Saturday, December 17, 2011

Free Press?

Here is a question for you. Do we have a free press?

Now last night I was awaken from sleep at 3:41 am when the power went off. While setting the time on my alarm clock I accidentally turned on the radio something that is easy to do on my “Dollar General” special alarm clock. On the radio was BBC and they were in the middle of discussion of whether there was a truly free press.

They, the commentators, were more or less in agreement in that there wasn’t. Their feelings as journalist and bloggers were that the press if anything was far from free. An example they gave was the recent scandal in England of illegal wire tapping of private citizen’s line by the Murdock news organization (think Fox News) for no other reason than looking for sensationalism that passes as news all too often.  Their position was that if there were truly a free press then the competitors would have been all over this juicy tidbit like white on rice rather than the minimum reporting that it has received.

Our glorious forefather’s that we like to use for example declared that a free press was essential to a democratic society. Yet they frequently passed and used sedition acts to limit that freedom. That even includes the great emancipator Abraham Lincoln.

On refection I must agree the so called free press is nothing more than a corporate stooge designed to be nothing more than a mouth organ for their corporate masters.

If any real news or investigating gets out it usually because the public outrage is too great and they then get on the bandwagon in an effort to do damage control. 

This damage control usually consist of setting in motion spin doctors who redirect our apparently attention deficit populace in a different direction. Once done they then take what is known and turn what Larry Beinhart called “Fog Facts” in his recent political thriller “The Librarian”.  Fog Facts are information presented so that it becomes kind of an accepted pieces of info not a disturbing pieces of news. 

How do you present a fog fact well? Well here is an ideal of one.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Offered in a matter of fact accepted truth it doesn’t really excite anyone to act. But what if instead you took it to the next level and realized that means that those with absolute power are therefore corrupt and this includes everyone in Washington, Big Banking, and international companies. That this point is fact is hammered on in the media to such a point that you find you must act to change this. Then when the press does or allowed to do this then it becomes a free press.

Instead we are presented with national and local news items that distract us. Whether it be a national news item of where the president is spending his vacation. Or, a local news item of whether a local high school football team was cheated out of going to the playoffs by an referees bad call. This particular news item ran for three days in the D/FW area.

If any real news gets out it is usually because of a local alternative weekly newspaper,  free radio or NPR broadcast but unfortunately are not as well read or listen to as the major news industry. 

For me, well I listen almost exclusively to NPR station KERA, or a local station KNON 89.3 a commercial free radio station.  As for newspapers I read only alternative press such as “The FW Weekly” and the “Dallas Observer” two independent rags publish weekly and given away for free, that while you must work through a lot of ads for local bands and personal ads somehow still manage to put at least one expose out a week that needs to be noted. Not that it does them much good. News magazines that I read or of course based on my personal beliefs so take it for what it is worth to you but I read “Mother Jones”, “Unte” , “The Texas Observer” and “Texas Monthly” that recently awarded Governor Rick Perry their “Bum Steer of the Year” award.

Well I could go on and continue to rant but that is enough for now. My parting piece of advice would be don’t believe half of what you see, hear or read and then discount half of that again and you might be getting closer to the truth.

Projects , movies, books

Time in the shop has been working on the Cherry salt and pepper shaker display cabinet. Started one way and realize that I had to go another way with it mostly due to lack of proper tools or simply operator error. But I finally got the case together and should finish up by next week posting photos of the finish piece. 

Work on this piece reminds me that skills that are not used become rusty much like tools. So I have been thinking about projects that can one, can encourage me to continue to do something that gives me a lot of happiness doing. Two, to continue to work out ways to acquire tools that will make it easier for me to do so.

At one time I had the tools I needed but sold them off for the quick cash to use to help a family member in need. So now I need to work at getting replacement tools. A process I suspect on a fixed income may prove difficult, but not impossible. Craig’s list here I come.

Been reading HST “The Rum Diaries” and “Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books”.

I’ve also been reading Popular Mechanics  January 2012 article on “Digital Spy’s” it is enough to scare you. Take a moment to read this month issue.

Movies I found interesting has been “The State of Play” about a DC newspaper aka The Washington Post pretty good worth a 2.5 stars out of 4. Also “The Killer Elite” a movie based on true events supposedly with a number of big name stars such as Robert DiNero, Jason Straighem, and Clive Owen a 3 out of 4 stars.

Also a popular TV show that I have enjoyed mostly because it feeds my paranoia is “Persons of Interest” on CBS. Others have been the TV shows “The Grimm” on NBC, “Burn Notice” on USA or just for fun.

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