Now that I’m old, sometimes I am glad my memory isn’t great. As it is, sometimes the littlest things trip a memory and make me laugh or make me sad. It might be the smallest link. For example, a simple but common phrase, and this is especially a problem because I am old and it was drilled in to my brother and I to be polite. Call people by their titles, “Mr.” or “Mrs.” (one of these days I’ll do a post on how this bit still fucks with me at 50 years old). Say “thank you,” and when someone thanks you, reply with “you’re welcome.” “You’re Welcome.” There it is, tripping that memory. I saw Moana recently (great flick!), and all it takes is those two words for that song to get stuck in my head for hours. There it is again. If the phrase does this to you, too, you’re welcome! (Yes, I’m being facetious – I want to hit me now, too. . . you’re welcome! gah!)
I looked at that meme with Sean “Spicy” Spicer reporting from the White House on the Hindenburg disaster and my mind again went to funny places. If it happened now, no doubt there would be ten videos of what happened from multiple angles uploaded to youtube within minutes of the disaster. But even with those videos, imagine Spicy relaying the version 45 and President Bannon wanted reported. Now I imagine various reporters taking notes – maybe Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings. Imagine their reporting of the story. How does this make me giggle and also make me sad at once? How do these reporters struggle with how they’re going to report truth when they can’t get facts they can verify or quote?
Who knows how things will go today with this hideous tax bill they’re calling a “health care” bill. And these latest confirmation hearings just make me want to hibernate for 30 years. Whatever happens, it’s been a hell of a week. I find myself looking for Spicey’s report even though they’re sugar-coated train wrecks. Maybe that is why I check in with him periodically, a sort of morbid curiosity about the narrative they’re pushing on the people.
Our reporters and news agencies now don’t have the benefit (or hindrance) of the Fairness Doctrine (1949-1987). Many of our current news sources (and I use this term loosely in the case of outfits like Fox) get away with things they should not. They give news and journalists a bad name. It’s fine to have an editorial, but I can still remember the rare occasion when the guy who owned the station would get on at the end of the broadcast and state that what he was about to say was an editorial comment before delivering the opinion piece. Everything else we’d seen was basically fair and accurate up to that point, but this part, this is an opinion. He took his time, speaking from words he had carefully prepared for this. It was pretty easy to tell what was fact, and what each side held as truth and why. It was for us to form our opinions now that we were armed with facts and viewpoints.
I miss that integrity. I miss being able to trust what they said for the most part. I cannot even imagine how journalists now are managing when they are acutely aware that it’s not just Spicy and 45 hurting their credibility; it’s other “news” sources, too. Oh, well. I’m grateful to still have Dan Rather and Doc Maddow and the others who are striving to deliver facts and who are careful to make on-air corrections when they mess up. Things change. We adapt.
As Mr. Cronkite would say, “and that’s the way it is.”
(You’re welcome! ack!)