Temporary “news” boycott

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September 8, 2011 by 8junebugs

My biggest problem with US news today, as a consumer and as a trained journalist, is how often actual news takes a backseat to the popular news of the day. Right now, this is informing two decisions:

1) I will be skipping the 9/11 retrospectives this week, as much as humanly possible. I deeply respect every individual and family’s experience of that day’s horror and the uncertainty that followed. I do not respect the media’s unconscionable efforts to capitalize on individual loss and collective emotion. That 10 years have passed isn’t news, and I’m actually a little insulted by the insinuation that I might need or want to be reminded of what happened that day…as if I could forget.

The only exception to this is Day of Destruction, Decade of War, the documentary Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel put together on how our nation has changed since that day. (It’s DVR’d — NO SPOILERS! Oh, wait…) This makes the cut because the impact of what we’ve done to US society in the last 10 years will last longer than even the memories we carry with us today. We fundamentally changed our nation after that attack, and we lost more than we knew.

Also? I recognize that people hate Maddow for a whole bunch of reasons, but anyone who says she’s bad at journalism is, to coin the phrase, lying or selling something. She does her homework, she reports with a passion for truth (and justice, for whatever that’s worth these days), and she admits it when she gets it wrong. I realize that I was trained in the old-school style of reporting, right before it all changed, but her work, her talent, and her commitment to facts and analysis are invaluable to me right now.

2) I’m not watching the so-called debates between the Republican candidates…at least not live. The likelihood that one of them will cop to a policy position I could stomach is slim to none…and although such an admission would actually be news, it would also end their candidacy. I’ve done my homework and the posturing they have to do to win over the electorate they’ve groomed makes me physically ill. I’m not thrilled with the current administration, but today’s GOP is — and I cannot stress this strongly enough — too anti-me to accept. No one on their slate of potential POTUSes knows or cares about my interests, to say nothing of protecting or even representing my interests. A vote for any one of them would be a vote against my own rights, my own principles, and my own expectations for the future of this nation.

One candidate will pull ahead, and if it’s anyone other than Huntsman, with whom I still vehemently disagree on many levels, then god help the Grand Old Party. Either way, the primary scuffle for Top Ideologue will be over in February and Allan Lichtman, the Punxsutawney Phil of presidential odds and a prof at my alma mater, has already called this one. I have no reason to think he’s wrong (although I’ll write about it anyway)…but I urge y’all to make him right. This time, we’re not choosing the lesser of two evils — we’re deciding whether we will tread water or drown altogether.

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