Saturday, August 15, 2009

What we're not getting from the media, is killing us


OK so imagine, it's 1985. The economy is going gangbusters. And Charles Kuralt of CBS News comes on the tube for one of his "human interest" stories.

He finds "Gus from Huston" living under a bridge. And in his sweet and wistfully somber tone, Charles tells us about old Gus. Playing his harmonica, collecting his bottles, passing the hot and humid Houston Summer days away, remembering the old days and thinking about what he could have become. Then, as we're all softly serenaded by Gus' bluesy harmonica, the piece ends with good ol' Gus slowly wheeling his shopping cart full of lost dreams away into the sunset.

Now back in '85, as a 22 year-old strong buck, enjoying the fruits America had to offer, I would think to myself. "How useless! America is going gangbuster boom, and leave it to the Liberals at CBS News to always find someone left out, and feature him in their human interest pieces." I was disgusted at how on one hand America was in Glorious Morning, and yet the media always insisted on making sure that, 10 times a day, we never forgot there was someone left behind.

But now I understand, that if nothing else, these pieces were importantly cathartic. We at least never forgot that there are so many flavors of people in this world. And not all were able to partake in our boom. Some didn't have the education, the background, or the wherewithal to join our party. While we boomed the good boom, some got left behind, and remembering them was indeed the Christian thing to do.

To be sure, the news media went overboard with it. Because Reagan was President, it got to the point where you'd think all of America was homeless. Stories about the newly discovered homeless were everywhere. Time, Newsweek, CNN, CBS, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, you name it. During the Reagan years, for every story about the boom that was lifting up 99% of us, there were 5 stories about the 1% of us that were not-so-lucky and left out. But at least our valves were depressurized. Those who felt the empathetic sting of their fellow citizens being left behind had an outlet. Times 10.

But now the pressure is building and it has nowhere to go. Seems these days everybody knows someone who has been unemployed for at least 6 months or more. Foreclosures are at record historic levels. Long-term unemployment is worse than at any time since the Great Depression. Personal bankruptcies are through the roof. People in huge numbers are under employed, forced to settle for meager, benefitless part-time work at record rates.

And yet we don't get a single human interest story to help us blow off steam, because Obama is President. The news media has their guy in, so everything must be "green shoots." And it's zapping the American Spirit. Nothing zaps the spirit more than to not be empathized with. Recently I saw a story that looked like it might be about displaced people during the housing crisis, but it was about this lady who found an unusual job "house-sitting" multi-million dollar homes so that they looked lived in. She gushed about how much she enjoyed that unusual lifestyle, and how it was a "hidden green shoot" that is only now gloriously possible because of the state of the economy.

The American people so desperately want their pain to be felt, but they can't have it felt because Barack Obama is President. Feeling their pain would mean that all is not well. All is not well could be interpreted as Barack Obama doing something wrong. And Barack Obama doing something wrong goes completely against the narrative that the news media has created. Barack Obama is our great savior, and the news media will not permit anything to go against that narrative.

And so this is creating pressure that is not being released. As what the American people feel and experience every day on the ground gets worse and worse, and the news media sticks to their guns and proclaims that things are getting better and better. Thousands upon endless thousands of human interest stories about evictions, destitution, increasing hunger, are out there and growing larger by the day. Never have we needed them told more than we do now. But we can't have them told, because Barack Obama is President.

The top is about to blow off.

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