Monday, January 21, 2008

CNN Fanning the Flames of Race during a Holiday - does it really sell nowadays?

The media is still drumming the beat about race, gleefully, on a day when race should be ignored. Dr. Martin Luther King was about Peace, so why the media insists on innervating the issue about the "civil wars" among pro- or anti- Clinton camps of blacks is gratuitous and another example of how the media always gets in the way of politics.

I know we need them. The media. But we don't need them playing ping pong with the facts and putting their spin on it. CNN was doing good for a while there, during its Election Bowl yesterday where, for once, they shut up and let us watch the news ourselves, allowing us to draw our own conclusions about what we witnessed -- it was the best viewing I've ever seen on the show. No re-interpretations of what was said, nobody's voice was narrating the subjects performance simultaneously preventing us from hearing the subject's speech. CNN just put the microphones on and did the right thing: They Shut Up.

But of course, they can't go off air too long, as we might turn to C-Span, so they did their schtick for their advertisers and returned on air, and started talking about how everything is about race. Well, in a country of former slaves, a majority of whom thought they'd never see a black man reach Senator Barack Obama's stature, it's a foregone conclusion that it's an emotional vote for the black masses. That's like denying that Scots weren't proud when Sean Connery finally became knighted or whatever it was he was bestowed. We live in clusters in this society, but the media tries to do the defining of those clusters, which is the problem.

The media defines what is fighting words with their leading questions, and make much ado about nothing, then ask people the self-serving obvious question about "is race now a factor in the election?" Yes, you put it there by drawing attention to it -- idiot! You can't be the boy who cried wolf and expect to be ignored only the second time around! But here's to hoping the issue will go away.

Elections are personal choices, some racial-based, some gender-based, some financial-based -- it depends upon the person. Trying to bring race into the picture during celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's achievements shows how far we truly haven't come. The press should be ashamed of itself for fanning the flames of dissension through its race-baiting rhetoric. Were they taking polls of Jewish voters when Senator Leiberman was running for Vice-President with Al Gore?

No one is getting hosed today, or beaten, except on MSNBC's Dock Block shows (more on that, when I have the time).

I believe in a free press. But I believe they've changed their job descriptions. They give us their slant on the news then tell us how to think. Well, that's why we need to muzzle them. The news anchor as star was supposed to be on the Mary Tyler Moore show, acting the part. Now life imitates art and they've become real life "characters."

If I had it my way, all the news should be C-Span. Just like we don't miss the Writers Guild writers while on strike (we're doing fine without their banal shows), the press could do well to strike, too, so we can define the issues (by talking amongst ourselves). Let people turn on the TV and watch live news feed. The last thing I want to do is listen to a bunch of touted "black-for-the-week" pundits trotted out to talk about race issues about people to whom they can barely relate -- because they have different ethnic experiences (Soledad O'Brien referred to Senator Obama as a "black guy," exclaiming about Obama's poll rankings or something -- I usually turn the channel when she's on television nowadays, so I don't know if she did worse or better beyond her exclamation).

The media has to dim its star to truly let the sun illuminate. They can't be the subjects of the piece. Nor should they be pontificating. They're journalists. Bring on the experts -- not the same old pony-experts, who make a living at talking on the quick and like James Brown said -- but "Sayin' Nothin!

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