Responding to the Journalism Crisis

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via Responding to the Journalism Crisis

We need to find a way to talk to each other, and not just at each other. We need to listen to each other, and not be so quick to respond with a put down or a label or an accusation.

Does the present state of journalism reflect our current attitudes toward “others”? Or does it drive our attitudes towards “others”?

Maybe its both.

We wouldn’t “buy” what they are dishing out if we didn’t want it. The biased, clickbait journalism that we consume is, sadly, just a reflection of who we have become. Maybe it’s who we always were?

At the same time, the hyped up “news” outlets of the left and right variety to a good job of stirring up the division among us and agitating us to fight with other. We toss meme hand grenades into the social media foxholes of our “enemies”, while we rally the troops hiding in the trenches, and they are fueled by a nonstop barrage of media assault.

What are coming too? Where does this end? Is there any hope?

Maybe, but we need to become better news consumers and demand more integrity from our news sources. We need to become more astute in our vetting of fact and eschew the clickbait headlines that dangle in front of our faces like garish posters advertising the wolf boy at a carnival.

We need to stop ourselves from posting knee-jerk responses on social media, labeling those we disagree with and parroting our talking points without really listening or engaging in independent thought. We need to stop the us-against-them mentality when it comes to politics and worldviews and see ourselves as neighbors who have different perspectives.

Yes, worldviews matter, but relationships matter more. No one is winning the social media debates. We are losing our connectedness in a sea of disjointed, clamorous rancor.

Followers of Christ should seek to set a better example. We should be salt and light. We should have a different flavor. We should not defined by the political positions that we hold, but by the love and character of Christ.

Shutdown the Political Game

Disillusioned PoliticianSomeone is lying. At least someone is not telling the truth, not all of it anyway. Maybe no one is being honest.

When I listen to CNN, I hear senators and commentators talking about John Boehner, and his cronies, and the Senate and how they refuse to compromise. When I  listen to Fox News, I hear representatives and commentators talking about President Obama, and Harry Reid and the Senate and how they refuse to compromise.

Both sides blame the government shutdown on the other. The last comments I heard on CNN were about how federal parks are closed, people are out of work and barricades are shutting the public out, as if barricades put themselves up. Do these people think we are stupid?! Someone gave the orders to put the barricades up. Someone was paid to put them up. Someone is being paid to keep people out.

The conservative sources I read say the orders are being given to “make people feel” feel the impact of the shutdown because they think “the people” will blame the Republicans. It certainly seems that way. People are being paid to keep the lid on the shutdown. The liberal sources I listen to reflect a sort of confidence in the perception that the Republicans are at fault. From my perspective, the Emperor has no clothes!

That does not mean the Republicans get a free pass. Both sides are playing against the middle. This game of chicken is a car wreck, and the car getting wrecked is “the people”. Real people are out of work, can’t pay the mortgage, can’t buy groceries. Real people spending money on vacations can’t get into parks. Real people living on federal land are being dispossessed. Real soldiers’ families are no longer getting their death benefits. They have to rely on the generosity of “the people” to provide money for burial.

There is no generosity in our politicians. There is no civility left in politics. I have never been more repulsed by political gamesmanship. Politics has never been a dirtier word.

Both sides seem to think that the shutdown will be solidly pinned on the other side. Both sides may be wrong. They seem to think they are playing with Monopoly money and pawns. It is time to shutdown the political game and turn up the heat on our politicians.