The Loudest Gull Loses

Ann - Dolgeville, New York
Entered on October 8, 2008

The Loudest Gull Loses

The right of a free and independent press, the irreplaceable protector of our democracy, is trivialized by those who usurp the power of the media for personal gain.

When pundits duel on TV and sound like screeching gulls determined to out squawk each other, I pump the remote in search of respectful discourse. In spite of Olympic level training in thumb sprints, my quest for civility is often fruitless- even among the endless choices on cable television.

During the political conventions and debates, I listened to speeches on C-SPAN, the one channel without commentators to explain what I had just heard or to pontificate on what the candidates must say or what topics have to be addressed or what manner of speech must be given. C-SPAN provided blessed silence between speeches. Time to think about what I had heard.

News broadcasting has been turned over to entertainers-those who perform as characters they, or their handlers, have created. Unfortunately, these characters choose which stories to sell us and devise performances to raise their ratings so advertisers will buy time for more ego stroking performances. The ultimate infomercial of self, disguised as MUST SEE news.

My cramped but optimistic thumb seeks journalists who treat the profession with the respect of a Walter Cronkite or Tim Russert-those who see their calling as an honorable responsibility to inform, to educate, to show the complexities of most important issues, and to LISTEN to the answers given during an interview.

The squawking preening gulls of the look at ME, listen to ME flock are simply acting a part in a play I choose not to watch. If I were in a theater, I’d walk out. And hope no gull flies too close overhead.