Cyndi's Two Cents

An axe to grind

One of my friends recently posted a memory on Facebook, recalling his personal experiences of the night The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964.  His recollection of the program and acceptance thereof in his household at the time created a flurry of activity as other friends posted their own memories.

In 1964, we didn’t have access to a bajillion (that’s a made-up word so please don’t call me out on it) television stations.  We listened to our local radio station except at night when a big stick somewhere in a far-away city sent a crystal clear broadcast and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to listen to the music and programming played.  We all had local newspapers that arrived daily or weekly and kept us abreast of everything from the price of eggs at the IGA to the score of Tuesday night’s basketball game to the topic of Freddy Brown’s demonstration at the Lucky Clover’s 4-H Club meeting.

We didn’t tweet.  We didn’t text.  And of course there was that one phone in the kitchen that may or may not have been on a party line.  I was only 2 years old in 1964 and my recollection of the Beatles appearance is from re-runs and documentaries I’ve seen about “The British Invasion” on PBS.  Yet, I know all about it.  It was a big deal and it didn’t get lost in all the noise and clutter of 463 other television stations.

I remember when television programming was G-rated and national network news was a reputable source for news relevant to American viewers.  I remember clearly the introductory “sounder” of the nightly newscast that would silence conversation and draw people nearer to the television set.

Sadly, pertinent news content has, for the most part, disappeared.  Ethics have gone out the window.  Accountability is a thing of the past.  Integrity has become obsolete.  They call it a news show, but we typically get only one side of an issue and that is the one that further advances the social and political interests of those behind the curtain, controlling the content.

I watched a television “news” program last Sunday morning that featured a host interviewing various political figures.  The body language and voice of the host was confrontational and at times mean-spirited when addressing the first person to be interviewed.  When that guest was dismissed (and he was, literally) and the second guest arrived, the host was transformed into a non-combative, almost passive friend.

Instead of presenting the news in a serious authoritative manner, many of today’s network news anchors are condescending in their delivery while trying to appear sincere and relational with their audience.  They tell us how to feel and what to think and whose side we should be on.

The good news is there are many talented journalists out there doing the research and covering all sides of the stories that matter to the people.  The bad news is those reporters are less likely to show up in the air chair on the television news set than someone with a handsome mug, less than admirable ethical standards and an axe to grind.

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