The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Militant Moderate

January 19, 2010

Cacophony of critics

ENID — Too often today’s television news channels are simply a cacophony of critics. Participants vie for attention and air time, and those who are the rudest and the loudest win. Moderators consistently reach for criticism, rather than honest discussion about governmental, educational, business or any other leadership issues in our society. TV news anchor cynics demand that everybody must be either a critic or an apologist.

Controversy is too often the goal. They think that “sells.” Few seem to be really into valid information dissemination, which the “communications” industry is supposed to be about.

News channel programming and issue discussions don’t have to be a cacophony. Nor does a news channel have to be utterly partisan like Fox in order to avoid the constant harangue of arguments between guest partisans like CNN has too often become, in their effort to be “balanced.” There has to be a better way. And, its focus needs to be on honest coverage of news events and information about issues – not one-sided partisanship, and not a cacophony.

Recently, this writer visited a friend in his home. His family name is easily recognizable in Oklahoma politics. We are of different political persuasions, but we often have cordial and interesting discussions of state and national affairs. Of course, I could not but notice on entering the room that the television set was on the Fox News Channel. In a way, that accounts for many of our differences.

Quite often, my friend’s strategy in initiating a political discussion is to raise a question in a manner that implies that I might possess significant knowledge of that subject.

It was not too long until he began raising questions about the health care bill in Congress. Noting that nearly everyone seems to be against the health bill, he asked if I knew what was in it and why everybody was mad about it. That was a good question. I wish I could have answered it well. I doubt I did.

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