How many of you have spent time listening to Michael Savage? The other day I suggested that it would be smart to spend some time listening to Rush, to become familiar with the thinking of the Right.
I won’t go so far as to suggest actually spending time listening to Savage — he is so vile, so beyond civility and decency that it is actually a sickening experience to tune in. And I mean that I believe that listening to his show regularly would affect one’s mental health. (A subject of a piece I hope to write soon – the effect on one’s mental health of listening to right-wing radio.) But I do want to point this out – Michael Savage now has a show on MSNBC! I think little more needs to be said about television and the quality of the information one receives from watching television. Michael Savage is on TV and Phil Donahue is not. (Not to mention – when was the last time you saw an advocate of the labor unions on TV?) That says it all.
I realized the other day that I have almost completely stopped watching TV news! Both network and cable. I think that around the time MSNBC got rid of Donahue and put Savage on that all of the cable networks seemed to change, and move violently to the right. Every time I turned on the TV I found myself disgusted and just turned it off, and soon I just stopped turning it on at all. I get my news online now, and listen to the radio. In fact, I find myself listening mostly to ieAmericaRadio.com online now during the day. Later in the day, sometimes, NPR.
This has made a big difference in how I see the world. The biggest difference is that I have stopped worrying about what the smarmy Washington pundits think! Because I am not exposed to them, I have stopped thinking like them. I don’t worry about the “horse race.” Instead I look at issues. I don’t spend endless time thinking about the strategizing. I don’t spend time on gossip-style character assassination concerns. I’m still trying to put words on this difference in my outlook, but as I withdraw from the effects of the TV Nation I feel like my mind is spending time more honestly and rationally evaluating the information I get.
Rather than get into that I wanted to say that I see this huge gap between people who are getting news from a variety of sources – namely online – and people who are getting news from major media – TV and radio. And the polls clearly reflect this division. Professional politicians and pundits tend to think that once the public has a belief, that settles the issue — that spin determines the truth. It’s a Gingrichian view that says what the public believes is what is true politically, so they should play the game according to what they can make the public believe, and according to what the public already believes, rather than according to truth and honesty. I think there is an opportunity here. I think that the actual truth can be very hard to argue with, so there is always a possibility of restoring the public to sanity by exposing them to the truth.
Anyway, I’m in a hurry, and rambling, and I’ll try to put this into better words soon. That’s what a blog is about, right?