Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meanness Makes a Comeback

Does anyone know the name Amy Goodman? Ms. G. is just like Rush Limbaugh, except that she's a woman (and that's a HUGE difference to El Rushbo), is frequently heard on NPR affiliates, and so she doesn't have to do commercials, and is (dare I use the word?) a liberal.
So Goodman's content differs from that of the FOX News crowd, and so does her approach to the news. There's none of the hand-waving, desk-pounding, mascara-slathering style that the FOX "news babes" have become so known for. No sneering condescension, no yelling, just facts delivered in a sort of understated way.
Our local paper runs Goodman's column once a week on Sundays, and this last one had me truly amazed. A police dispatch in White Plains, New York went out last November to answer a possible emergency at the home of  Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68 year-old Marine veteran with a heart condition. Chamberlain had inadvertently sent a signal on his heart monitor device.
His heart didn't give out on him, but the officers sent to help Chamberlain ended up killing him, using a taser, a beanbag gun and finally, two bullets from a police service revolver. I can't write everything that Goodman included on Sunday, but found the column at the top of the list under Google search "white plains NY man shot in home by police". I must be stupid, but I can't see how these things keep happening. And, yes, Chamberlain was African American.

The last presidential campaign that I recall without much meanness was in 1996, when Bill Clinton found himself challenged by Bob Dole. There's no point in trying to remember the issues that year, which were few. The truth was that Clinton had no real animosity towards Dole, and Dole, in turn, was too old-fashioned to want to play the "Heavy". Sure, a good number of people hate Clinton to this day, but not because of anything from that campaign.
All that's over. The nominating process for this election isn't even over, but the accusations are flying thick and fast, and not just, to be fair, in one direction. The Citizens United decision has opened the gates to campaign spending that King Solomon himself couldn't match. The presidential contest alone will generate spending over $1 billion before it's all over.
But will we be more informed from all this campaigning? I fear we won't be, because much of it will go to the political "dark side" - negative ads long on accusation and short on explanation. The word "failure" gets thrown at the Obama administration as though no other possible word will do - and it's only April! GOP faithful in Congress have only one goal - winning the next election. This means secretly rooting against economic success, hyping any Obama plan that doesn't succeed and making accusations about the future (in which nothing has happened and anything could) that touch on anything from gun control to illegal voting to euthanizing the elderly, shutting down oil wells, letting Iran have their way, and imposing mandatory sharia law on the states. Many of these slurs won't come from the mouth of the candidate himself, but all that money could get some people to say just about anything, including that the upcoming "war on religion" will result in locked churches.
Today's bottom line: if you're tired of the 2012 campaign, get ready to reduce your news media consumption time or you'll be much more tired by the time it's over.        


Post a Comment

<< Home