I was reminded of another thing Nyla said over the air the other night when she mentioned that, as someone who has worked in broadcasting for many years, she knew the public was completely ignorant of the way they are manipulated by news reporting for the sole purpose of ratings. It truly is an art that they employ psychologists to consult on.
The funny thing is even when the media comes out and says, “This is how we operate” the public at large ignores it. The BBC said, the other day, of the reporting on Japan and the nuclear issues that reporting on potential radiation leaks was the single highest guarantee of viewership. Even eyewitness accounts include the puzzled statement of “Once I hit the mainland, I couldn’t understand why people were in such hysteria over what was a precautionary measure.”
NPR is my other beef. Every time I see the “Save NPR” posts I want to smack the poster and go (a la Cher) “Snap out of it!!!” First of all, NPR receives less than 2% of their funding from Federal Resources. The radio stations that stand to be hurt by the funding cut are not related to NPR but do share the umbrella of the CPB which is the agency threatened by the cuts. Most people do not even know what CPB is.
But, everyone is slapping the NPR label on things because they know it is a button pusher. It is as partisan in its news/culture delivery as FOX so it immediately splits people into two camps, over simplifies things and distracts from the reality of the proposed cuts. If the cuts go through or not it will not effect NPR at all, they are a partisan, commercial enterprise that enjoys a partial tax free status due to careful corporate structuring.
If the cuts go through, public radio broadcasts will be threatened. Public radio actually exists, but few people listen to it like few people watch public television broadcasting (i.e. Public access).
So rather than discuss how to save public radio, it has again become a partisan fight.
And the manner in which CPB maintains public broadcasting needs to be seriously examined. In this day and age, why are they committed to supporting the use of antiquated technology? I look at their operational plans and then those being implemented with less money and greater end broadcasting reach in third world countries and go “who thinks this bs up?” or more accurately, “who benefits from this?”
I will admit that NPR gets under my skin because their news is as skewed as FOX and yet they pretend to the “balanced journalism” label as well. I listen to neither, as I am not in the mood to be subjected to hour-long commercials for a CD disguised as a show or a specific political platform disguised as news.
But the real issue is not the specificity of the cuts, but the extent to which both sides are willing to go to avoid the real issue which is – what are we going to do about the entitlement programs? We can cut and trim all we want from everywhere but until Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are addressed, nothing will change about the deficit except that it will get worse and drive us into national bankruptcy.
But even trying to begin to imagine what that type of reform would look like is both too large for how people are used to thinking and deeply frightening. Face it, we have, since the 60s, made a habit of educating people out of the ability to think and problem solve. There are few about that have retained and developed the kind of problem solving skills that are needed to imagine a pension and healthcare reform. And the idea that the myth of retiring and having social security take care of all is one that is dying hard, but as it does die its painful death, please…do let’s not let it take the country down with us.
It is not that it needs to be done away with, but it needs to be completely re-imagined and implemented.
Ack….writer’s group and then off to pedal away on the bike path.
Then back to my odd mix of poetry and budgets.
c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved