A New Press Cycle Appears!

It is a common story; a child or adult is enthralled by a “fantasy world”. It could be Dungeons and Dragons or a similar role playing game. It could be an internet game like World of Warcraft or many of the free online games. It could even be an unhealthy obsession with popular culture like comic books or a television show. Some even express a concern all children are too obsessed with all things adolescent these days, way past the age of adulthood.

Whatever the story, whatever the device, the idea is the same; people  spending too much time with the “unreal”, often to their own detriment.  These people are mostly hurting themselves, and sometimes their bored girlfriends.

I would like to draw a comparison. I think more people are afflicted by this problem than one would think  I believe most politicians, and people who follow the nightly news , are living in one of these fantasy lands. Unfortunately, their problem affects us all.

Leave it to politicians to take all the fun out of fantasy.

The other day I heard a news story about Obama’s “jobs plan”. In this story, people were discussing the administration’s fear that the economy would suffer a “double-dip” recession and all  progress the nation has made to climb out of the pit would be set back.

Progress? What progress do you speak of, sirs? We’re still in the middle of a depression here, last I looked. People are still losing jobs. Unemployment is still at an all-time high practically everywhere. People are still losing homes. Businesses are still folding. Maybe not at the insane rate they were when this mess started, but they still are none-the-less. It might be starting to crawl back up, but all it takes is a $.10 rise in gas prices to send a shudder though the whole economy at this stage of “recovery”.

It isn’t the first time I’ve heard this talk of how the recession is over. It’s been over a long time, if you listen to most of the politicians, read the paper or watch the news. A consumer index point here, a few jobs there and viola, we’re back to 1990-whatever!

Not really, but this is the reality most of the mainstream media, along with many of the party figure heads, go with. It is like they just say whatever the f*ck they want, all of the f*cking time, and it eventually becomes the new reality.

It isn’t just what they are saying either, it is what they aren’t saying. Budget stories are a load because nobody ever asks why choice X and choice Y are the only two choices in a huge, huge budget. The fantasy is they are the only choices. Economy stories? I think things are a lot deeper than “companies aren’t making money, so they aren’t hiring”. Few ever chose to probe those depths.

Then there is the short attention span of the American news cycle. Ever wonder what happened in Japan after the Tsunami? That story kind of dropped off the map. I’ll bet it’s still pretty bad, but that cycle is long, long gone. A lot of important stories go that way. A lot of investigation isn’t done because in two weeks the network is going to be running something else, period. Even huge scandals have a short life span these days. For many people, once the issue is out of the news, it just isn’t there anymore.

It isn’t as if the news is lying (most of the time). News outlets, for the most part, just tell people what other people tell them and they tell people about what people want to hear about right this second, not a second helping of a story the average viewer has gotten tired of.  There’s news and then there’s investigative journalism, and most of what you see is news. News is what people tell journalists, and what journalist repeat. If the White House says the recession is over, the news tells you the White House says the recession is over. Is it the truth?  Maybe not, but it is what the White House says, and it is the job of the news to tell you what the White House says. If you want the “real story”, if you want follow-through, you want investigative journalism.

Unfortunately, most investigative journalism these days is done by unscrupulous, disreputable journalists.  Like the tabloids in Men in Black, wacky watchedog groups, dirty journalists sleeping in garbage cans outside of government offices and 10 year old kids with blogs are the only ones really looking for the story these days, and half of them are full of sh*t too.

Then there are political parties, their politicians and they’re respective talking heads like Glenn Beck and whoever the hell his democratic counterpart is. They might as well be living in a sensory deprivation chamber. In fact, it would be an improvement. Instead, they’re looking in the mirror every morning and telling themselves They’re good enough, they’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, they’re policies are the only possible way the country can ever continue despite whatever the facts may say otherwise.

I’ll stick to the fantasy worlds with swords and those God-damned magical ponies,  thanks.



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