Friday, August 14, 2009

Maybe News Commentators and Politicians Need A Rating System or Comic Book Bubbles?

Some “bumper sticker” slogans people are shouting to draw the media’s attention at the healthcare Q & A sessions are a hoot. Hopefully the decisions will be guided by facts, not bumper stickers, lies, distortions, and fear-mongering. But this crap has thwarted needed reform ever since the ‘60’s so I won’t be surprised that it works.

Not exactly what I believe the Founders envisioned from the virtue of freedom of speech.

When I saw this clip of a figure some call a conservative commentator, but who behaves more like an entertainer…at first I expected one of those John Stewart “looks”…signaling he had said something absurd.

But realizing he was dead serious, I then gave the commentator the benefit of the doubt…We all can utter some pretty stupid things…but my cynical side went right to motive…this guy wants “ratings” so he is deliberately pandering to people predisposed to think that way by saying anything that will yank their chain.

But the impact this can obviously have on people predisposed to racism cannot be dismissed regardless of the motive.

Maybe we make commentators and politicians subject to a rating system for utterances, like we do for movies, music and other things where the line blurs between fact and fiction, e.g. GS for Grandstanding or BS for the obvious or NR for Needs Ratings or WSA for Will Say Anything for Attention?

Or one of those little disclosures they do at the beginning of fictional TV shows that people might take literally or a bubble over their head with fact or fiction or already discredited?

The real answer though is we (individuals, news media, etc.) need to stop dumbing everything down as my friend Bill Geist laments in this blog about some groups now showing the words on a big screen to the Pledge of Allegiance at some events…or the videos now showing examples of the bills and coins required to make change at grocery check out.

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