Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's Happened To US?

I’m wondering where we are going as a society these days and even as a global humanity.

It seems to me there are more deceptions, disagreements, and more contentions within our common exchanges of thought and action. Daily transactions often end in arguments over innocuous issues. Negotiations over important issues in the chambers of government and corporate boardrooms lack conversational courtesy and completion.

What has happened to us? Are we so cemented in blind opinion that we refuse to consider another thought or idea as valid? Are we so busy, so tied to the construct of time, that we cannot read a little more, research a little more and even change the channel once in awhile to hear another viewpoint?

My career as a reporter, writer, and producer in broadcast television began and was sustained in the era of fairness and strict rules. There were and are always more than two sides to every story and you were not a good reporter unless you sought out and checked all conceivable sides to the story and reported only the facts as you discovered them. If you didn’t, there was always a solid, experienced senior editor who demanded you verify your facts and eliminate conclusions or the story did not run.

These old editors where not just sticklers on facts and fairness they were curmudgeons on grammar and spelling. Find that today in the television newsrooms of America.

A great writer-reporter friend of mine once told me about a time an editor said to him after submitting a story.

“All A’s” It’s all A’s.”

My friend was thrilled, he was new at the job and he knew the old editor didn’t give out compliments.

As my friend started to walk away from the editors desk, glowing in the compliment, the editor said, “When you spell Manhattan, it has all “a’s” in it.

I see more blatant errors in news stories today than I ever did. There was one last night on the evening news from an old friend of mine. The anchor failed to put the word “alleged” in a sentence thereby removing the right of presumed innocence from an accused suspect.

I see more opinion in news stories today than ever would have been allowed in my era and should not be allowed today.

Opinion should be left to the certified experts and not to the reader or reporter of the story. We, as free citizens, have the responsibility to inform ourselves by listening, reading and watching widely. To listen to only one station, read one newspaper, or read one magazine you are narrowly informed about as much as a flashlight bean lights the whole darkness.

How do we as a society, with a multitude of informational choices, get back to informational accuracy and fairness and back to social and intellectual civility?

I think if society embraces courtesy and civility first, the media will have no choice, but to follow. The media today is a reflection of all social mores.

Perhaps it will take an individual change of heart! Perhaps it is the ascension of a conscious and benevolent choice of our hearts into the mind choices of life and remembering the “do unto” ethic that is a tenant of all beliefs.

We hear a lot about unconditional love these days. Maybe combined with our heart’s authentication and authorization that’ll work. I hope so.

Unconditional love is unencumbered, undefiled by emotion.


Anonymous said...

What about just leaving "opinion" to the bloggers? ;-)
One factor not to be overlooked in today's society is fear. It has never in my lifetime been more palpable. Nerves are short and tempers quick. Everyone is frazzled, either underworked or overworked. Virtually everyone has lost much in the past year or so. Many see no where to turn and no end in sight. The global issues, economic, political, and environmental are overwhelming. So, we tune in to see what Brittany is up to instead. Maybe we're just not up to viewing any serious journalism just now. fergiv ussins

Topher08 said...

I feel that 2009 society, as a whole, has become accustomed to acquiring a poisonous mixture of news, hearsay, and plain old gossip through the array of technological tools that are now readily available to each of us. This has forced newsrooms to submit up to the minute news at first glance for the sake of ratings shares, thus making news that is now reported en masse that is seldom reviewed and rarely verified. The news that is now reported reflects a voluminous amount of sensationalism, while reflecting little in the way of fact and objectivity. This may have something to do with the steady decay of global humanity.

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