“Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”

That comment, shouted out by someone in the audience at a Town Hall forum during the 2008 presidential campaign, was perhaps the jolt that made many of us begin to realize that a large chunk of the American electorate is shockingly uninformed.

And no wonder. Most Americans get their information from the internet, where anyone can say anything without regard to truth or facts. The TV networks aren’t much better. They — and local TV news, as well — are completely driven by ratings with hired consultants deciding what’s really important … what deserves air time and what doesn’t. 

It’s become a cliché, but “If it bleeds, it leads” is the mantra these days. Thus, a three car accident that injures a couple of people and ties up a freeway for an hour is the lead story on the six o’clock news. And proposed legislation that will in some way affect our lives for the next couple of decades isn’t reported at all. If a story makes people angry, they’ll run it. If it makes people think, they won’t.
The day after the Senate report on torture was made public, it was discussed across the whole media spectrum. Andrea Tantaros is billed as a “political analyst and commentator” for Fox News. Here is a verbatim quote from her, passionately delivered, on the subject of torture and the Senate report:
“The United States of America is awesome. We are awesome. But we’ve had this discussion. We’ve closed the book on it and we’ve stopped doing it. And the reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome.”

I don’t care if you’re a liberal or a conservative. Every one of us should deplore that kind of shallow, moronic …  Well, I don’t know what the hell it is. Just imagine if Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite were alive to hear that.

And, finally, I hereby pledge that I will never … EVER … use the word ‘awesome’ in any of my posts or in any other writing.