Monday, November 07, 2005

The News is Less Than Just Another Show

Here is the rule: You cannot take ANYTHING on television at face value. It's all about reading between the lines or you end up another brain dead slob.

I'm writing this because of the riots in France. I try to avoid writing about political stuff. This is actually about News sources. If you watch tv news (local, cnn, whatever), read the newspaper or check the mainstream news on the internet, the reporting of the riots in France is mostly just footage of things on fire. Yes, yes, wipe the drool off your chins. The News may tell you how many cities are involved or how many people have been arrested or that a curfew is being imposed. Really in depth stories seem to say the violence was sparked by "immigrants living in poverty" or even two immigrant teens who allegedly ran from the police and were electricuted to death. Fascinating.

That seems to be the extent of what they like to report. What is so insulting and disappointing is that they show us the flames, they even tell us the "spark," but nobody wants to talk about why the powder keg was sitting there in the first place. The powder keg should be the central issue. It is insulting that all news corporations seem to be too spineless to talk about the central issue and that they appear to think I am too stupid to want to know. You saw the pretty flames didn't you? Okay then, just say "chaos is bad... when will the madness stop?... and so forth." That will be the end of it. Thank you, corny newscasters across the country.

I haven't heard it from any "reliable" news source, but what I can gather is that this is a civil rights movement by mainly Africans and Arabs who have been discriminated against by French society and as a result cannot find gainful employment and therefore live in poverty. Is that so hard to say? And, if that is the case, please do not expect me to feel sorry for the complacent French just because the couture shoe is on the other foot. Please allow me to put imaginary words in Jacques Chirac's mouth, "We have been crapping on these people for decades. We thought we had a good thing going. Now they suddenly decide to stand up for themselves by whatever means available to them?" Yes, only a genius could have predicted that outcome.

It's a shame France is on fire but a solution will not be found if you cannot bring yourself to talk about the issue. Marshall law is not a solution. The violence will end when these people are convinced something in their lives will improve. That is what Jacques should be talking about, implementing, constructing.

If our news sources don't have the sac to tell us what is going on then they are worthless. Worse, they are a red herring because you go to them thinking they will at least try to provide you with information you seek. I guess that is not what they are about. I'm used to homogenized Utah news but I expect more from national sources.

The bottom line: If you want to know what's really going on in the world then bring your shovel and start digging. If you are french and do not like what I've said then correct me and accept my apology: Désolé, je suis American.


Gordon said...

Chirac's coming around a bit.

From the linked New York Times article.

"acknowledged in a meeting Monday with Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga that France has not integrated immigrant youths, she said.

Chirac deplored the ''ghettoization of youths of African or North African origin'' and recognized ''the incapacity of French society to fully accept them,'' said Vike-Freiberga.

France ''has not done everything possible for these youths, supported them so they feel understood, heard and respected,'' Chirac added, noting that unemployment runs as high as 40 percent in some suburbs, four times the national rate, according to Vike-Freiberga."

Gordon said...

"Marshall law" Ha. Marshall plan, but martial law. Not to be confused with marital law, though military types and wives both seem to have a fondness for shouting.

Native Minnow said...

I (along with John Stewart from the Daily Show) completely agree with you. Today's news programs are a complete joke. They seem to focus on entertainment rather than actual reporting. I don't necessarily know what that says about us as a culture, but it can't be good.