Merely being realistic

Sure looks like Senator Obama will be our next president. And that both houses of Congress will be more Democratic than now. And suddenly we will start to feel better about our country’s various situations.

We will feel better because the mass media shape our feelings. They barrage us with news and information, of course. And a high percentage of what they feed us has been feel-bad stuff. Much of what they will feed us after the inauguration will be feel-good stuff.

Please don’t accuse me of being cynical here. I am merely being realistic.

We have seen countless surveys of attitudes on display in our mass media. Virtually all tell us those attitudes are liberal, left, usually in favor of the Democrats.

In the past several years mass media have turned most good news into bad. Examples of this are too many to document. They are abetted in this by an army of academics who openly despise even the Pledge of Allegiance if it comes from the lips of George Bush.

And, of course, vast segments of the media exist to publicize Hollywood-types. Anytime a movie star decides to become an expert on Iraq or the economy our media will feature his or her pronouncements.   

The results of the propagandizing are easy to see. For the past few years a majority of Americans have assured pollsters our economy has been in recession. It has not been, not by a long shot. Most Americans feel the Iraq War has been a military failure. For the number of people and amount of territory involved it has been a military success.

Whether we should have gone there at all is another matter. You can debate that for years. My point is that as a military campaign it has been one of the most successful we have ever undertaken. If you want an easy comparison, try Korea. There were over 4 million military and civilian casualties there.

Most of our media have ignored our successes in Iraq. Those lenses they wear can darken everything they look at.

Here is a good indication of the influence of such gloominess over the last several years. Many surveys asked Americans how they - personally - were doing. A huge majority consistently told the pollsters they were contented. And that they were doing well financially. (Prior to the latest financial crisis.)

But they also told pollsters they felt the economy was rotten. And that most other folks were suffering. Now, where do you suppose they picked up those attitudes? It could not have been from those other folks, since about 70 percent of people said things were okay with them.

They got their attitudes from the mass media. An example from a few weeks ago: Headline across news services on the web was “Initial Jobless Claims Reach Seven Year High!” Those claims had risen by 1000. Little wow. (After January the headline will read “Encouraging Sign - Jobless Claims Hold Steady”.

The opposite was true when Jimmy Carter was President. People told pollsters their own situation was rotten. But that the rest of the country was not doing so badly. This is what prompted a clever Reagan to ask, in a debate, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” He knew that while the media had convinced a lot of folks the country was fine under Carter, they knew their own lot was suffering.

We slipped into a recession toward the end of the Clinton years. Searches of the New York Times found the “R” word barely appeared. During the Bush years, when we had no recession, it became the Times favorite word.

Come January, much of the media, many of the academics and most of the Hollywood glitterati will seize every opportunity to paint a rosier picture. The reporters quizzing a President Obama will soften their barbs. They will overlook his mis-steps. Columnists will be less critical than has been their habit the last eight years.

If our concern is how the populace feels, this will help enormously. No matter what, so many of us will feel the country is doing better.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

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