Yesterday as I sat in our kitchen reading and listening to Gregorian Chant on Pandora the horrific events that happened in Tucson, AZ began to unfold. First as a tweet from @npr on Twitter and then eventually to breaking news on Huffington Post to CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CSPAN and all around the world wide web. As I sat there in stunned grief and anguish for people I had never known nor perhaps will ever meet my heart was breaking for our country. I’m not a knee jerk liberal. I’d describe myself as socially progressive and fiscally conservative. I’m a pro-peace veteran of the United States Navy. I love my country and I’m patriotic too. I even say the pledge to the flag in the morning with the students at the school I work at.
There are some on the left who want to ascribe all of yesterday to vitriol emanating from the right wing and there are those on the right who want to blame the left. I want to blame no one but to examine our conscience as a nation and say where to do we go from here? In the words of Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along.” We have differences and that is what makes us strong. We need to celebrate those differences but in a way that encourages each other. I’m a Secular Franciscan and I don’t really wear that on my sleeve. In fact I go out of my way to not make statements about my faith. Instead I prefer to live what I believe. Tonight in surfing along the web I came upon a short talk by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM who is one of my favorite authors. Richard like our seraphic father St. Francis issues a clarion call that goes beyond the boundaries of any faith and instead speaks to the heart of the message of Jesus. I hope you enjoy it.
This summer I’ve been enjoying almost no news. Almost without thinking I’ve been avoiding the news. Tonight my mother told me a tragic story of a couple of Buffalo, New York firefighters who lost their lives today trying save other. That’s a real tragedy and my heart goes out to those families but save for stories like that I’ve been living with less and less news and it’s been enjoyable. I didn’t set out to do this either, it just happened. I’d been avoiding news and television in general and that goes back almost five years now, but I still enjoyed reading the news. Lately the news has been so negative with the health care debate and the birthers questioning President Obama’s citizenship that I’ve just avoided it.
Some might argue that I’m escaping from life. I’m escaping the corporate news shows with their programming and a reality that I don’t care to be a part of. I like reality, but it’s the un-reality of the news that turns me off. Instead I’ve turned them off and I’m healthier for it. Please pray for the Buffalo Firefighters and their families.
Has anyone noticed that news is dying? I don’t mean that there aren’t any stories to be covered. There are more stories now than there ever have been but those stories are being covered more and more by people like you and me. We’re blogging, tweeting, texting and in the process we’ve made the talking heads on cable news and the pundits at newspapers increasingly irrelevant. Newspapers are literally dying in front of our eyes and I believe more and more net generation people get their news from Drudge, Huffington and elsewhere. What do you think?
After watching President Obama’s prime-time press conference and after having read the blogosphere all day along with comments on Facebook I’m convinced that he kicked some serious butt. However, if you’re unlucky enough to listen to main stream media outlets like CNN, Fox and others you get a much different story. These are the same prevaricators who failed to hold George Bush’s feet to the fire six years ago when we went marching into Iraq. President Obama proved in the general election when these same media giants were calling the race much tighter than it actually was that social networks like Facebook and MySpace along with other blogs are where most of the grassroots really gets their news.
I noted during the press conference that the President actually fielded a question from a Huffington Post reporter. That is a paradgigm change and emblematic of the Obama Presidency. Paradigm shifts are revolutions and we’ve been witnessing one in the last year. Tonight was one more chapter in era of netroots and the netroots generation. We don’t need Wolf Blitzer, John King and Campbell Brown telling us what we just saw. We’re a lot more sophisticated. Network news won’t end right away, but it’s no longer out front and hasn’t been for sometime. We don’t need Chris Matthews or Jack Cafferty when you can start your own blog, wiki or generate your own content on Youtube or Blip.tv. President Obama is hip and so are we.
A good speech by Dan Rather. Rather is talking about the free press that is articulated in the first amendment of the United States Constitution.
I found a website that features good news. If you’re tired of CNN, Fox, CBS and the news blogs give this one a try. It’s called the Good News Network. It runs on Joomla an open source content manager which is more good news.
Life has been very busy and I’ve not had time to record my thoughts here in a number of days. I also missed the second anniversary of my entry into blogging. I’m grateful to all the folks who stop by and read my thoughts and in turn share their own. Blogging and blog reading has become a major pastime for me. I read the RSS feeds of over a dozen blogs each day. I get most of my news from blogs. In the past couple of months I’ve stopped listening to and/or reading daily newspapers and televised news. For the most part I’m more contented. I’ve found their constant hype of Brittany Spears, Election 2008 and other items to be a distraction from the problems faced by real people everywhere on the planet. Continue reading “No news is good for me”