What promises to be an edge-of-your-seat, anxious, and interesting four years kicked off last Friday with the Inauguration of our 45th president. I wasn't able to catch the event live but managed to flick the TV on briefly at noon Texas time, eager to see what I had missed. To my surprise, a mere forty-five minutes after the historic gathering, the news was broadcasting...no, not the gala events of the inauguration, but the now ex-president Obama speaking to...well, I do not know who, seeing how everyone was attending the inaugural party. So, I resorted to whatever I might find on my Facebook feed, picking up my iPhone and scrolling as I chomped down on a dripping peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To my dismay, I found more headlines about the ex-POTUS than I did about the swearing in of our new president. What few articles I did run across were, shall I say, extremely negative.
This, boys and girls, is today's news media. From bashing our new First Lady's baby blue dress to unwarranted and meritless comments about the youngest Trump. the media is relentlessly digging deep to soil this historic moment. This type of news reporting is what we will be subjected to for at least the next four years. Sensationalized, slanted news. It's certainly nothing new and perhaps most of us have learned to take all those 'breaking news' stories with a grain of salt. That's sad, really. We've just accepted the fact that we will hear the news 'they' what to us to hear and we will hear it the way 'they' want to tell it.
Unable to find any relevant reporting on the inauguration, I amused myself with a couple of videos caught during the address. I'm sure you saw them. They seem to be far more 'news worthy' than the induction of our next president. We've all seen George W Bush struggling with his poncho during the speech and I admit it was good for a hearty giggle. I always liked George W...and no, I don't want to hear your opinion. My favorite, though, was of ol' Bill Clinton and his wandering eye. I just love how he got busted by his wife! I can relate as I have been caught in the act myself from time to time when I had some wife or another to keep an eye on me. I used to always walk about two steps behind my wife whenever we strolled through the mall and in spite of my clever tactic, was often busted turning my head as some smoking hot chicklet passed. What married man hasn't been caught by his wife as his eyes ventured away to forbidden territory?
I like Bill because he is who he is and makes no bones about it. A good man...I don't know. But we all know who he is. The same holds true to George W. We know him and we can count on him to always be who we expect him to be. I think the same will hold true with Donald Trump. I believe we've not seen the real Donald and perhaps never will. But there seems to be something beneath the facade of staunch, stoic facade of a billionaire businessman. It's there. You can see it in the way his kids interact with him. You can see it in his wife's eyes. Will our news media try to expose those hidden traits of our new president? Will they humanize him the way they exposed the human side of Mr. Obama? Will they paint the American people a picture of a new Camelot? I have my doubts.
I fear the news media organizations will instead waste their time and talents on a smear campaign like we've never seen. There may little good news to read for the next four years as the media pounds their negativity into our brains, day after day after day. The more intelligent Americans will take their news stories with a grain of salt, but even then may find themselves doubting their own convictions and beliefs. Those who 'ain't all that smart' will devour everything the news reports and willingly trust it as fact. Bitterness and hatred will continue to spread throughout our land and yes, divisiveness will spread like an incurable disease.
It is my opinion that the divisiveness of our country is a direct result of the news media organizations that poison our minds, the minds of our children, and the future of our country. As I scroll through my iPhone on this Saturday afternoon, my timeline is cluttered with stories about the Women's' March and celebrities standing up and speaking against our new president...and he's been our president for one day? Is this really the most pertinent news of the day or are the media outlets simply playing it up into something it's not? Personally, I want to hear about the tongue lashing Bill Clinton got when he got home after the inauguration. I want to know what happened to George W's poncho! Did Dick Cheney finally take it away from him? And I want to hear how Donald Trump's first day in office is going. Deep sigh.
There is no greater force that plots the course of our country than that of the news media, be it the high road or the low, the right direction or the wrong. The press has an enormous responsibility to the American people and should never take this responsibility lightly. The power of the press should never be abused under any circumstances and those who do should suffer consequences. We are guaranteed a free press under the constitution, but just as with free speech, we must be willing to accept the consequences when we abuse that freedom. Continual abuse will ultimately lead to a freedom lost.
We as Americans stood up in unity in November 2016 and said we wanted to change the way things were. Perhaps we now need to stand together and demand fair, consistent, and unbiased news. In today's society, constant trending news plays a huge part in our lives. To be bombarded 24/7 with content that spreads vile and negative images of our country is not healthy, not for us and not for our nation. The vast majority of us genuinely want our president to succeed. We really do want our country to be great. Most of us are willing to give it all a chance. And we want the news media to do the same. Give it a chance to work. If it doesn't...then we expect you to tell us about it. Tell it like it is...not how you want us to think it is.
No, CBS News, I do not want to watch a 360-degree view of the thousands of women marching through Washington DC...is Bill Clinton there? Boy, he's gonna get it when he gets home!