Meanwhile, in parts of the world where stuff still happens

Perhaps all hell is about to break loose because I’m writing this (if so, I apologize), but this has been a particularly news-free holiday weekend. I’ve seen nothing in S.C. or nationally worth commenting on. Imagine my dismay after spending 75 cents on the paper this morning.

But one advantage to these periods of quiet is that they make it slightly more likely that we in this self-absorbed nation might notice what’s going on elsewhere, such as:

  • Iran shutting down Facebook to try to stack an election in Ahmadinejad’s favor (which is a bad thing, my facetious comment on Twitter notwithstanding).
  • North Korea setting off another, much bigger, nuke. (And we might as well pay attention to them for doing so, since that is largely why they did it. If we ignore them, they’ll just set off a bigger one, or at least try.)
  • Sikhs rioting in India over an incident of violence in Vienna. (Odd how people — and obviously, not just Muslims — do that in that part of the world. It makes you wonder about how they perceive cause and effect. What effect do you suppose the rioters expect they will have, and upon whom?)

Interesting thing about that last item: It underlines that in other parts of the world, people DO pay attention to what happens elsewhere, even if their response seem irrational by Western norms. For instance, while I don’t expect Christians here to riot about anti-Christian violence elsewhere — I certainly hope they won’t anyway — one wonders if they’re even aware when such things happen. Call the rioters beknighted if you will, but at least they have a sort of rudimentary international awareness that we tend to lack.

One reason I like to read The Economist and other Brit publications is because they do tell us about the rest of the world, and not just on news-free weekends, but all the time. American publications downplay the international stuff, or ignore it altogether, for the simple fact that their audiences are uninterested.

Oh, we pay attention to a briefly riveting pirate drama, or a famine with dramatic pictures of babies with swollen bellies, and other things that portray the rest of the world as unappetizing places we’d just as soon avoid. But we miss the routine, and therefore lack context when problems do occur. Doubt me? OK, ask the next person you meet on the street who the president of Mexico is, or which party leads the governing coalition in Canada, or to name four European heads of state.

I’m not sneering. Those would be tough for me, too (I can name 3 Europeans — Brown, Sarkozy and Merkel — but I said 4 because that exceeded my own grasp, without looking it up). We’re just a very insular people.

28 thoughts on “Meanwhile, in parts of the world where stuff still happens

  1. Ralph Hightower

    A big news buzz is that a native from Columbia, SC is nominated to be the next administrator of NASA.

    I haven’t seen any annoucement from the White House, but media bigger than The State is announcing it as official.

    My wife and I met then, Lt. Col. Charles F. Bolden, in December 1986. We were celebrating a wedding anniversary when I recognized Charles Bolden and his mother, and family walk into a local restaurant in Cayce. We waited until they went to pay before we introduced ourselves. Both Charles Bolden and Ethel Bolden got significant air time on local television media because that was the year of Challenger.

    He was a pilot of two Space Shuttle missions, STS-61C (January 1986) and STS-31 (April 1990), and commander of two Space Shuttle missions, STS-45 (March 1992) and STS-60 (February 1994).

    I think it’s great that a native from Columbia, SC is picked to lead NASA. Though an astronaut, he recognizes the value of robotic missions.

  2. bud

    I guess it’s all relative. No 9-11 style terrorist attack. No natural disaster on the order of Katrina. Oil prices are relatively modest still. Still, with GM days away from declaring bankrupcy; the GOP continuing to implode under a barrage of “just say no” politics; the North Koreans detonating a nuke; a lunatic governor behaving like a complete imbecile and an ongoing recession the news is still very interesting.

    What gets me is how the MSM can STILL give the slightest hint of credibility to the Republican Party now. They are without a doubt the biggest bunch of losers in the history of the republic. Everything they have said has proven false. Take for example the economy, the issue at the heart of our “esteemed” governor. The stimulus is starting to work as evidenced by the rise in both the DOW and oil prices.

    The ex-VP is going around the country trying to defend torture for Petes sake. And lying in the process. The man deserves a jail sentence, not respectibility. How can this bunch be considered anything but a lunatic fringe right now. Yet there we have the “distinguished” David Broder giving equal weight to Cheney’s world view as compared to the President’s. Give me a freakin break!

