04 October, 2011

Change.org, Pakistan, and popular news coverage.

Pakistan, you got screwed. Will this a virtual cupcake make it any better?

I saw it coming, a long way off. Back when I could still stand to watch news coverage.

It was being repeatedly reported that insurgents were 'escaping' across the border. Into Pakistan. Or maybe Iran. And the pursuers were 'diplomatically' discouraged from playing 'monkey see, monkey do!'

And the news coverage appeared to be implying that Pakistan was being totally unreasonable.

I got a bad feeling in my stomach. I actually prayed that no natural disaster would hit Pakistan, before I even understood my belief in God. Because my country is usually very generous with its time and resources, in cases of emergency. But not for 'the bad guys'.

I do not know if somewhere in Pakistan, there are safe havens for terrorists. I don't entirely blame the news media for giving me this impression. They just tell us what other people are suggesting.

And I'll tell you that I don't care. We have plenty of safe havens for terrorists in our own country, in case you hadn't noticed. Sometimes we even grow our own. We are not without sin, and I am tired of all this casting stones business.

I know how people in my country would feel if armed hooligans, or sanctioned government representatives, followed other possibly armed hooligans. INTO my country.

We'd feel the same way Pakistan does. And no disparity of confidence or competence justifies expecting Pakistan to respond any differently.

News like that isn't really why I can't stand to watch news coverage anymore. Reality TV is responsible for that. Responsible news coverage is apparently supposed to appear to be without bias. It is boring. Or horrifying. I am beginning to think it is also irresponsible. There is always an opinion, love it or hate it. Or both.

And PS, sharing that opinion with the people you know does make a difference. Facebook counts. Some of these people will write letters to congress. Some of them will get out and vote. Just like you do.

I live in the NW, and frequently, we get a minor earthquake. The news is ALL over it for a couple of very boring hours. "Some bricks fell off this building." "A few cans fell off the shelf at this convenience store! Then somebody put them back on the shelf." "Government officials are evaluating the damage to bridges, overpasses, and elevated roadways!" Sorry the visual carnage is so unconvincing.

Televised news is trying harder. We have award-winning coverage in my region, and I believe it.

The problem, I feel, is that crime rates have dropped over the last twenty years. People love to watch 'bad' news. But you have to reach harder to FIND bad news, because there are fewer violent crimes.

They're switching to working on other fears. Like maybe the super-rich are getting away with something!

That seems pretty cruel to me. Frankly, the super-rich are usually convinced of this already, consciously or unconsciously. And if they do not rationally understand or respect their income, they have no way to trust that it is ethically justified. Or that they can earn more, if something happens to their super-wealth.

And the rest of us do not need to worry ANY more that we are being exploited. I'm ok with a certain amount of worry on the subject! Or, more to the point, concerned attention to the problem. We can 'work' on it.

I do expect the super-rich to pay taxes. I think that they could relieve some fears this way, but I'm beginning to believe that paying it forward would not satisfy that particular anxiety. I can't figure out any way to relieve someone's natural but irrational anxieties.

Not even my own.

Change.org is a pretty cool website, but I don't love it. You can find out, on change.org, about all the completely horrifying stuff happening, anywhere in the world. And register an official online protest.

I can only bring myself to protest stuff that is also logically inconsistent. I had to unsubscribe from their newsletter because the horrifying stuff out there in the world is, to me, an intellectual equivalent of most episodes of Three's Company.

Which I also cannot watch.

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