Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 4.23

The past few weeks showed just how strong parts of our society are, the people and law enforcement, and how pathetically weak and short sighted other parts are, many politicians and members of the media. The strong speak for themselves so as I always seem to do I'll dwell on the pathetic but I'll finish with something positive.

In voting down gun background checks, if you can call it voting down, many senators showed they were above all afraid of the NRA but also afraid of a minority segment of their own constituency. I don't even think I would say it's money, I think many members of Congress now think of it as a career choice and not an honor to serve. They think of holding their position more than anything else. President Obama seems to despise them so much he doesn't want to deal with Congress at all and that is his weakness because a heavy dose of Presidential arm twisting might have swayed enough votes to change the outcome. Maybe 'we the people' are a little weak too because we don't expect better from Congress so in the end we get we we deserve. Time and the next few elections will tell.

In the days after the surviving Boston bomber was caught the same weakness showed itself in a different way. Senators who just the week before would not even allow background checks because of second amendment concerns were ready to suspend any other rights of an American citizen because, as Sen. Lindsey Graham said, 'the homeland is the battlefield' now. I might have to agree with Graham but not because of terrorism. I would agree because of the 30,000 gun deaths in this country every year, the equivalent of a Vietnam War in the streets every two years.

On the media side CNN showed itself so eager to be the first with information that it was often first but also often wrong. The obvious time was when they, along with Fox News and others, reported arrests had been made in the Boston case, when in fact they hadn't been, than spent all afternoon in meltdown explaining why they had been wrong. Not to be outdone the Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post on Thursday ran a photo on its front page of two men it claimed were the bombers. They were incorrect on both counts. This may be the first time in my life that I wished I was a lawyer because if ever there was an ironclad defamation of character suit this is it.

CNN would have been better served by sending Anderson Cooper to West, Texas where he could cover the fertilizer plant explosion that left 14 people dead. Reuters reported that the plant was storing over 1,000 times the ammonium nitrate allowed by law yet most in the media and Congress shrug it off as a sad industrial accident. The Boston Marathon bombing has been called the worst terrorist attack in The United States since the World Trade Center attack yet in the time since than 300,000 have died in gun related deaths and over 60,000 have died in work related accidents. I'm trying to understand why Boston is a terrorist attack yet Newtown and West, Texas are not.

Now the positive. Last week CNN did most of its reporting live from the streets of Boston. I mention that for a reason because the best reporting last week came from Pete Williams of NBC who did all his reporting from a studio in Washington. If you wanted the first info CNN was the place to look but if you wanted the correct information you waited for Williams. Watching events unfold in Boston last Friday was like watching a season of 24 in a single day yet MSNBC/NBC did a totally awesome job all day with Williams reporting from the studio while Katy Tur and others in the streets of Boston. Tur was doing live reports when I woke up Friday morning and still doing them sixteen hours later when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured in a shrink wrapped boat in a Watertown backyard. They really do deserve any praise they get for their coverage.

4/24 update - To add a little to the pathetic part of yesterday's post I give you Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana. When asked why he had voted against background checks Baucus simply said "Montana." Just two weeks later Montana doesn't seem to matter as much as Baucus announced yesterday that he would not be seeking re-election in 2014. Likely to run for his seat is Montana governor Brian Schweitzer a popular Democrat with a 56% approval rating. Baucus blamed Montana for his vote but a poll released in March showed 79% of Montana voters were in favor of background checks.

No comments:

Post a Comment