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Pakistani-Taliban and Other MSNBC Foibles

I can’t speak from much experience, having been alive only 26 years, but it seems to me that our news outlets have greatly expanded the definition of "all the news that’s fit to print".

Like most of my fellow progressives, my preferred cable news source is MSNBC. I had some free time this morning and decided to turn the tube on while getting ready for work. I saw some sloppy stories about last night’s primary results followed by a string of travesties. Here are a few:

Flight attendant out on bail…

Apparently this gentleman was stressed out at work and yelled at a customer, then grabbed a cold one and fled the plane by way of the emergency exit.

Flood-stricken Pakistan seeks aid…

Okay, good news, right? Well when the talking head reading the story looks straight into the camera and says "Pakistani-Taliban militants" are pressing the government to refuse aid from the U.S., you’ve gone into the realm of opinion. I couldn’t find any citation of statements or sources that this information had actually come from the Taliban. Opinion has no place in the news. Opinions are not news, they’re opinions. Until you can show me when and where these gentlemen identified themselves as Taliban, they’re simply Pakistanis.

And this jewel, which told me that if I drink heavily (in the anchor’s words) I’m four times less likely to get arthritis…

I don’t drink for personal reasons, and this story certainly isn’t going to change that. I accept that there are multiple health benefits from temperate or moderate drinking. A glass of wine on occasion is good for your heart, etc. To say that drinking heavily has benefits, however, shows a complete lack of responsibility by our friends at MSNBC. Why would you encourage people to drink heavily? What’s the matter with you?

All of this on the heels of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggesting ‘drug testing’ for folks who criticize our President. (h/t Teddy Partridge)

My experience over the last 24 hours has caused me to question the state of our media today. I have seen this discussed on multiple news articles (ironic, eh?) and on many, many blogs. I have accepted for a while now that our media is run by their Corporate Sponsors and the Politicians Who Love Them. I did not think that the problem had gone this far.

Robert Gibbs is allowed to vilify the very people whom elected his boss and the media doesn’t care. MSNBC is calling people Taliban and the media doesn’t care. But an airline flight attendant uses the f-word and pops the emergency door on the plane and we get round the clock coverage. Like I said at the beginning of this rant, I’m a young guy who doesn’t have much experience in the world, and I certainly haven’t been watching the news as long as some of the folks on this site. I’ve heard stories, though, of folks like Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite, to name a couple. Folks who were there for America when America needed them. Folks who walked our country through the moon landing, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Viet Nam War. Where are those folks today? Have we as a nation become so enamored with our own actions and shennanigans that we’ve stopped caring about what goes on in the world? Have we become so lazy that we’ve stopped questioning the integrity of our media’s sources, and analyzing the content of their reports?

I’m no conspiracy theorist. I have a hard time believing some of the opinions out there that run along the lines of "The media is deliberately keeping us in the dark. Maybe I’m naive. I’m just having a hard time accepting that America, or at least the majority of America, doesn’t care enough or pay enough attention to the news to realize how bad things have really gotten.

Oh, and Bob Gibbs, I’m not a drug addict. I haven’t had a drink or a drug in 9 years. I’ve been on welfare. I pay taxes and I vote. I criticize our President because he lied. He lied about everything. Not only did he lie about everything, but he’s making things worse. I’ve got a right to gripe, as does everyone else in this country. It’s a right that’s assured to me by the Constitution. Maybe you’ve heard of it. You might want to read it sometime. Screw you.

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I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

-D.H. Lawrence

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