    Then there’s Norm Coleman whining about a lost election and successfully blocking the will of the people. And then we have caribou Barbie, Sarah Palin, continuing to play the part of the victim. Why does the media continue to behave so irresponsibly? Why don’t they just come out and declare the GOP the undiginified disgrace that it has become. Thank God the American people had enough sense to reject the fear-mongering ridiculous John McCain and his sidekick CB Palin. Too bad Obama doesn’t just ignore them and attempt to govern the way he was elected. It would be so refreshing to see that happen.

  3. Bart

    Not too long ago, Republicans were ringing the death bell for the Democrat Party with much the same rhetoric. They were arrogant, inconsiderate, and wanted the last vestiges of the Democrats to just shut the hell up and go away.

    Pride, arrogance, and ignoring the people who put them in office and thinking they were 10 feet tall and bulletproof only served to hasten their downfall.

    Now, Democrats are behaving the same way. The pendulum has swung to the far left but is stalling and showing signs of a definite swing back the other way. And, much sooner than anyone expected.

    So, for now, enjoy your view from the top, look at history, don’t overestimate yourself and Obama, and remember, crap tastes awful when you have to chew on it. A crap sandwich ain’t appealing bud. Remember that in a few years.

    You don’t have an exclusive right on being as asshole, I think both parties have earned the right to wear the label. Right now, it’s your turn.

    By the way, I don’t know what makes you think the economy has turned. If you mean higher oil prices, maybe a primer on how oil speculators still control the market would be in order. It is summer, time for the annual increase, lower inventories, and with lower prices than last year, those with the means will travel more. Common sense, not political ideology. And, in case you forgot, we still import almost all of the oil we use and OPEC has had enough of cheap prices. They based their financial futures on higher prices and until it gets back to the $75 plus per barrell, they won’t be satisfied. They have waited long enough and you can expect an announcement soon to that effect.

    The rise of the DOW is nothing but opportunistic buying and selling of cheap stocks by stock speculators and the wealthy hedge fund and stock broker agencies just building their own portfolios. Nothing of real importance is happening yet. Companies who actually contribute to the growth of American financial worth are still suffering and to make such a ridiculous comment in the face of GM and Chrysler bankruptcies is beyond credibility. By the way, the DOW is not an indicator of how the finanical markets really are. It is no more than a daily scoreboard of what is traded. Adds nothing to the bottom line.

    Several hundred thousand lose their jobs each month and there are no signs of a slowdown any time soon. I guess a reduction from 650,000 to 640,000 is a positive sign, eh? Stimulus money going anywhere but into the private sector where jobs are created? Yet, the role of government and subsequent payrolls there are on the rise. Is this the recovery you speak of?

    Norm Coleman has just as much right to protest an election as Al Gore did or is this just something exclusive to Democrats when they lose a close one? Sarah Palin is just another celebrity on the political scene and poses no danger to anyone so why the continued obsession with her? Got a crush or something?

    Cheney was the VP when the 9/11 attacks occurred but I guess that is irrelevant to the discussion isn’t it? Of course, if you buy into the scenario that Cheney and company were responsible for 9/11 and planned the attacks like the conspiracy theory Rosie O’Donnell espouses and apparently so do you, then it makes sense to want him to shut up and go away. That’s right bud, deny the man his consititutional right to freedom of speech. Naturally, since it is someone you disagree with, you will go off on one of your patented rants and scathing posts on cue.

    Maybe you should read the memoirs of people who were actually tortured in Vietnam prisons, not just subjected to harsh treatment but actual torture. Damn, what would break you under harsh treatment? A threat to take away your daily allocation of latte’ and gourmet bagels? I bet you would spill your guts all over the place if you were “grabbed by the shoulders and shook” by an interrogator.

    We are not Europe and for God’s sake, I hope we don’t become another France, Germany, Italy, Spain, or England. As always, we will come through this if Obama and his immaturity doesn’t do too much damage in the meantime. Bush didn’t completely screw things up but he came close. He was turned out and Obama will be afforded the same treatment.

    Republicans will find their voice again just as Democrats found theirs. History has a habit of repeating itself. Ain’t history a bitch?

  4. Lee Muller

    France, Spain, Italy, and most European countries have had chronic unemployment rates between 13% and 17%.

    The US economy began to crash with as Obama sealed up the nomination.
    Business saw how the press was covering for him and investment stopped cold in June 2008.

    3,000,000 more jobs have been lost since Obama took office. The actual rate of unemployment has risen from 4.4% in June 2008 to 15.7% in April 2009.

    GM and Chrysler were supposed to be saved from bankruptcy by Obama’s seizure of them. $25 billion of bailout money later, they are going bankrupt, with government managers doing an inside deal to cheat the bondholders and give equity control to the UAW.

