In the summer of 1963, I was looking forward to beginning college but being one of ten children in a blue-collar family, and being unable to find a job since high school graduation, it seemed unlikely that would happen. My scholarship would cover only tuition, which left books, room and board. I had received no information or advice about student aid and felt hopeless about my future. Home life was becoming increasingly more difficult so when Sgt. George Sterling, US Air Force recruiter, came to the house, I was ripe for the picking. Before I realized what was happening, I was stepping off a plane in San Antonio, headed for basic training at Lackland A.F.B. in Texas. Continue reading “November 22, 1963” »
I suppose it is the confluence of Veterans Day, Election Day and of course, Halloween that compels me to re-examine my deepest feelings about the country in which I am so fortunate to have been born. I fly our flag on appropriate holidays, remembering the days I was in uniform performing color-guard duty. I became very proficient at raising, lowering and folding Old Glory. Now, I just spinher around the staff, fasten her with a rubber band and stick her in the corner of the garage until she is needed again. Continue reading “Patriotism Prevails” »
Nine years after the most horrendous attack on American soil, we look back on that tragic September day and reflect on what has transpired since then. When those nineteen fanatics commandeered four jet airliners to use them as weapons against us, we were dumbfounded that our open society could be so vulnerable. The sense of horror and frustration soon gave way to anger, and under the leadership of President George W. Bush, we mobilized an international coalition of nations to take the fight to the terrorists. Continue reading “Terrorist Victory?” »
Much has been made of the so-called “Liberal Mainstream Media.” Allegations of bias come from both sides of the political spectrum but mostly we hear the Right crying foul for what they perceive to be news and entertainment media dominated by the Left. There is little doubt that the politics of many in the national media tend to be slightly left of center but the notion that the Right has been drowned out is patently absurd. The Right uses this myth of a Liberal-dominated national news media to justify the plethora of extreme Right-wing talk and public affairs shows on radio and now Fox television.
Fox News uses the tagline, “Fair and Balanced,” which has come to be one of the greatest ironies of all times. The network, owned by Australian-American mogul, Rupert Murdoch, manages operations much like George Steinbrenner runs the New York Yankees. Both understand the power of large sums of money and each imposes his will through spending whatever it takes to get what they want. It is sort of like the American Dream turned on its head. Instead of ordinary guys taking risks to develop their innovative ideas and make their fortunes, entrenched billionaires Murdoch and Steinbrenner use their money to sell their ideas, and overwhelm their competition.
The argument from the Right is that Fox News, as well as the thousands of local ultra-conservative radio and print franchises, are merely a counter-balance to the Left’s influence on the national media. It just does not work that way.
For the sake of argument, let us assume the national media is indeed the tool of the Left. The antidote is not more propaganda from the Right but truthful (as in the whole truth) and objective reporting. Any first-year journalism student knows the difference between “the press” and “yellow press.” When a reporter searches for facts to affirm what he has already concluded to be true, he is not reporting. He is selling. When a news anchor adds colorful condescending commentary to stories for the purpose of discounting or ridiculing the stated facts, she is not reporting. When the line between entertainment (e.g. Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, et al) and news is deliberately blurred, the news is devalued and naturally becomes highly suspect.
There are such things as professional standards of journalistic ethics and practices. A reporter does not have to disavow his political ideology to do his job but, like any doctor, teacher, scientist or other professional, he must suppress his bias to accurately investigate a story. This is why Creationism cannot stand the test as a science. Creationism begins with a conclusion and includes only those data that support the conclusion. Science begins with a hypothesis and confirms, disproves or modifies it as data are collected. Fox News reporters may not technically be propagandists but anyone who views the network for more than a day or two will see that the Murdoch fortune is working behind the scene to shape the news to fit his ultra-Right-wing taste.
One would think that all of the lampooning and mocking Fox has received would lead them to straighten up and fly right (poor metaphor) but it has not. Just as Steinbrenner will not stop stealing talent from other teams in the American League East, Murdoch is not likely to seek to become a noble individual who actually cares about the plight of average folks more than indulging his perverted sense of American values or shoring up his vast pile of cash.
The Harrisonburg Times is taking the mound against some heavy hitters. Obviously, it does not have the financial resources possessed by other news media in this market. If this fledgling e-paper is able to fly, it will be due to the support of local citizens who care about the information they consume, as well as the information they are fed. It is a noble attempt to both educate and enlighten our community. The Harrisonburg Times will eventually be known as either a revolutionary hero like George Washington or a romantic idealist like Don Quixote. I am rooting for it to be more like George… Washington, not Steinbrenner.
daverood [at] comcast.net
This content was submitted by the author, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Harrisonburg Times.
This post was submitted by David Rood.