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July 14, 2009

Weasel News For An Apathetic Nation

How much fast food can we eat, liquor should we drink, or drugs do we swallow to continue numbing ourselves to the dearth of "factual and truthful" news we get in this country? Reality shows are competing with the reality of news networks that are reporting everything but news. The lack of substantive news is not limited to television and includes radio and media print. The competition is for higher ratings, more sponsors and careers based on popularity versus responsible journalism. Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, has a word that aptly describes the type of news reporting we are getting in two words "Weasel Words". A weasel is a small slithery mammal but the word is sometimes used to describe certain homosapiens. According to Webster's dictionary, weasel also "means to escape from or evade a situation or obligation." Webster's dictionary definition for weasel word is "the weasel's habit of sucking the contents of an egg while leaving the shell superficially intact; a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position." Weasel words are words or phrases that seemingly support statements without verifying if the source is reliable. They give the validity of authority to a statement without giving enough information to determine if it is true. Weasel words and the human weasels that use them don't have a neutral point of view. They sit at their desk and spread hearsay and spout their personal opinions. Condescendingly they pass along unsubstantiated, vague and colored words and phrases to provoke, enflame and divide. Some weasel words used liberally throughout the news reporting community or; "They say that... Some sources claim... Critics/experts say that... It is believed... Research has shown... It is rumored that... Many people say... presumably, allegedly, arguably, supposedly, actually... the mainstream scientific is claimed... studies show... it is notable... etc. etc. Summed up, television news and its affiliates pose as information when, in fact, its value and purpose is entertainment, nothing more. The past two weeks I purposely sat down and observed mainstream and cable news stations from A-Z. It couldn't be a co-incidence that the only stations I viewed that reported specific sources and names were primarily supported financially by the public and its viewers, (PBS) Public Broadcasting Stations and Link TV which broadcasts Democracy Now. The mainstream and cable news I viewed was pitiful, self-serving, biased and repetitive. How could the entire world be in turmoil and the news cherry picked about what we will see and hear? Brain washing, indoctrination and propaganda seem to be the goal of current news reporting and journalism. We should take a hard long look at how we are being manhandled and manipulated in our own country by corporations and people that own our news organizations. Reflect on the news coverage of this past two weeks. If I dropped in from another planet I would assume that Michael Jackson, Sarah Palin, and congressional in fighting was all Americans wanted to hear about. I was disgusted then infuriated as I watched and listened to commentators, journalist and seemingly intelligent news anchors drool over the death of a pop star, (Jackson) the resignation of a governor whose only interest seem to be her own (Palin) and the daily belittling, back biting an arguing between the two political parties that run this country (Congress). What has become of us to allow the people we pay to represent and inform us to treat us like imbeciles and zombies? Where is our outrage as we watch people, families and situations reduced to name calling, labeling and outright hate-filled and venomous rhetoric?

I am tired of it. I am tired of being told that if I don't like it - don't watch it or read it. That comment should be reserved for television shows and publications whose purpose is to entertain, not to inform. I remember as a child watching the news or reading the daily newspaper with my parents because it was a source of information they trusted and relied on to stay abreast of the issues of the day. Weasel words were the exception not the rule. I deserve to know that when I tune in or read a newspaper that I will be given enough information to draw my own conclusions and opinions. You deserve the same. How do we change what we see and hear? I have the following suggestions. First, let the advertisers and sponsors that monopolize news programming know that you will no longer support them or their products until they stop controlling or manipulating what is said or written. The people that own television, radio stations and newspapers listen with their wallets. Money is all they understand, so let's make their pockets lighter so we will get their ears. Money is the only power outside of our vote that gives us power. Second, write, call and e-mail your favorite television, radio or newspaper and tell them unless they stop giving us crap and passing it off as news that you will stop watching, listening or reading and then do just that immediately. Everyday that we allow this charade that masquerades as news into our homes, we contribute to another generation becoming numb to the truth around them. We teach them by our apathy that we are powerless to demand better and thereby become better. Changing the world we live in starts with changing our own lives on the smallest most basic levels. What we allow into our minds and hearts affect how we see the world, each other and ourselves. I don't like what I see and I want to change it but I can't do it alone. I need you to get aboard. In conclusion I call on you to become involved for the sake of us all. If not, the hatred, prejudices, self righteous, one sided news will continue to erode any sense of morality and honor we have as a nation. The fall of Rome imploded from within as the citizens danced the night away. Are you prepared to let weasels that spout weasel words bring the walls down around us?

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