Sunday, March 21, 2010

Press Here

Some people make headlines while others make history.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt
I advise you to take what the general media says about anyone with more than a grain, more like a handful, of salt. I was never a major celebrity during my career, but in my small way I had a public life and appeared on radio and television programs as a guest and was interviewed by newspapers and magazines. In my memory I can recall only one journalist, for the New York Daily News, who was interested in finding out and reporting accurately on what I did. All the rest, to one degree or another, tried to find something strange ("newsworthy") about me to discuss. As a result I have a healthy disregard for whatever I read in the papers or see on TV or Internet news about anyone in the arts, show business, sports, religion or politics.

Instead of accepting the fact that we are all human beings, trying to get by in life, with all of it's daily problems and solutions, some of the media and its fans try to find the real secret behind someone's actions, the real "dirt." What a waste of time and effort!

Wrong, sensationalized reporting of people and events has caused much misunderstanding and trouble in the world from the condemnation and death of Socrates up to the recent health care debate. Facts are brought out and interpreted one way or another. Other facts are ignored.

Socrates made history. If he hadn't mentioned his accusers by name we would probably never know who they were.

Before I lessen or insult anyone's efforts I want to assume that there are responsible, intelligent journalists in our society. There certainly are. They may be hard to find because their reporting is not intended to tantalize us with outrage or scorn. It's much easier, it seems, and more interesting, to have an emotional reaction to people and events than an intelligent one.

(That said, one of these days, soon I hope, I will write about the New York Journal American and the Mad Bomber.)

We have freedom of the press in this country, and thank heaven we do. That it is often misused or poorly applied is no excuse for denying that freedom. That there is a dumbing down process to much of what we are given by the media is an undeniable fact. Given that fact it is up to us as individuals, the world over, to resist it and to hold the media accountable for it's actions just as we should our governments. The press is very powerful. Just as honest reporting has been able to topple tyranny, dishonest, or even just irresponsible reporting has helped to establish it.

No matter what the story there is always another side or other sides to it. Don't stop watching the news or reading the papers, but always have that handful of salt ready to fling in the face of the reporting if you are not hearing all the sides.

(This is not a contest.)

In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you can but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.

Answers will be published the first day of Summer.

DB - The Vagabond


Linda's World said...

In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you can but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.
MY ANSWER: that woodpecker will topple the tree outside your window.

Tired Linda in Washington state

Ally Lifewithally said...

I take whatever I read in the News Papers and on the Media with a pinch of salt ~ As you say Many reporters try to sensationalize the most ordinary news items ~ which is a shame as they can be very hurtful to the person/persons they are writing about ~ Ally x

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

We appear to have lost the capacity for thoughtful discourse, honest debate, and contemplative solutions. Instead, we knee jerk and sound bite.

Heli gunner Tom said...

Thank you for your comment on my Journal.
i always thought that the majority of actors leaned toward the "Left." What is your opinion on this subject?

BTW, Amnesty is NEXT on the Fed. docket, and the Dims will try hard to PUSH that through too before the mid term elections. Give them an inch and they take a mile.

Tom S