A Hard Job

Politicians and journalists are strange bedfellows indeed.  Politicians and journalists depend upon each other for their jobs.  Politicians depend on journalists to get their message out to the people.  Journalists get much of their source material from politicians.  People depend on journalists for fair, unbiased factual information.  Journalists take the charge of the people seriously, considering themselves a watchdog of the political process.

This political season we have heard much about the candidates, and watched as reporters have tried to retain their non-partisan detachment.  Trying to get a candidate or their surrogates to answer a question directly is difficult.

Reporters  make one clumsy attempt after another to rephrase, restate, and re-frame questions over and over again.  Asking about the latest challenge to the candidate, the reporter must sit calmly while the candidate or the surrogate spouts canned factually ambiguous rhetoric, explaining how what was said wasn’t really meant, because the person being run against is far worse.

Trying to get to the candidates position on issues such as taxes, trade, security and defense prove illusive, as the reporters are kept busy stumbling with continuous fact checking.  Reporters must work with verified and cross checked facts, but not so the candidates.  Candidates can say anything, in any way they want, because facts come second to feelings.

It has been painful to watch reporters fumble, stumble, and bumble along during interviews and debates.  No matter how carefully a question is phrased, the candidate often goes another way, ignoring the question entirely.  When the candidate can’t blame his standings in the polls on the opposition, the candidate blames the way the press does its job.

From this point on, I really don’t need to worry about it.  As far as I am concerned the dye is cast.  I have already cast my vote.  I asked Hubby, can we stop watching CNN, NBC, Fox and other election coverage now?  Hubby says we still have to watch.

I can’t help feeling bad for the reporters whose job it is to cover this story.  I especially feel bad for serious publications I respect:  The Post, and The New York Times.

 

Once Admired

Merriam-Webster Logo     Full Definition of politically correct

  1. :  conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated

political correctness noun
My grandmother, Florence Dismukes, never heard of politically correct.  Grandma did refer to black people as niggers, but she never used the word in a punitive, derisive, derogatory, belittling, or detracting way.  This was just the way she learned to talk many, many years ago.  Speaking to any person she used their name, and always treated everyone with respect. There was not a single person who would have corrected my Grandmother.  The most militant young black man would have been raised better than to correct an old woman who was entirely kind and respectful in every other way.  The only person who would dare to correct her was me, her 16 year old granddaughter.
“Grandma, they want to be called African-Americans,” I told her, only later was Black the generally accepted term.  “Honey, I’m to old to change the way I talk now.  But I don’t mean anything bad by it.  I treat everyone with respect and that is what is important,” she said.
This conversation took place before correctness was politicized.  People tried to be correct! People showed respect in their actions and their speech, and tried not to give offence.  The expression “live and let live” was often invoked along with the reminder to “judge not, lest you be judged.”
Politeness was expected in political discourse.  There was a way things were done.  A formal correctness controlled meetings in government, as well as other social groups.  People waited their turn, addressed the chair and group, and said their piece without interruption.  There was no name calling, and rudeness.  People spoke passionately and with conviction about issues, and then allowed the next person the same opportunity.
Unfortunately, this politeness in political discourse is only accorded to those we agree with.  If we disagree, all expectations of respect for each other is suspended.  There are no limits at to what is acceptable to get, and keep, your way.  An opinion expressed politely, without rage and righteous indignation expressed with abandon, is viewed as weak, lacking in soul, and lacking honesty.  We are seeing this daily as we go through this election cycle.
Candidates call those who disagree liars, question their physical attributes, and blame the press for the types of questions they ask and how they shape the news to mislead the voters.  It is the fault of the President, Congress, liberals , conservatives that we don’t have everything the way “we” want, and if “we” can only be loud enough, be aggressive enough “we” can fix everything.
Unfortunately, no one is listening anymore.
I would like to see a little more political correctness.  What I would like the most, is to know that the persons holding office or going for office, are there to represent my interests and make our United States a good place for all of us.

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