When President Trump emerged from his motorcade to board Air Force One, the first question the American media asked him in the wake of the Pittsburgh tragedy was related to gun control.
The people you see on the so-called news shows aren’t the smartest individuals. Not in an era in which news is entertainment and stories are thus driven toward preconceived notions. In my line of work, I see how millennials react to this sort of thing. Otherwise smart people, including one who supported Ted Cruz in the last round of primaries, honestly believe over the next 20 years the weather represents our gravest existential threat.
Why would someone believe the weather would be our gravest existential threat? Statistically, our weather is no better nor worse than what it has always been. Where ever you live, pull record high and low temperatures and then notice, a lot of those records were set decades ago. Watching news as entertainment though, you’d not know this. You’d be subjected to a second by second, blow by blow of any and every storm.
Or notice how Fox News, CNN, and others, will take a local New York city or Washington, DC, item and run it as though it were national news. A great example are ordinary car accidents that snarl traffic. If a car accident backs things up on I-25 near Cheyenne, Wyoming, chances are you won’t know about it unless you live in Cheyenne. Heaven forbid someone has a flat on or around New York or DC and traffic is affected; the media will treat it as a top tier news item.
Right now we have the case of a deranged guy in Florida that sent mail bombs to people, and the case of a deranged guy in Pittsburgh that committed mass murder. Neither should be politicized because both perpetrators are nut jobs.
Yet both cases already have been politicized. The Florida case has been defined as Trump’s fault. The Pittsburgh case has been defined as the left’s fault.
I read a lengthy post for unity on Facebook written by a friend of mine. It was eloquent and conclusive. Barely two replies in and people were setting conditions under which “unity” could occur. One person noted he was all about unity provided something “was done” about that “cheeto-skinned jag-off” (a reference to Trump). I’m sure the same sort of thing can be found in which some on the right say unity isn’t possible as long as Obama or a Clinton is in the mix.
So we’ll have no unity.
We’ll continue along this very dangerous national trajectory we all seem strangely content to enjoy. I suspect at this point, the eventual death spiral that will occur – whether soon or after we’re dead and gone – will be all but unnoticed as long as people have social media to ogle.
We will do this because no one is strong enough to accept the other unconditionally. In fact, everything in American society today is conditional – hence language like privilege and the various isms.
The dull tools in the shed that impose our national dialogue under monikers like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, NBC, New York Times, etc. simply aren’t brave enough – or are too profit-scared – to try and unconditionalize their coverage for a greater good.
Image: CCO Creative Commons: Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/tile-brick-red-roofing-structure-3422238/