Friday, April 26, 2013

Why I'm doing a goodie

The title of this blog is a reminder to myself to withhold the issuance of opinions in the "heat of the moment" and without adequate reflection and, more important, research. It will also serve (to a minor degree) to remind me that certain views, while wholly acceptable to the age in which I was reared, might now be viewed as intemperate, if not downright criminal. (Much more on that later.)

One of the great faults of the net is the ability to put forth as facts, material that has been created, either out of malice or stupidity, with little research and foundation. Or, as is becoming more and more prevalent, being excerpted from sources that, while appearing credible, lack trustworthy sources. Once upon a time when I was a much younger man, I labored for a very large newspaper/TV/radio conglomerate. It was difficult to find a major city, foreign or domestic, in which we did not have a resident reporter.

Reporter is the operative word. The stories they filed were to be limited to Who, What, Where, When, and, if attainable, How. The "why" of the incident was considered far too important and, quite likely, too complex, for the beat reporter to make. That's why the major media of that day was populated by the Cronkite-types. It was they who sifted through the details, consulted with their own not inconsiderable intelligence, checked a few "reliable sources," and issued an editorial bull on the Why.

(On occasion, as in Cronkite's reportage of the Tet offensive, not only was the story incorrect, but its impact also played a major role in altering America's view of the conflict.)

Unlike those times, the current media giants have very few slaried reporters anywhere other than in the America's big media cities. This goes for electronic as well as reprint outlets. Unfortunately, we must now count on "stringers" (some freelance, some on retainers) to provide the fodder for the daily feed. The better the story, the more likely it is to be picked up and published/broadcast. And, although, I'm sure the chosen are carefully vetted, one can hardly count on all their submissions to be accurate and unbiased - we can't even get that from high-priced home grown "journalists" who, despite objections to the contrary, are as partisan as any Chicago precinct captain.

But that's been a problem of long standing and one to which I've adjusted. With the net, though, we now have phalanx after phalanx of "true believer" followers who not only trumpet the same skewed views, but quite frequently do their own embellishing. Soon, this amalgamated slop of misinformation is being copied and emailed to friend and foe alike.

I'm sure my posts will have little impact on anybody, but as a gesture of self-discipline (something sadly lacking in this country today) I will, as often as possible, stick to my late-night, researched, well after-the-fact postings.

A footnote to a great book, Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning"