Yesterday, a mob (no other word for it) of misinformed, angry people who, when interviewed, said they were part of a group formed by Glenn Beck, shut down a heath care reform town hall in Tampa.
The local NBC television affiliate, when reporting on this, gave no context on what’s behind such events. Instead of analysis, the station just showed angry demonstrators and then said, go to our website and give us your opinion.
Give your opinion? Based on what? Zero reporting of what inspired the demonstrators? Zero reporting on whether that inspiration had any basis in fact?
So, why should anyone be surprised that the situation is now escalating and, on Twitter, an anti-health insurance reform leader is telling fellow protesters to bring guns to use against union leaders and community organizers at subsequent town halls?
When American television news became infotainment and ratings trumped all, we lost an important means of educating people. Almost nobody is well-informed in this country, despite making the effort of watching so-called 24-hour news stations. CNN, calling itself an all-news network, hosted Glenn Beck until he was wooed away by Faux News, and still hosts the race-baiter Lou Dobbs!
With the simmering racism that’s stoked by Beck, Dobbs, and others, we have a populace, or a large swathe of it, that’s about as ignorant and probably close to as resentful as the poor undereducated masses of some oil-rich countries. Over there, they believe bin Laden. Over here, their American counterparts believe Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
As a result, many are nursing pseudo-grievances that can and do lead to violence.
And now, we have the former Republican VP candidate, stirring the flames, crazily claiming that the president’s “death panel” wants to euthanize her Downs Syndrome child.
All of the above are acting in the service of the health insurance industry so insurers can keep their near-monopolies in their respective areas, and suck the lifeblood out of the very people they’re manipulating into hate and potential violence. But the mainstream news media won’t report that. Instead, everything is treated with so-called balance, with opportunities for he said/she said, as if there were no actual truth to be uncovered, just opinion that you form based on the words of flacks and then, go post on the TV stations’ websites.
This insanity is the fault of news executives who care nothing about fact and everything about ratings. They hire industry mouthpieces and nutcases who can manipulate the ignorant into a frothing frenzy.
Is there a Cronkite in the house? When will the mainstream media finally stop playing games and tell it like it is? Or are they going to wait until those twitterers show up with their guns and start blasting away?
– Anita Bartholomew