Journalism’s new norm is reaction. It is called News. In Podcast 596-Values, news coverage today is a reaction to something someone said or wrote. News is reaction to a new initiative by some government entity. Donald Trump hasn’t been president for a month yet. Already it seems like a year. Trump’s pace of executive orders, executive actions, tweets and initiatives allows him to dominate the media battle space while he cooks up another controversy stew to cauterize yesterday’s controversy.
In Podcast 596-Values, where is the media battle ground? It’s not the Internet. It’s some some battlefield in Europe or Virginia where armies clashed. It’s not a battlefield with stories of élan, bravery or great deeds. The media battle space is our brain. This battlefield is as small or as expansive as it needs to be. As the media storm rages and the wind blows, how do we know our tent is securely fastened and isn’t going to blow away? It call comes down to something called values.
In Podcast 596-Our Values, time to take a pause in this daily insanity of back and forth partisan media coverage. A break from ‘journalists’ who call two or three people, get some quotes, write it up and call it a day. Time to take a look at what we believe as individuals and as a people. Democrat, Republican, Populist, Populist Nationalist, Libertarian, Communist, Socialist, Moderate, Partisan, and Extreme alike. We’re all on a journey together in our lifetime on this planet.
What do we believe? What are the Values we hold dear? Where do those values come from? How do those values anchor us when the gales of change blow up even when those gales are generated from the hot air of politicians in Washington? Politicians who cry and grandstand secure in the knowledge the things they say and do won’t be investigated for any length of time or to any real conclusion?
Reporters determine our values by looking at the latest poll or driving to a shopping center and asking people in the parking lot a few questions. The result is a few hundred words taking the ‘temperature’ of regular everyday ‘folk’. Don’t have any supporters of the president in your state to talk to? Just drive across the state line to the first town and sit in the parking lot of a Safeway or Piggly Wiggly until mom and the kids show up, or chat up and write up what old uncle Frank thinks, while he sits in his 1997 Lincoln waiting for Aunt June. The headline? “Middle America Supports Trump”. Boom.
Work on a national TV show? Find that article about middle america. Get that pollster on the show. Find that Congressmen who says that crazy stuff. Get that woman on from that foundation. Say some stuff. Get some calls. Move on to the next ‘story’. Clicks. Listens. Comments. Calls. Ratings!
The battlefield is the mind. How do you avoid becoming a casualty in the partisan political war? It’s increasingly a battlefield filled with threats. More and more it’s a battlefield better characterized as a moonscape no man’s land, where the shell shocked wander, dazed and confused. Survival in this environment depends on what we believe. Why we believe it. Where we learned it. Who taught us. Where we get our information. How we check our information. What anchors us in the storm, or what kind of ground we have pounded our tent pegs into.