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Friday, November 19, 2010

The dumbing-down of America

          Ok, its not great news. Today’s major television stations and early morning programs have turned into “we will entertain you with dumb drivel.” Who is controlling networks? Teen polls? Suits on steroids? A small clique of mystery moguls?
          On the Today Show they send someone to England to report on the upcoming nuptials of a prince and commoner (a year and continent away) rather than to Haiti where thousands are dying. We might get a one-minute clip that Haitians are protesting what didn’t happen to prevent their cholera outbreak… The media didn’t mention water purification or machinery or tools for their Third World nation after the earthquake.  Where is reporting LIVE from Haiti? Who is asking reasonable questions about this in their news programs?  Why not? How come?
          And you think Sara Palin’s new book is as important as let’s say – mine? Her book will sell thousands and thousands of copies because media will cover her hangnails and bad hair days, just to give her rising fame more power.  
          Palin has a plain ol’ plan that includes running the White House. She needs press. She’s using the “Madonna Playbook” of massaging media with constant exposure and massive marketing.
          I penned a historical memoir about a distinctly racist act of genocide against Native children by removing them from their Tribal Nations. My book “One Small Sacrifice: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects” was self-published. Why? Who the heck cares about Indians these days? Most people think we live in prehistoric teepees.
          When was the last time you saw major media coverage of poverty in Pine Ridge or the plight of Native people or any Third World Nation?
          Nowadays, Matt Meredith Ann and Al are making viral music videos. I simply change the channel to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now. Or I turn to NPR and the BBC who do a much better job reporting on America than our networks ever will. I go online to hear National Native News or watch Indian Country TV streaming from the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation in northern Wisconsin. I read emails daily from Indigenous Thinkers and First Peoples News, both Yahoo news groups.
          Where do you get your news? What helps you make informed decisions?
          It’s not on America’s TV programs. For some of us, it’s only the internet until it costs us more money and we’ll read newspapers, if they still have reporters on their payroll.
          One more place I do visit is the History News Network from George Mason’s University. Their motto is “Because the Past is the Present, the Future is, too.” I found this new book review today: “Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition,” by James T. Kloppenberg.  “…Barack Obama puzzles observers. Derided by the Right as dangerous and by the Left as spineless, Obama does not fit contemporary partisan categories. Instead, his writings and speeches reflect a principled aversion to absolutes that derives from sustained engagement with American democratic thought. Reading Obama traces the origins of his ideas and establishes him as the most penetrating political thinker elected to the presidency in the past century….”
          I feel like the guy in Wisconsin who blasted his TV with a gun when Palin’s daughter ruined Dancing with the Stars (his opinion).
          I don’t see Cable news interviewing Cornell West, who is putting substance in plain English with: “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir” but he was on Democracy Now this morning.
          What do I know? I’m just a dumb viewer.

4 comments:

  1. Well you start by writing to the networks and to the sponsors. Then get ten friends to write and ask them to get ten friends... and so on. Then you talk enthusiastically about what you learned from "Democracy Now" with everyone you meet and try to tailor your comments to their concerns if you can.
    And then realize that not everyone wants to pay close attention to the TV when they're getting ready to go to work. For a lot of them it's just background noise for brushing teeth. ; )

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love your BEST of Native American books BTW. "Gardens in the Dunes" is my all-time favorite but it's good to see some titles I did not know about. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you SkyLoom! It's great to see you here! Please follow this blog!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love your BEST of Native American books BTW. "Gardens in the Dunes" is my all-time favorite but it's good to see some titles I did not know about. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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