I wasn’t going to go to the next step in morale, the American morale and the global morale, but since I’ve started on this subject, I have noticed some curious things. When we have improved our own morale and that of the friends and relatives around us, and then our companies and organizations, we should see an uptick in productivity, an improvement in interpersonal and inter-entity relations, and a general move up. We don’t say anything bad about a person, we look for ways to help improve. That doesn’t mean we never say anything negative. That would be like saying to a fat person, “Congratulations! you didn’t fall off the scale!” His weight went up. This is a negative result, and it must be addressed. He knows it’s negative, so you don’t have to go on and on about how negative this is, just start from there. Which brings me to my point. What is the use of improving our collective morale when we know it won’t make a difference anyway? Why cut down our carbon footprint if you know that the next big volcano will totally nullify your efforts? Why exercise our right to vote if we know that the results will be in and a winner declared before we get to the polling places? Why bother to do the research and come to conclusions if the latest survey says that such information is useless.
Does anyone remember Edward R Murrow? Walter Cronkite? Harry Reasoner? Huntley and Brinkley? Do you remember that at the end of the news, they would have an editorial portion? Do you remember investigative reporting where the reporters were the ones that had done the investigating? I took a history class in college–1865 to the present. Required reading included a text book with events, names, places, and dates, and another book with the interpretation of those events. We would read the facts, who went where and did what and how, and then we’d read someone’s opinion of what happened. I hated that class. It took things like the D Day invasion and made each event a discrete occurrence. It was like watching a baseball game or a band show on TV. Here’s a close up of the pitcher, here’s the pitch, now a close up on the ball as it sails into L field. You miss the play! You don’t see the infield taking position to cut off the guy running to 1st, you don’t see the pitcher running in to back up the catcher on the inevitable throw home… Here’s the band doing a 1/2 time show, here’s a close up of the flute player, isn’t she cute. Now a close up of the marimba player. Who knew they had marimbas in 1/2 time shows?! Great technique but since he doesn’t move, it’s easier to get a close up. You don’t see that the band has spelled out OHIO in cursive… It’s the same thing in history classes. It sinks in better if you can see all the moving parts. This is why they included the book with the opinions of what happened. If you tried to underline the pertinent parts in the text book, you’d get completely yellow pages. In the discussions on Fridays where we used the 2nd book, you could just parrot the guy’s opinion and get an A for the session. How does that relate to what I said earlier? All we hear on TV is the 2nd book–someone’s opinion of what the events of the day meant. The main concern of the news industry is not to get the news out to people, but to sell more advertisements and get a bigger audience. In British television, they call the anchorman a news reader. We all know that today’s anchormen and women do not report, do not do the journalism required, they are just handed scripts and pictures. When Walter Cronkite reported, you knew he had had a hand in getting the facts. Then, the facts were like this: There was an accident on the interstate involving 3 cars and a semi. The police said it might have been due to slippery conditions and the high wind. There were no fatalities, though the road was closed for an hour for clean up. Now, the facts are this:There was a terrible accident on northbound interstate involving 3 cars and a semi… we go to the scene where our on-the-spot reporter, Bill, gives us the details. (Cuts to picture of freezing reporter in the dark standing in front of an empty highway) The reporter says, “Jim? Yes, at 2:00 this afternoon, there was an accident involving 3 cars and a semi. The semi swerved here by the median and slid sideways down the road where 2 of the cars crashed into the side of the truck, and a 3rd crashed into one of the other cars. The injuries were non-life threatening though the victims were taken to the hospital for an examination. Here are some of the reactions from the bystanders. Millie?” Millie cues up the tape of the reactions from 4 hours previous and we see our first bystander, also freezing in the cold weather. “He was jist drivin’ so funny! Looked like he wuz drunk or sumtin.” The 2nd bystander chimes in, “nah, idiot, the wind was blowin’ him cross the road. The wind is wicked strong coming around that corner there.” “Back to you Bill.” “Thanks Millie. The sheriff reported that wind could have been a factor and since the roads had not been salted, it was also quite slick. Back to you Jim.” “We spoke with the City Department of Transportation trying to assess why the city had not cleaned off the roads and put down adequate salt to prevent this type of terrible accident. The Director refused to speak to us. We will follow up with this.” Do you see the difference? We have now stretched out this story to fill 15 min of time, gotten action pictures from the reporter at the scene, gotten the helicopter view of the wreck, and gotten community involvement by asking the bystanders for their opinions. And now our intrepid news team will keep you safe by getting involved in placing blame for this accident. Did we really need to know this? There are no editorials at the ends of the news shows now because of the way the news is presented…we already know what their opinions are, and since they’re on TV and we aren’t, we should either agree with them or switch channels to get the slant we want. Why can’t we just have the facts? Ooooo, it takes too much effort!
It is easier to get a full picture of the situation from someone else rather than form one’s own opinion. But if it’s news, isn’t it factual? If it’s facts, why are there Liberal Channels and Conservative Channels for news? Facts are neither Liberal or Conservative. If you read posts on social media, and the person has a strong opinion, doesn’t he/she quote what someone else’s opinion is? Why would anyone do that? And how do we in America change someone’s opinion? We yell louder, we type bigger, we ignore the facts and go with the opinion of the most powerful influencer. How does that improve the country’s morale? Has it occurred to anyone that the opinions stated are just reflections of the latest poll, which are not the opinions of the people, but the opinions they quote to the polling agency. Do we think for ourselves? Case in point: What is your opinion of the stock market? Yikes! It’s scary! It’s best to stay out of it. Did you hear it plummeted 34 points?!!!! Disaster is coming I tell you! It is actually making great gains and a 34 point drop is hardly even noticeable on a 18,000 DJIA. How is that plummeting? It seems that the media bombards us with all this negative information, and most is just opinion and wording to get the best response to raise the audience and attract mores sponsors. It would take a concerted effort on the part of every person to boost the morale of the country and either correct the injustices or in the case of obvious bias, ignore them.
More on this SAME CHANNEL! Tomorrow! Back to you Walter.