When I was a kid, my father would come home from work in the evening and while my mother was putting supper out on the table, he would sit in his living-room chair and read stories from The New York Times out loud. Then he would read an editorial or two, again out loud, and make a comment about what the Editorial Board had said.
Sometimes my brother and I listened to Dad’s performance, sometimes we had only pretended to hear. But what we learned from this nightly ritual was that keeping in touch with what had happened in the world was something you were supposed to do.
And from that time, which was 1957 or 1958 until now, if I could remember, I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of days that I didn’t spend some time reading or watching the news.
My parents were college-educated liberals, so of course they read The New York Times. The only time I ever looked at a tabloid like the Daily News or the Mirror was when I was sitting in the subway and someone got up to get off the train and left their paper behind.
My parents also subscribed to Harper’s Magazine and the Atlantic Monthly, again because both publications carried stories about news and world events with a liberal bent. We didn’t subscribe to Time or Life because they were owned by Henry Luce and everyone knew that Luce promoted a false, right-wing version of the news, as well as pushing right-wing shitheads like Joe McCarthy, Douglas MacArthur and Chiang Kai-shek.
So, that more or less summarizes how I got my daily dose of news from the late 1950’s until late 2021. That’s more than 60 years. That’s a long time.
But guess what? It ended this week. And it ended because the publications which I used to consider newsworthy, like The New York Times and The Atlantic Monthly, have become, to quote Grandpa, real ‘drek’ (read: lousy, no good, shit, whatever.)
I’ll give you a quick example, okay? From the way the mainstream media has been covering the refusal of New York City employees to abide by the vaccination mandate, you would think that vital services like policing and firefighting were grounding to a halt. The New York Times wrote up a story in which 6 firefighters who were put on leave drove to the office of a State Senator and said that officials responsible for the mandate would “have blood on their hands.”
That’s a news story? Six idiots, all of whom I suspect will get vaccinated anyway, shoot their mouths off on the way from their fire station to the local saloon where they’ll spend the next couple of days and The New York Times gives this as an example of how “tensions” among city workers are rising as the mandate starts to take effect?
But the coverage of New York’s plan to protect the population from the virus pales in comparison to how the liberal, or mainstream, or fake news media – whatever you want to call them – has of late been dealing with Donald Trump.
Actually, the way they are dealing with him is exactly the way hey have dealt with him since he came down to the lobby of his office building and announced he was running for President way back in 2015. He comes down the stairs past a group what was hired to show up and applaud that day, makes an announcement that was rife with racist appeals to the population which occupies the lowest common intellectual denominator in the United States, and he gets away with it for the next six years because the liberal media fall all over themselves to kiss his ass.
Why did reporters from major newspapers continue to show up at his rallies when he verbally abused them every chance he got, and often told his audiences that such individuals represented the worst sort of lowlifes that could be found? Why did the media even bother to cover those daily so-called press ‘briefings’ about the Pandemic when all Trump did was remind the audience that Anthony Fauci was their enemy, and he was their friend?
What would have been the worst thing that would have happened if the liberal media had simply stopped covering Trump halfway through his term? What would we have missed? The daily dose of lies, self-congratulatory pats on the back and one-liners cribbed from the Rush Limbaugh show?
How in God’s name could a reporter from The Washington Post or The New York Times sit next to some schmuck from Breitbart in the White House press briefing room?
If you have three and one-half minutes, just listen to this exchange between Chuck Todd and KellyAnne Conway when Conway first used the term ‘alternative facts.’ Here was the Counselor to the President stating that she didn’t know the difference between truths and falsehoods, and the media continued to listen to her and report what she said for the next four years.
Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I don’t understand what the word ‘news’ means in the digital age. But when I was growing up, news was a description of something that happened, an event that was real or a statement made by a public official about an event that had either occurred or was going to take place.
In my mind, there’s nothing newsworthy when some dumb fireman who hasn’t gotten vaccinated says that a pro-mandate public official will have ‘blood on his hands.’ There’s nothing newsworthy when Donald Trump says that the GOP won the election in Virginia thanks to his MAGA base, particularly when he made the statement to kick off an attempt to raise some more dough.
What would I have missed if I had stayed away from all news media for the last five years? World War III?
The real problem is that when we went down to Virginia yesterday, we only voted two or three times. We need to do a better job of stealing votes in 2022.