I recommend the hour-long “Moyers & Company” TV program, which airs Sunday mornings on PBS. Bill Moyers has been around for years. Most of us were introduced to him as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s White House press secretary. His show presents “important” issues with knowledgeable people in an attempt to add fact and intelligence (reason) to our national discourse on politics and governance. Moyers is the only such show on politics that I am currently watching.
I’ve quit watching the network news or any of the cable programs devoted to politics. I was never able to bring myself to watch (other than for a laugh) the Fox programming of Dreck, Inanity and O’Really. Glenn Beck drank the Kool-Aid. Inanity is as his name suggests and O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” is a loopy contradiction of terms and should be more aptly named “No Facts Zone.”
The MSNBC stable of show hosts has become dreary, too. Matthews, Sharpton, Maddow and O’Donnell continue to shill the company line provided by Democrats. They see “victims” everywhere and what is government going to do about it? Oh, I’ll start watching again this fall but what are summers for, but vacations? Relief.
Most Americans get information on their communities from their local TV stations. What passes for news is presented in 30-minute evening segments that are so insulting to the intelligence as to be comical. In 30 minutes, how much airtime, on average, is devoted to substantive news on our communities? I’m not talking about sports or weather but information on our local or state governments, transportation or essential school news. Research indicates it is 22 seconds. That’s right, folks, 22 seconds.
Instead we get a TV talking head describing how Abraham Oliver poured gasoline on his girlfriend, all accompanied by off-camera moans. Then, a “Live at Five” segment announces an elderly sexual assault in Titusville. And, yes, of course, a video of thieves conducting a nighttime pawnshop heist in Ocala. Ocala! And how about a closing 12-second segment on Casey Anthony being sued for defamation? I’d rather have a colonoscopy. What’s that? They are one and the same. No, watching local TV news is a lobotomy.
On his June 3 program, Bill Moyers interviewed psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of “The Righteous Mind.” Haidt discusses moral psychology and its implications for our political system. He acknowledges personally moving from a liberal perspective to a more conservative one as a result of his lifelong research and writing. Haidt asserts that politics is really religion from the perspective of sacredness (What it aspires to accomplish). And that tragically for the nation, we’ve moved to a Manichaean confrontation where each side (conservative/liberal) believes “we’re living in reality and the other resides in la-la land.” I’m fighting for good. You’re fighting for evil. And of course, you don’t ever compromise with evil.
I, for one, have never thought Republicans evil — they’ve just sold out. Much like their Democratic brethren. Our political system is corrupt, our politicians corrupt (I am sure your congressman is “quite” the exception). Our Supreme Court is on retainer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the No. 1 job for the president is fundraiser (and all that that implies and money buys).
Jonathan Haidt offers two solutions. No demonization of the “other” side and clean up congressional corruption. Good luck with either.
Oh, a “Live at Five” exclusive! Lindsay Lohan to play Casey Anthony. Details at 11. Lobotomy anyone?
Jepson is a 24-year resident of Florida. He’s fiscally conservative, socially liberal, likes art and embraces diversity of opinion. Reach him at Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US