    Nothing has been done about the corruption and 9,000,000 junk mortgages in default at FMAC and FNMA.

    Nothing of substance has been done about credit card reform.

    TARP, which was supposed to take “toxic assets” off the books of the banks and “get credit flowing to small business”, has done neither.

    Less than 1% of the Pelosi Pork Money has been spent to “stimulate” the economy. Less than 4% has been allocated. Most of it will not be spent until this time next year, just in time for the 2010 elections.

  5. Bart

    H, now that is a good comeback. “EH” Just goes to prove there is intelligent life on the left.

    Not only do I like Dijon mustard but of all things, “French’s” yellow mustard. I also enjoy Italian food, good French and Italian wine, among other continental cuisines. Spanish olives are very flavorful and Spanish olive oil is a good departure from the traditional Italian. Believe it or not, when I worked and traveled in the Middle East, I actually enjoyed many of their traditional dishes.

    Wow! Does this make multi-national like Obama?

  6. Lee Muller

    Obama was born in Kenya and naturalized as a citizen of Indonesia.
    Is there a third country which he claims?

  7. Lee Muller


    Since you seem ambivalent about Iran shutting off Facebook, how do you feel about Democrats wanting to control the content of opposition talk radio?

  8. Herb Brasher

    Off the subject, but since you’re talking about “stuff happening” (and I fully realize this isn’t newsworthy, so no jokes, please), but we just got back from Spoleto. The Columbia Community Concert Band combined with the Charleston Band and played a concert together yesterday afternoon, and the honorable mayor gave the introductory speech. He’s quite a guy, or at least he seems like it from that one speech. Now I think I understand why you like him, Brad. I recall you writing that he does his job too well. I wish I could have met and talked with him a bit, but he had to take off, understandably, at the end of the concert.

    Why aren’t there more leaders out there like him?

    Anyway, it was a beautiful day (and we expected rain), and for those who might accidentally like concert bands, the combination was great. We were weak in the numbers (not quality) of percussion, double reed instruments, and french horns), and they made up for it. Except for the sour notes I hit, I think it was almost perfect.

    My wife plays a pretty good treble-cleft baritone horn, too, but they had a professional baritone player that really aced the solos.

    So you can tell, we had a good time. Now back to the rest of the world . . . .

  9. Herb Brasher

    Oh, and one comment on world-awareness, Brad. One of the positive benefits of Obama’s election is the perception abroad that we aren’t just a bunch of knee-jerk, trigger-happy, colonizing Anglos. I’m not in a position to give any details (it would undermine my work), but it’s positive, nonetheless.

  10. Birch Barlow

    You’re right, Herb. We’re a bunch of knee-jerk, trigger-happy, colonizing people of multiple backgrounds.

  11. Herb Brasher

    Birch, I’m talking about foreign policy, not domestic. We’re also individualistic (our version of “camping” is to get as far away from civilization as possible, and if you can see anyone else in the distance, well, you gotta find another campsite, right?), hedonistic (the pursuit of happiness has run amok, methinks), and assume we’re the world leaders, except that we don’t normally take much time to read or think about how the rest of the world operates. Fox News is all we need, right?

  12. Lee Muller

    America was founded on the right to pursue happiness.

    That is the basis for limiting government to the very smallest size possible, because individuals cannot be happy with millions of bureaucrats trying to enforce millions of regulations on them.

    Hedonism is not the pursuit of happiness, but of indulging physical appetites. Obama’s abuse of cocaine is one example.

    Since I work with international clients, I have to say that none of them are thrilled with Obama. They are stunned that America would elect such in incompetent charlatan blow hard. They also have pulled back sharply on investment here because of the political instability.

  13. Birch Barlow

    I was talking about foreign policy too.

    You are exactly right about camping. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying nature in quiet solitude. In my opinion, there’s no better place or time for reflection.

    Yes, we are all hedonistic.

    We do, at times, try to run the world. It is unfortunate and it comes at an enormous cost. Hell, if Americans took the time to read or think about how America operates, we’d be going places. But that’s wishful thinking in this ignorant country.

    No one should watch Fox News, in my opinion. But I don’t care that they do.

  14. Bart

    Continuing on the theme of things outside SC, anyone care to comment on the Obama pick for the SCOTUS, Sonia Sotomayor?

