For the Love of NPR

Being between jobs and all … you know how it is. If you’re not careful the TV becomes the hearth, the fireplace, the books, the newspapers, the board games … the all-consuming hub of preoccupation.

I must turn it off.

A phone call to a friend reminded me that I was missing something. He mentioned NPR (that’s listener-supported National Public Radio, for those outside the states). He had been listening recently. The TV was on when I called him; the TV is off now.

All day CNN and MSNBC have been running snippets of Gov. Howard Dean’s infamous Monday night “screech,” about every 15 minutes, followed by snippets of the late night talk show hosts making fun of said screech, followed by partisan pundits making grave predictions prompted by screech.

Oh … my … Gosh! We came that close (presses fingers together) to actually electing a human being who’s not afraid of straying from the script. I will still vote for Dean in the primary, even if he drops out of the race, but it seems his candidacy all but died Monday night. There’s no sense in not having hope, though.

The TV was on today from 6:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., in the background, sometimes in the foreground. Then it just occurred to me: Time for a total TV blockout. No TV news, no TV spinmeisters, no TV pundits, no TV irritants! No mas! No mas! No mas!

I will not be brainwashed by TASS! (I might rent a movie later, however.)

So it’s on to NPR now. I just listened to a good interview with Senator Joe Lieberman. I disagree with the senator on nearly every issue, but he’s a good interview and a sincere man. Now it’s NPR’s news: non-abrasive, non-commercial, and non-pushy (and nary a mention of Dean’s minor gaffe). It’s just informative and simply excellent.

I called the Republicrats bluff and my man Dean took a serious beating. However, the beating turned out to be very revealing about the continuing “decline and fall” of journalism in America. It showed how easily Americans continue to be swayed by propaganda in the major media, who are owned by the nation’s largest corporations, who often benefit greatly by having their friends in office.

I think no matter what happens Dean is going to be OK; the big-time press, and its ability to honestly cover and prioritize the news, is another story. It’s clear the “biggies” know how to pile on a wounded candidate and tell the people what to think, but what else can they do?

(I Google’d “Dean”+”bashing” and came up with 2,880 instances/links. Also, did you know that the suggested replacement for “Republicrats” in the spell check is “Republic rats.”)

To me, distortion, exaggeration, and the practices of “shock” do not make for good news sources. I prefer NPR. How ’bout you?

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