Edward R. Murrow could answer that question. Would his answer still be right?
This question has been around almost as long as town criers cried in small towns. And so have the answers. All of them open to debate.
First, let’s get rid of the “formal” answer which is something like: well, ya gotta know what’s going on in order for there to be a democratic society. How we doin’ so far?
Well, we have an oaf in the White House, Oafs leading both houses of congress. We have a bunch of states with legislators elected for life. Careerists, one and all. And all with your best interests at heart, just ask them.
All except members of the school boards whose job it is to quack about the best interests of the children. Oh, and keeping taxes low.
And, of course, that democracy is dependent on the financial machinery. The papers, the radio, the TV, the internet will surely tell us when there’s scamming going on, when fake think tanks write cleverly -- or not-so-cleverly -- crafted lies to make us think they’re on our side.
How does it feel to be “loved” and looked out for by private equity funds, the Cloke Brothers institute type tanks? Do you like the way your bank holds you in its loving arms. Well, just think of how bad it would be without Fox News or the Manchester Union Leader or the Washington Times or Drudge or Rush Limbaugh.
NOW how are we doing?
It’s a whole new world out there and no one with any clout or credibility is informing us.
But all is not lost. The modern purpose of news is to keep you up to date on J-Lo, the Kardashians, groping movie moguls, the latest Hollywood divorces and sports, sports, sports.
Sports. So many people read the papers from the back you’d think the national language was Hebrew. And how about those Astros and their (alleged, supposed, suspected) signal stealing. And those deflated ball New England Pats?
How many quarters does it take to pay an NFL Quarterback?
Yes! We are informed.
And real reporting has been on death watch for years. The Ham Pot, Nebraska Weekly Sun has set, leaving this poor town without a newspaper founded in 1875.
Editors of print and internet sites decide what stories they print or post by the number of clicks they get, not the effect the local hand-in-the-till politician has on your daily life.
Admit it. Most of us don’t really care about that stuff as long as we can survive another day. But the politicians are turning us all into cattle whose only worry is where the next cud is coming from. We’re so busy doing that, we don’t have time or interest in watching what they’re doing.
-I haven’t seen my US congressman since he was first elected umpteen times ago.
-The only news on local TV is from out of town.
-The local paper leads with sports and repeats the story eight times in different spots on its website.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
© WJR 2020