    I think this will definitely turn the SCOTUS to the left. Souter was not a conservative as Bush I thought he was but he generally kept the balance and never went off on an ideological tangent with his decisions. Sotomayor has a history of going with her experiences and feelings when making decisions. Her public comments on how she views the role of a judge are disturbing in that when it comes to the rule of law and the Constitution, feelings may be important when deciding punishment, etc. but not in making decisions.

    The hearings may produce a little fuss but not much. Predict she will be confirmed easily.

  15. Bart

    Wait a minute. Birch, why shouldn’t anyone watch Fox News? The first thing I try to do is avoid CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NBC, CBS, and ABC like the plague. They are all biased. A bit of information that hasn’t made the national headlines. Newspapers are prospering in profits and circulation in South Korea. Why you may ask? Because they are neutral and present BOTH sides of the issue without editorializing one way or the other and avoid the use of self-serving “weasel words” when presenting a story.

    The reason Fox News is so hated by the left is that they dare present the news with a conservative slant on occasion. When I do watch the news, I stay away from Hannity, O’Reilly, and the opinionated jerks who clog the airwaves there in the same manner as Olberman, Matthews, Shuster, Maddow, and now, Ed Schultz at MSNBC.

    I suppose these guys are not opinionated, “Fair and Balanced”, and never present the left point of view.

    Then you have the far right anchors on CNN like Anderson Cooper, Campbell Brown, Larry King, among others, right? No, left I think.

    CNBC does present a fairly balanced programming schedule and it was one of their own who happened to propose the tax revolt idea wasn’t it? So, they don’t count.

    So, we want Fox News shut down or to just shut up already and the others can continue without objections.

    Liberals, Democrats, Progressives, and leftists don’t want opposition voices, they want captitulation, otherwise opinions voiced in opposition are moot and irrelevant to the conversation. They make fun of those who do choose to watch Fox and I suppose this is the way to create an open atmosphere to foment dialogues about the things that divide us.

    Way to go guys. The chances that the Fairness Doctrine will return grows each day that passes unless the American public wakes up and realizes how much of an assault on freedom of speech and the free market of ideas is about to take place – again.

    Herb, my son and his family were at the concert. They really enjoyed it and had high compliments for the Columbia contingent. I told him one of the regulars on this blog was playing alto-sax but to forget his politics and enjoy his music. :). Glad you had a good time.

  16. Birch Barlow

    Wait a minute. Birch, why shouldn’t anyone watch Fox News? The first thing I try to do is avoid CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NBC, CBS, and ABC like the plague. They are all biased.

    You answered your own question. Herb made specific reference to Fox News (it almost seemed to me he assumed I watched the channel) so I only referred to it as well. I wouldn’t watch any of the others you mentioned either.

  17. Herb Brasher

    Hey Birch, I wasn’t making any assumptions about what you personally watch (and I do like to camp quite far away from everybody else, that is when I do camp–my wifes’ two brothers prefer to be air-lifted into the Alaskan wilderness with their archery equipment). One of the things that I object to on Fox News, apart from the ideological spin that every American TV producer has, is the amount of skin that the female anchors show; I’m sure it’s all part of the marketing strategy in order to get more viewers, but I’m generally aware, I think, when I’m being manipulated. Of course we all are used to that part of marketing; we’ve known for a long time that sex sells.

    Having said that, I think I can count on my two hands the number of times I’ve watched Fox news (usually at the continental breakfast room in a motel, where I don’t have any choice but to listen to their point of view). We don’t have anything but local cable TV stations here at home, anyway, and I don’t usually watch those, either. Well, I do like some of the public TV programming.

    Hey, Bart, I wished I could have met your son. We really did have a great time, playing together. We all said that, even if the concert had been rained out, the two-hour practice in the morning would have been worth our time. It was just great to meet each other.

    Bart, you wrote that you worked for an architect in high school. My dad was an architect, but unfortunately (or fortunately, I’m not sure) I never got into the profession at all. The draftsmen at his office intrigued me, but not enough to ask to find out what it was about. He was gone a lot anyway, since he was the boss, and had to be out on the job.

  18. Herb Brasher

    Bart, please read The Search for Christian America sometime by Noll, Marsden, and Hatch. These authors are not biased against Christianity–quite the opposite–they are all evangelicals. Noll used to be a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, and Hatch (now president of Wake Forest U.) is the son of a former Columbia Bible College (CIU) professor. They really call into question the notion that this “used to be a Christian country.”

    I would say that America has never, at any time, been a Christian country. Well, you could count the Puritan experiment in Massachusetts, but that was pretty high-handed church power-grabbing, despite the fact of what they were escaping.

