Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lost in the Fog

The spirit of the late Edward R. Murrow is alive again, and his name is Keith Olberman.

Over the past several weeks, on his MSNBC program "Countdown", Mr. Olberman has delivered a series of special commentaries that have struck to the very heart of everything that is wrong with the decisions made by the current Bush administration.

His latest commentary, "Beginning of the End of America", graphically demonstrates how decisions made by a sitting President can be proven by history to not only be wrong but also to have dire consequences to the future survival of our coutry's democratic ideals.

But are they doing any good?

You see, when the late Edward R. Murrow made the brave and costly decision to challenge a popular demagogue, at the time his voice was not only respected throughout the world due to his past work, but it was also one of the few voices the public had available. As a consequence, people listened to him and gave his voice the weight it rightfully deserved.

That is not true today.

Because, today, the voice of Keith Olberman is but one of a thousand or more voices fighting for the attention of the public. And today, the public is much more interested in seeing who is the latest to be kicked off of "Dancing with the Stars", or who will win the most money on "Deal or No Deal", or what Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' baby looks like, or any of a thousand other meaningless items that fight for the public interest.

Even the mid-term elections, which are less than a month away, capture less interest than who will be the winner of the next "Survivor" series.

Perhaps the best way of looking at this is the use of Murrow's own words:

To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.(emphasis mine)

What has the media become lately, but merely wires in a box and lights to entertain?

I'll keep waiting while you consider your answer. I expect to be here for a while...

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