Media

How to read the News

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After reading not one, but two poorly written and researched articles about someone I know, I thought I’d write an article giving some advice to news readers everywhere. (Especially the ones that read and comment on articles in the poorly written Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.) I should put in a disclaimer: I’ve been known to do the same things I’m writing about. I’m not perfect. No one is.

1) Don’t believe everything you read. If the article quotes only one set of people and they are of the same opinion, the article is biased. The exceptions are completely fact based articles. Example, if everyone says it rained yesterday, you’re probably safe in believing that it rained.

2) Don’t believe everything you watch. Unless it says, this is the complete and unedited video, you’re probably watching a heavily edited video. If it’s edited, you’re not getting the full story. Try to find an unedited copy before taking sides.

3) Refrain from making ignorant comments when it is clear you haven’t received the whole story. And, if you must comment, try not to sound like an ignorant jackass. Have you heard of spell check? Do you understand the usage of periods and other punctuation? If not, then keep it to yourself. And, for goodness sake, read your comments out loud before submitting them.

4) Think. If something isn’t adding up, it probably isn’t true.

I think these should hold you for a while.

Something Quick

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On page 68 of Wired magazine’s December issue is a list of “Retail items most frequently targeted by crime gangs. “
While I get the cellphones and cigarettes, I’m perplexed by the weight lost pills. Are gang members suddenly deciding they need to drop a few pounds?
“Hey, man, you getting fat, let me steal you some diet pills. We’ll fix you right up.”

What news?

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I don’t watch Sean Hannity. I don’t pay attention to Bill O’Reilly either. And, Tucker Carlson? Who’s he?

Before you think I’m unfairly denouncing only right-wing reporters, I should mention that I don’t watch Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews either. In fact, I have rarely watched a network news broadcast since Dan Rather left CBS.

I don’t watch local news either.

So, I’m going to pick on Tucker Carlson for a moment. Apparently, he posted a five year old video of a then Senator Obama. Mr. Carlson wants us to believe that President Obama is a racist, according to Howard Kurtz on page 5 of this week’s Newsweek. Kurtz insists that there’s nothing to this video. Kurtz, in the last line, makes the point “that the two universes [right and left America] cannot even agree on what those fundamental facts are.” Take the time to read Kurtz’s article, it’s interesting.

I think Mr. Carlson’s posting of this video and Sean Hannity’s commenting on it is just one more sensational news that we see everywhere nowadays. It reminds me of “Citizen Kane” when Orson Welles says, “You give me the pictures and I’ll give you the war.”

Come to think of it, I really shouldn’t say nowadays. The news has always been a business. It’s nice to think that newspapers covered news stories out of a sense of duty, but they need to make money and sensational headlines sold newspapers then and they create high ratings now.

Think about the last big storm that hit your local area. It was called the storm of the year, wasn’t it? Or, how about the pink slime we’ve all been eating in our ground beef for years; the news stories made it sound like we’re all going to die tomorrow.

I’m not saying that these things shouldn’t be covered or they aren’t important. I’m just saying that not everything should be covered like it is the end of the world.

In the Newsweek article, Kurtz quotes Mr. Tucker as pretty much saying that if the mainstream media did it’s job, we wouldn’t need the right-wing media. And, that brings me to my next point. The only reason right-wing media exists is because it makes money. We are more divided in this country than we have been since the Civil War. There are people in this country who couldn’t find a fact if it fell on them. They don’t want serious debate, they want someone to tell them just what they want to hear and they want to hear that President Obama is the worse President ever. They want to hear that what they believe is right and true and Fox News does that. The Matt Drudges of the world do that.

Quite frankly, the people who run Fox News are geniuses. They have created a money making machine that plays into the large portion of our society who believe that President Obama is a Muslim, who wasn’t born in this country. And, Fox News didn’t start there. They started at the right of center and have slowly moved further to the right. This is a group of people who can make a five year old video of the President seem like real news. They become outrage because the mainstream media doesn’t find it as compelling.

Absolute genius.

While they pander to the right and MSNBC panders to the left, the rest of the news outlets struggle to find the next big money maker. What headline is going to grab the best ratings? Those ratings turn into advertising and there’s the money in the bank.

I have been told that there was a time in our great nation when news was factual and unleaning. I wish there was a time like that now. No one trusts facts that support the view from the other side of the aisle – or that is how it seems.

There have been a rash of studies that claim that people who hold firm to a belief even when presented with the facts that disprove it are not very intelligent. I fear that there are a lot of people like that in this nation and sensational news casts aren’t helping the situation.

That Which Leads to Hell

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This morning, I read a post on Pastor Tim Burt’s blog regarding standing firm against accepting homosexuality. First, he misquoted the Bible (I’ll be quite frank, the NLT Bible is one of the worse translations) and he included a sign about bullying. I commented on the blog and he responded, which I thought was nice. I had considered replying back, but then I thought what would God want me to do?

The answer came to me in a verse:

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 10:14 (KJV)

It occurred to me that I should let it go and instead write something positive.

There’s a lot of people out there who feel as Pastor Burt does, that homosexuals are sinners and they have to give up their evil ways to find a place at God’s table. But, that isn’t true.

Sure homosexuals commit sins, but being a homosexual isn’t a sin in and of itself. Everyone sins. In that sense, we are all sinners. And, sin is sin. Somewhere along the way to Heaven, the self-righteous have decided that homosexuality is the worse sin and the sin of all sins.

The worse thing about this whole thing is how much they believe it. Then, they indoctrinate their children into believing it and the myth grows until some poor child of God takes his own life out of despair because he’s gay.

That stops today.

Let’s do as Jesus taught and refuse to listen to the self-righteous. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to engage them, but once you realize there is no hope for them – walk away and shake the dust off your feet.

Further, spread the word. I admit sometimes I feel a little corny telling someone God Bless, but we have to show our faith. I may give my alms in private, as Jesus taught, but stand up – no, sign up to be one of His disciples and proclaim the good news to your gay brothers and sisters. Reach out to them and remind them that God loves all His children. No more of this political correctness crap – be the Christian God wants you to be.

God Bless

Show if Hands Poll – Money giving

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The Show of Hands question was: Have you ever given cash to a person on the street with a cardboard sign?

Here’s what didn’t surprise me; more Democrats and Independents said yes than Republicans. Most Republicans do their charitable giving inside church walls or at church run/sponsored events.

Here’s something that did surprise me: More men answered yes than women. 52% if the men vs 50% of the women.

And, here’s something else surprising; the higher the respondent’s income, the more likely they answered yes. Only half of the under $50,000 earners said yes, while 54% of the over $100,000 earners said yes.

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The Country has gone Crazy!

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I just saw a headline that Mississippi (or was it Missouri? In either case – a place where dumb people live) is voting on an amendment declaring a fertilized egg as a person. A PERSON! Does anyone else realize how STUPID that is? It is insane.

And, it doesn’t stop there…

The morons in the Wisconsin State Legislature have voted that you can carry a concealed weapon into the chamber. Well, that’ll never com back to bite them in the ass! :-P

And, finally, if you purchased Groupon stock today in their IPO, then you’re a moron. $28.00 per share for a company that had over a $200 million loss? Based on this stock price the company is “worth” $12.8 BILLION. Heads up, jackasses, it ain’t worth shit until it turns a profit.

Whew! I feel much better now.

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