This morning, I made the penultimate error: I not only turned on the television, I opted to watch "Fox and Friends."
Fox is a perfectly decent network; I persue their infomercials late at night as I surf past from NBC, CBS or ABC up to the Food Network. So in essence, I watch Fox about an hour a year, only in half-second intervals.
This morning, however, I was intoxicated by a snippet of a story that they were discussing: apparently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi twice misquoted the job-loss figures during a speaking engagement in which she said: "500 million Americans lose jobs every month." What she meant to say was 500,000 Americans lose jobs every month.
Apparently, people were either non-responsive or completely outraged. Depending on whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, I suppose, you should either be -- respectively -- outraged or completely apathetic. Problem is, I violate that coordinating rule. Inasmuch as I am a Republican, I took Ms. Pelosi's misstatement as just that -- a misstatement. Subsequently, when Michelle Malkin -- correctly -- suggested that had Sarah Palin or George W. Bush made that mistake, the press would have torn them apart. And maybe so; but still, I'm guessing that the real story is not party politics, criticism of the government ad nauseum, nor is it complaining over where a comma lands in a particular sentence or number. I knew what she meant, just as I interpreted John McCain's "this one" reference to Barack Obama during one of their debates as nothing more than a stylistic, rather than a racist, comment.
I think we've gotten so headstrong about being patriotic and responsible citizens we're, in effect, tossing out the baby with the bathwater. I was pretty ripe over Bill Clinton's regular lies while he was President; I didn't care that he got a hummer from Monica Lewinsky, I cared that his personality was so skewed towards bullshitting people that he didn't have it in him to tell Kenneth Starr to go fuck himself. Point is that Bill Clinton lied about a lot of things; impeaching him over his lie about the fact he soiled Monica's navy-blue dress is akin to putting Al Capone in prison for tax evasion.
We're so gung ho to lock horns with authority -- with politicians, the police, priests, teachers -- that we're effectively forgetting that we have lost the art of choosing our battles. Sure, Nancy Pelosi put her foot in her mouth, but it was a slight gaffe, not a serious error in judgment. The aforementioned Michelle Malkin rode this comment and suggested that Democrats in general have a chicken little sensibility and this was somehow -- subconsciously or otherwise -- a calculated move by Ms. Pelosi is complete bullshit, at least in my opinion. I agree on some level that Democrats do tend to worry aloud and preach apocalypse; but what can we expect from a party that nominated Michael Dukakis, the Richie Kotite of politics? Frankly, however, in this particular case, I doubt there was anything to Ms. Pelosi's comment(s) other than a verbal typo.
Now, to the counterpoint, I happen to believe -- more and more -- that as the bad news flows, it's opening the damn further and further. In other words, if we as a nation want to improve the situation, rebound our economy and actually make some progress, it seems to me that we have to remind journalists in print, television and internet mediums to stop giving us so many reasons to worry and start focusing on the good things. I've always avoided television news -- whether it be in the form of morning fluff like Today, Good Morning America or the above-cited "Fox and Friends" -- as well as the evening fluff newscasts. I'm not too concerned about the traffic jam that was caused when a water main at 137th Street broke. I don't worry too much about a woman who won the lottery misplacing her ticket. And I damn well don't need to hear about a teacher who was arrested after selling drugs to his/her students.
The point is, if I want to hear bad news, there's plenty of opportunity to do so; all this negativity -- reporting the thousands of jobs being lost (whether 500,000 or 500 million) -- with terminator-like inevitiability is not doing us much good. I'm not suggesting we censor the media or stop reporting the news; however, can we expect to see any sort of positive consumer confidence with this constant barrage of negativity? I don't. Put another way, if I look outside and see it's raining, I'm not going to spend a few hours watching the weather channel to see what can be done about the rain, how much heavier it's going to get, or worrying that the rain will have adverse affects on crops, homeless people or the litter of puppies that was born to a farmer and his one-legged wife.
I'm going to pack an umbrella and leave the house.
So, in hindsight, I've realized I'm going to start paying far less attention to "journalists" that read the news -- people like Kelly Ripa ("don't you think so, Reeeeeg?") and Kathy Lee Gifford and any number of empty heads paid to read a teleprompter for a living -- and stop worrying about things and get on with moving forward. Enough with the bad news: we know the economy sucks, we know Obama's going to make every legitimate attempt to scoot us quickly from this situation, and we should -- sometime in the next few months -- hope to start seeing the benefits.
And if not, the one sector that won't have to worry about its job market failing is those "journalists" who can read stories about how the economy is in the toilet.
That will teach me for turning on the TV in the morning.