Friday, March 24, 2006

Good news!

No, I don't have any good news. But I was recently reminded of a common conservative mindset while reading about the Pluto Nash of presidents, Ronald Reagan:

Unhappy with the TV news coverage of his administration, President Reagan proposes that the networks report only "good news" for a week. "If the ratings go down," he says, "they can go back to bad news."

The Clothes Have No Emperor by Paul Slansky, entry for 3/3/83)

While good news certainly has its place, calls for such by right-leaning figures runs less along the lines of, "Grassroots efforts helping community" than, "Thousands if U.S. troops not killed today." In other words, they don't want good news so much as deceptive ways of pushing bad news.

There's an inherent irony in the president who's perhaps most responsible for today's neocon political climate (and all the crap it continues to bring us) asking the media to report only the good things. What's even crazier that that some of the Murdochier media outlets actually do it. Can't spell "press" without "P.R."

You want to know why it's called news? Because, by definition, it isn't something that happens all the time. Or if it is happening all the time, then it isn't supposed to be happening. You never hear, "Hey! Did you hear the news? I had a perfectly normal day." Now, if Indiana Jones were saying that, yeah, I suppose it could be news. Otherwise, no.

In a way, I'm jealous of those who operate under that mode of thinking. It must be nice to be that terminally positive, to be able to think, "At least I'm not homeless," and have that pass as a comforting thought. Personally, I think a balance of positivity and realism is healthy. And while I definitely understand the value of turning off the news once in a while (or often) for the sake of sanity, that's a decision that should be left to the individual and should not be abetted by news outlets.

But I'm sure there will be some good news on January 20, 2009. I'm cautiously optimistic, as the Gipper would say.


Ian McGibboney said...

Just a clarification as to why Reagan is the Pluto Nash of presidents:

--Pluto Nash was an old movie that set the record for largest budget loss in history;

--Ronald Reagan was an old movie star who set the record for largest national debt in history.

Cajun Tiger said...

Here is a perfect example. How many times did CNN, MSNBC, ABC, etc. carry the prison bombing that killed 30 people versus the story of the Iraqi forces capturing 15 foreign terrorists with a whole house full of IED materials? Both happened on the same day.

I have to date seen only a couple of stories on the arrest (two on FoxNews) and dozens of stories on the bombing.

Both are about the Iraq security strenght yet the one that makes them look incomptent gets all the play while the one that makes them look good is practically ignored.