Y’all Can Do Better Than This

Posted: August 30, 2012 in conservatives, Politics, President Obama, Republicans, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Y’all are making me angry.

I’m just not sure which y’all I want to write about. There are several of y’all that are irritating me.

Contrary to the opinion of the day, y’all does not automatically denote Black folks, even when Black folks are in the room.

“Y’all” is a contraction, a shortened form of “you all.” It is used by many, Black, White and I assume all the colors of the rainbow, to address people, singularly and in groups. One of my best friends in college, a White boy from Houston, was one of the first people I ever noticed regularly referring to everyone as y’all. When I moved to Kansas years later some of my Black friends referred to y’all, some did not. And when I moved to Texas, even more years later, everybody was talking about y’all all of the time.

But I digress.

The y’all I’m talking about here is the y’all that is stirring up the most trouble – the media.

Y’all have the nerve to hold yourselves out as above the fray when you continually do nothing but cause it.

Enough is enough.

What passes for reporting today is way past a joke. Whether you’re talking about CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox, Forbes, MSNBC or any other media outlet there is no news outlet that is consistently giving the American public straight up honest news reporting.

This flap about Vice President telling an audience that the Republicans were trying to return “y’all” to chains is a prime example of what’s wrong with what passes for reporting (and I might add with the what we are willing to accept as a country).

The “news” is being manipulated, primarily, I believe, by conservatives, but I am willing to entertain the idea that it is also by the left to a lesser degree. The media, all of it, in all of its forms, are focusing way too much of its attention on these ridiculous, inane stories instead of the truly important issues facing the country.

Those who report “the news” today remind me of that t-shirt: “They say I have ADHD, they just don’t understand….Oh look, a chicken!

Conservative politicians are particularly adept at taking advantage of the media’s inability to distinguish and then focus on what is important.

Joe Biden’s comments are clearly an example of how far the media has fallen. He was clearly speaking about Mitt Romney’s economic policies:

“Look at what they [Republicans] value, and look at their budget. And look what they’re proposing. [Romney] said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks write their own rules — unchain Wall Street,” Biden said at a rally in Danville, Va. “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”

The comment drew a smattering of laughs and some noises from the 1,000 or so in the racially mixed crowd of supporters that appeared to be roughly half African-American. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79717.html

As far as I can tell, no one attending that meeting took offense at Biden’s statement at the time; No one said anything following the meeting and there were no Black folks standing up in anger, saying Joe had offended them. Importantly, there were no reporters pointing out that Biden had offended anyone until after later in the day when Mitt Romney and his camp used the occasion to accuse the President of being angry and hateful and divisive. Then all of a sudden, this is the story of the week, and Joe Biden in another one of his gaffes has insulted all Black people everywhere.

“Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago,” Romney said.
Mitt Romney? Really? If there is an issue concerning campaigns hurling insults toward Black people I can assure you Mitt Romney isn’t the person I would call upon to point it out to the media. I’m not saying Romney doesn’t know anything about insulting Black people. Quite the contrary. His party has done plenty since President Obama was elected, and increasingly as this election cycle has progressed. That’s precisely why a thinking journalist might be a tad bit suspicious when he starts taking umbrage at statements made by someone else.

Quite frankly, Romney played everybody, including some prominent Black people:

 gwen ifill @pbsgwen

I kinda get saying “chains” instead of “shackles.” But what was “y’all” about?

Was Gwen, former Gov. Doug Wilder or anyone else objecting when Biden used “y’all in April to what I assume was a White audience in Exeter, New Hampshire?(There are only 50 some Blacks in Exeter). http://www.city-data.com/city/Exeter-New-Hampshire.html

 “Gov. Romney calls the president out of touch,” he said. “Hey, how many of y’all have a Swiss bank account? How many of you have somewhere between $20 and $100 million in your (retirement account)?”