    We have been profoundly influenced by Christianity, especially through many of the colonists, and particularly through the tireless work of folks like Francis Asbury and the Methodist circuit riders.

    We do now have a far higher church membership quota that we did during the time of the Revolutionary War (Noll and Hatch, if I remember correctly, estimate 5% church membership at the time of the Revolutionary War), but it’s a mile wide and an inch deep as far as knowledge and commitment are concerned (at least that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.

    Gotta run, I’ve got a lot of work to catch up on.

  19. Birch Barlow

    We do now have a far higher church membership quota that we did during the time of the Revolutionary War (Noll and Hatch, if I remember correctly, estimate 5% church membership at the time of the Revolutionary War)

    5%, Herb? That’s interesting to know. Is this because back then Christianity was more family-centered and strongly practiced in the home unlike today where it is practiced on Sundays in a church? I’d be interested in more of your insights if you have them on this topic.

  20. Bart


    Will find the book and read it. I guess my take on America being a Christian nation is in the same vein that Russia was a Communist nation but actual membership in the party was no where representative of the citizens of the USSR. Likewise with the Nazi Party in Germany. There were thousands and thousands of members but the greater number of Germans were not actual members.

    Most Americans align themselves or identify with Christianity but as you stated, most knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. I find it amazing at some of the conceptions people have about Christianity, even most Christians. My greatest problem with “front row Christians” is that all too often they forget about those occupying the pews behind them and start to believe their brand is the only one that should be practiced.

    I think I posted this one time before but it might be a good time to do it again. Mark Hall, the lead singer for Casting Crowns made a very observant and intelligent comment about some Christians and how they are perceived by others. “I don’t think it bothers the world so much that Christians sin. I think it bothers the world that we act like we don’t.” Very profound observation and all too true.

    Birch, I stated what my viewing habits are when it comes to the news. It is incumbent on all of us to listen to the other side and give respect to their right to opinion and belief especially in this country where freedom of speech is paramount to all freedoms.

    I really enjoy participating on this blog and the give and take, occasional insult, and at times, heated commentary. As much as I disagree with bud on most subjects, I would be on the front lines protecting his right to voice his opinion. And I mean that sincerely. It does me no good to listen to those who agree with me to the exclusion of other thoughts and ideas. At times, bud has been of great benefit to me and he has given me reason to do more research on many subjects. For that, I owe him a thank you.

    The worst employer I ever had, in the end, was also one who contributed the most to my growth and broadened my horizons as a person. You never know, do you?

  21. Lee Muller

    At the time of the American Revolution, the dominant churches were Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Catholic and Jewish – all of which required their clergy to be trained in a seminary and ordained. So there
    was a shortage of churches in America. That is why the preachers rode a circuit, holding church in several towns a week.

    The 5% number for Christians is ridiculously low, as any historian of the churches can tell you. The Lutheran and other churches mentioned above are extensively documented in terms of baptized members, churches, and attendance.

  22. Herb Brasher

    OK, I should have checked my sources better, Birch, and Bart. What I said was a bit misleading. Here is the actual quote from The Search for Christian Americak, pp. 53-54

    Historians have known for a long time that the number of people in full church membership was surprisingly small in the colonial period. Church members never amounted to more than a third of the population of New England adults, and may never have been as high as 5 percent of adults in the southern colonies. More recently, however, scholars have begun to focus on church “adherence” rather than on church “membership”–in other words, on how many people were associated with churches, and regularly attending, even if they did not formally join. They have found these figures much higher than for comparative figures indicating full church membership. But even these studies of church adherence do not show a significant reversal as a result of the Great Awakening. In fact, the general trend throughout colonial America was toward lower and lower numbers of people “adhering” to churches. The figures, by modern standards (when something like 60 percent of the population belong to churches, but only 40 percent actually attend church regularly), are impressive. But they still show consistent decline. Perhaps as many as 80 percent of the colonial population was regularly connected to churches in 1700, but in a steady decline this figure was reduced to about 60 percent by 1780. The Great Awakening does not seem to have significantly changed this gradual decline.

    The whole chapter, however, is a very informative, because the authors talk about the dissenting voices of Jonathan Edwards’ (the key figure in the Great Awakening) followers, like Samuel Hopkins, who was not seduced by the Revolutionary fervor to compromise his Christian beliefs (“behold the sons of liberty, oppressing tyrannizing over many thousands of poor blacks, who have as good a claim to liberty as themselves”) or Isaac Backus (who eventually did take the revolutionary side, but not at first), who in 1771 “appealed directly to King George III . . . that Massachusetts was treating its ‘dissenters’ (like Baptists and other similar groups) just as poorly as Parliament was treating colonial political dissent.”

