shit about the cop's mama? Is that an arrestable offense? Because lock my ass up. I will talk shit about your mama any day of the week and two times on Tuesday.

But I really don't have to get into the legality of the situation. They dropped the charges because they knew the score: You shouldn't use your power as an officer of the law to threaten and incarcerate people just because they said your mama was a hooker. Sorry. You just can't.

The incident itself was interesting--a learning moment, if you will--but was it worthy of the non-stop blattering from the press? Gosh, I guess so. Because our president is African American and--much to the collective press' boner delight--he said that the police acted "stupidly." Well shit me a firestorm.

This leads me to today, already saturated beyond the point of reason with this ass of a story, each news outlet chose to dance their little dance of wicked deviltry, joshing about the "red, light, and blue" beer preferences and clearly hoping for a post-beer fistfight. As I readied myself for work, GMA yapping its own version of stupidity on this already stale story, I coolly considered shutting off the show for good. That verdict isn't out.

What saved me today was the wonderful humor column by John Kenney in The New Yorker. It's like a sweet salve for the soul, my friends. If print news dies, any hope for truth--and the brutal, even cruel indictments of our baser, monkey characters, leaping out of trees and shrieking for blood--will die with it. Thank you, John Kenney.

2 Comments:

Blogger Flushy McBucketpants said...

brilliant rant you got going on here. my favorite phrase: "neon shouting and flatulent banter."

and the relevant xkcd: http://xkcd.com/617/

1:34 PM  
Blogger Liesl said...

Two thumbs up!
Because I have two thumbs and they are up.

12:46 AM  

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