Romney has successfully deflected everyone from many major issues, among them: 1) the continuing call for him to show us his taxes; 2) his horrible vice presidential pick, 3)  a Republican judge’s partisan decision to let stand an obviously partisan voter suppression law in Pennsylvania and 4) Vice President Biden’s very valid criticism of the economic hell that would be unleashed were Romney to be elected President based on the words previously used by Romney’s running mate.

Meanwhile no one is dealing with what Biden was actually saying. Later, when he was told the GOP said his remarks were offensive he did not apologize. He said he was trying to match Paul Ryan’s use of the word “unshackle” and unchain is the word that came to mind. Ryan has talked about “unshackling” the economy (and no one was offended at his imagery of the Black President putting everyone in shackles). The concepts are the same.

The media’s response was largely, oh, yeah, sure. We don’t believe you. You’re gaffe-prone Joe Biden. It was a gaffe. So America loses a chance to have a discussion about whether Romney’s policies are better than Obama’s, a discussion both sides should and I think would welcome. And the Republican Party continues to trot out that phrase as if it balances the “subliminal” racism employed by the Romney campaign.

There was a time when there existed journalists; women and men who recognized and pursued news stories. We didn’t rely solely on press conferences or press releases or source leaks for our stories. We valued enterprise, finding and pitching unique story ideas for the front page or the lead television news story; in short, competing, rather than reporting the same sad, sorry circus act. We wanted news stories to be unique.

I know this because I used to be one of them. I know how hard it was to get a story on the front page and how special I felt when I did. Today, all you have to do is quote some nonsense fed to you by some politician, no matter how untrue, no matter how idiotic: “President Obama wants gas prices to go up to $10 a gallon.”

Republicans keep repeating that and reporters keep reporting it and it’s obviously nonsensical. There is no scenario where it makes sense that the President could believe he could be reelected by driving gasoline prices up, yet the media allows these conspiracy theorists to repeat this lie on a regular basis.

Whether we are left or right leaning or we don’t lean at all, it is time for those of us who fear for the fate of our nation to demand better from those who purport to deliver the news.

We shouldn’t have to work so hard to find the facts. I fact check everything, whether it comes from the Obama camp or the Romney camp. I don’t trust the networks and I don’t trust Politifacts. If we’re lucky we get the Obama camp says this and the Romney camp says that, but most of the time we just get one side of “the news.” Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney spent a week saying President Obama “stole” $716 billion from Medicare and the very best “defense” we get from the media is a meek and belated “the Ryan budget does the very same thing.” The two proposals work with the same number but they do two very different things with that line item. The media has done a disservice to anyone who wants to make a rational decision on the candidates by how they are covering this issue. Anyway, the lie has already time to take seed.

This does no one a service. Sometimes what the Romney camp says is pure, shall we say, lies. So, why report it? You don’t have to report everything that comes out of Romney’s mouth just because he said it. If you feel you must report everything, then you owe it to your viewers/listeners/readers to clearly and concisely specify what is important and what is not and what is true and what is not. It is not your job to “balance” the news – this side says this and that side says that.

There are extremely important things going on and we need to know about them and understand them. No one believes the idea that the media is objective. It is not now and it never was. We understand this. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t trust the media for factual information. You can be partisan; you can have a bias and still present the facts. Just tell us what your bias is. The media – the mainstream print, television (that includes Fox) and online – can and must play a critical role in providing the presentation of the news that will allow us as citizens to understand what is happening to our country. That requires those presenting the news to engage in some analysis, reasoning and critical thinking of their own before presentation rather than merely participating in regurgitation.

The Internet presents so many more alternatives. If we can’t trust you to do any more than repeat the same information as Cousin Bobby’s blog then we really don’t need you. You really can do better. You have the resources. If he mainstream media does not do more to adapt, we’re just going to have to keep trading insults back and forth (“stupid Republithug”, “idiotic Obamacrat”) with Cousin Bobby. We don’t need you.

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