I do believe that if and when I find myself agreeing or disagreeing with the news I’m hearing… then I’m not hearing news, you know? Ideologically, I appreciate news that is critical of our government… but that doesn’t necessarily qualify as a scientific standard for quality journalism.
Immediately following the presidential debate, Fox aired commentators who were pretty much masturbating in my ears about how awesome it was to be in love with a guy named Mitt. How Romney was forceful, honest and strong, and took it the president – who was weak, and elitist, and a buffoon, and only 1/2 black. The emphasis of such an overwhelming victory was so hyperbolic that Eli, my 14-year old son, actually had a physical / emotional reaction where he turned from his piano practice and exclaimed aloud: “that’s not how it happened!”… Followed by a slow, creeping, and soul shaking realization that Fox news was broadcasting in our living room.
“Are you watching Fox news dad?” he asks … like he’s caught me free-basing… or watching Glee anyway. “Are… you… turning Republican?!”
Not that he comprehends political and ideological differences. He clearly dreads the circumstance in which he’d have to have “that” conversation with his mom… where he explains that I’m a great dad, but… you know… different.
“No, no…” I assure him that I simply want to see what is being said, “I’ve got an open-mind – separate from party politics, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Fox is just as good as any other channel for an opinion of what we just watched.” And, watching a given news channel does not necessarily marry me to a political party after all… does it?
What followed was a very brief argument about how absolutely sure I was that any of the other channels, CNN, MSNBC – whatever that other one is – were spinning rhetoric just as hard in the opposite direction. How they’d be proclaiming the president was so dignified, and patient, and studious… and 1/2 black.
A gentleman’s wager of 3 milk duds and I flipped over to MSNBC to watch anchorman Rachel Maddow and bespectacled chore-boy Chris Hayes grilling Rudolph Giuliani about how his private consulting firm– in spite of Rudy’s clear indignation – subsisted off the DOJ’s government teat. Though I did not find the same masturbatory celebration of how awesome Obama had made his words all over Romney… the news analysis was clearly aimed at denigrating the credibility of the opposition party. Never mind Rudy’s spin… his podium faced a wall in the men’s room and included a convenient trough for partisan pee. This debate wasn’t about him… was it?
We split the milk duds 2 to 1… he’s a growing boy (2), and I can’t recognize that I’m entirely wrong (1).
And in that serene bliss of sugar-fueled reverie that follows all dud-induced comas, Eli lolled his head at me and said “You know what I think… I think George Washington was right… political parties are no good for this country.” To which I murmured something about his being an elitist, and an irascible slave-owning revolutionary with totally non-photogenic teeth… then drifted off to sleep as a horrible re-run of Glee quietly hummed in the background.
One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinionsand aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.
Washington’s Farewell Address – 1796.