Seeing the Forest II

In an earlier “Seeing the Forest” piece I wrote about the surprising transformation in the 2000 election of candidate Gore’s image to the point where people questioned his character instead of Bush’s. (!) The “Love Canal” and “Invented the Internet” stories were trees. The forest is the bigger picture of this transformation.

Today I read that Republicans are making the accusation that the “Democrats are willing to hold the economy hostage to help their chances in the November elections.” Polls show that more voters say Republicans are better at handling the economy than Democrats. Recent polls show that more people blame Clinton than Bush for what’s going on with the stock market. Those are trees.

These polls largely reflect the Republican line on issues. Blaming Clinton may sound silly to many of us, but maybe this says something about where the public now gets its information. Have you listened to AM radio lately or turned to Fox News? You hear the same things repeated over and over and over, and then you see it reflected in the polls. This is the forest.

It’s a new era. The information business isn’t about journalism anymore and you’ll be frustrated and disappointed as long as you hold the old-fashioned notions that it is “supposed to” be. That’s all gone. Now it’s different and the public is only getting one side of the story. The public is getting its information from the likes of Rush Limbaugh. As old and worn-out as this sounds, a few large corporations now own almost all of the sources of information and they are using that power to benefit themselves, not the public. This is the forest.