A Little Too Free for the Common Good?

Broadband has now given the public a splintered rainbow of opinions. ‘Who can tell the accuracy of any given ‘read’ on a situation? Accountability has to be factored into the process. Perhaps that is why ‘Mission Statements’ have become so popular of late. Of course, mission statements are nothing new. And even the most concise such statements offer an opportunity to ‘read between the lines. For example, let’s pick apart these two statements: “The No Spin Zone, and All the News that’s Fit to Print.”
In the first example, one may well ask ‘Of all the words available in the English Language, why does Bill Reilly gravitate towards the word Spin?’ As to the New York Times choosing ‘Fit,’ this too leads to some interesting speculation…such as ‘What doesn’t fit?’
Perhaps that’s why the internet has incubated this splintered rainbow of opinion we find on our blackberries and elsewhere- finding places where the news will fit.
Indeed it would benefit everyone to develop their own mission statement. A mission statement can serve like a rudder that guides the ship out on the vast sea of information that is available to those willing to sift through the facts.
Before being swayed by the various pundits and arbiters of reality one might do well to consider a mission statement like armor, too. In this age of rapid change, perhaps a drastic example could illustrate this point. Once upon a time when the world was young, and automobiles were just coming on the scene, as those on horse drawn carriages might have passed a broken down motorist, the well horsed traveler might have smiled as his horses trotted by the avant-garde motorist with a cheery greeting of ‘Get A Horse.’
Now, fast forward a hundred years and the motorist is in many places ruler of the road. Horses are nowhere to be found. What of that brass plated opinion of yesterday? Get a Horse indeed. If it can be found at all, it’s in the dustbin of history.
Perhaps today, as a go-by-rail commuter passes stalled commuter traffic on the ‘expressway’ the rail commuter ‘might mutter ‘Get a metro pass.’ Warning/opinion to follow: Will rising fuel costs turn our highways into the exclusive purview of local delivery services, inspectors and salesmen?
Getting back to ‘Get a Horse.’ If that message has any meaning now, it could serve as an invitation to a well-to-do city-slicker (or a farm family); to get into the pleasurable (but time-and-money consuming) pastime of horseback riding.
New is not always good. Old is not always good either. This brings us back to the original issue; how can we tell which news source has got the real fire, the heart of the matter, and who’s blowing smoke? Who’s got the interests of the common welfare in mind and who is more interested in feathering the nest of special interests?
Reading a variety of sources can help sort this thing out. But also establishing a mission statement, to support those whose point of view agree with our own, to stand up for what we believe, that may be the final word.
As a person develops a mission statement, some criteria I would offer to measure the validity of an issue are as follows:
• Does the opinion expressed stand on its own or is it borne along by demeaning the opposite point of view?
• Does the opinion offer a positive direction or does it argue that this is ‘an emergency crisis situation; there are no other options?’
All this philosophizing came about the other day as I happened to hear a talk radio host rant “Charisma shouldn’t count in reporting a political candidate.” Ironically, he made quite the point of how reportage shouldn’t be laden with ‘touchy feely’ emotional comment—(Is bitter vitriol better) ?
I turned off the radio as I’d reached my destination; the neighborhood garden store. I hadn’t anticipated planting a garden, but how the clerk rhapsodized over growing your own green beans.
As I returned to my car with my packet of seeds I wondered how the talk radio host might react to my decision. Perhaps he would take me to task for going to so much trouble, being so gullible to the clerk’s ‘implication’ (real men till the soil). The talk show host might even be so bold as to point out his sponsor’s grocery chain sell perfectly adequate canned green beans with only 5% of the nutrients.
It’s a free country, although some of us may be a little too free for the common good.

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