    The authors imply that the Revolution itself was not biblical, and that terms of Christian liberty that Edwards and Whitefield (admittedly a supporter of the Revolution, though John Wesley was not) had used in Christian theological terms were misused and re-interpreted for the revolutionary cause. Two main quotes to whet your appetite on the next chapter:

    . . . the common concern about the self-seeking lust for power explains why the transition from a Puritan theology to a ‘real’ Whig politics was often so easy.” (p. 83)

    And this one:

    In sum, the thought of the Revolution was not itself Christian. This is not to say that it lacked elements in harmony with Christian faith, for there were many. NOnetheless, the Revolution marked an advance of secularization.” (p. 94)

    And this is the most relevant part of this chapter, and perhaps of the whole book:

    “Failure to make these kinds of critical distinctions about the American heritage has led to long-term, deeply rooted problems for Christians in the United States. In AMerican history believers have had difficulty in creating strong and distinctly Christian institutions, especially businesses, labor unions, and universities. In addition, they have not felt it necessary to promote specifically Christian thinking on politics, philosophy, economics, law and other concerns of the wider culture. Such thinking by its nature would accentuate the differences between biblical values and the ideas which have only a vague religiosity. Without this consciousness of Chistian distinctions it has been easy to expect the state to perform functions which belong more properly to Christian families and to the churches. The lack of strong Christian institutions in America is atleast partly the consequence of assuming that the common culture, gorwing out of a “God-blessed” Revolution, was basically Christian.” (p. 101)

    Last Sunday, during the first part of the service at the local church we attend, one of the members of the youth praise band (who was, of course, sitting up front) deliberately took the American flag down from where it had been placed during the Memorial ceremony. Just before the sermon, someone in the back protested and asked that it be placed back on its stand, which was done.

    After the service, the same young man stood up and said that he meant no disrespect for the flag, but that it stood in the way of the people sitting in that part of the church (who are mostly young people) from seeing the cross. He was exactly right. In the first part of the service, we honored those who had given their lives for their country. No problem with that–it fits in with Romans 5:7. But the American flag does not belong at the front of the church. We really do need serious political thought by Christians, and though I”m tooting my own horn, I’m proud to have a son who is doing doctoral work in political science.

    I conclude that, yes Birch is partially right, that Christianity was practiced more in the family (was the distance to church part of the reason, after all, why did Methodist circuit riders have to circuit in the first place?). One could even make a good argument that the church is really at its best when it consists primarily of house churches, which would free up a lot of resources that go into buildings, etc.,

    But even more important: We need to work on influencing and working in society as writers, politicians, etc. who happen to be Christians, and not as Christian politicians and Christian writers. I’m not really very happy about the oft repeated phrase, “we are thankful to live in this country where we are free to worship without persecution.” The church has always been at its best when it has no political power.

  23. Lee Muller

    If you don’t think Christianity played a major role in the Revolution, just read the writings and speeches of the Scots-Irish Americans who defeated the British Army here in the South and in Pennsylvania. Many of them, like some of my ancestors, were exiled to America for being devote Presbyterians.

  24. Birch Barlow

    Birch, I stated what my viewing habits are when it comes to the news. It is incumbent on all of us to listen to the other side and give respect to their right to opinion and belief especially in this country where freedom of speech is paramount to all freedoms.

    Of course we should listen to as many perspectives as possible and objectively weigh both the positives and negatives from each viewpoint. But my issues with TV news channels like Fox News and MSNBC is not that I disagree with their political leanings. I do have two real objections to them.

    First, often times their featured commentary is nothing close to objective. It does not honestly weigh the arguments from opposing viewpoints. Instead, it shouts-down, name-calls, and willfully distorts it’s opponents views. A far cry from reasonable discourse.

    Second, so much of the actual news is spent on trivial “he said, she said” type stuff that I just don’t care about, leaving the actual issues covered only surface deep. And that doesn’t even include all the pop culture coverage which I care even less about. At least, unlike TV, I can skip over that stuff on the internet and in the newspaper.

    This is not to say all TV News coverage on those channels is bad. But to the extent to which my objections are applicable, I stand by my statement that no one should watch Fox News (or the others).

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