Then, graduate school came along, and suddenly, I was told to write only in the third person and the rush came to a screeching halt. It seemed a dishonest way to write. Instead of saying this is my opinion and here's why, I had to covertly give my opinion by manipulating the facts instead of owning and taking responsibility for my opinion. What I had to say was no longer important, and I felt as though all I did was spit out crap that wasn't my own. I still graduated with a 3.89 GPA, but there was a lot less joy in earning it.
Blogging has brought the love of writing back, and the rush happens every now and again. Writing for the newspaper keeps my chops up with third person writing, and I have come to love it as well. It is a challenge to observe and state the facts and put it all together in a way that won't put you to sleep. I have to be careful to put things in ways that no one can interpret as the paper's opinion, and I have to be sure I don't editorialize.
"Here's the facts, you decide," is one local TV station's news grab line. I never watch the news, so I have no idea if they're true to their word or not. But, it is my goal in writing for the paper.
That's a good thing, I think. Just think how it would be if more journalists and reporters and editors felt that way, especially during the past few weeks. Can you imagine how much easier it would be to choose a candidate or know what was going on enough to decide whether you should be royally pissed or not about this Wall Street bailout deal?
A fact is "knowledge or information based on real occurrences; or, something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed," according to dictionary.com. You collect your facts, sort them and then decide if you can form a hypothesis. Check it again, collect more facts, sort them out, and see if you can come up with the same hypothesis. If the results are the same, then you have a theory, or loosely, a conclusion.
Today, I read an article, "Onus on McCain to turn presidential race his way." The AP writer very blatantly collected quotes and presented her opinions using the people's voice she quoted. She didn't even bother including poll statistics to support her claim, but gave generalizations instead. Is it "news" that one camp is "optimistic" and the other camp is "discouraged, but not pessimistic"? The article should have been presented as an editorial instead of a news piece. That would solve everything, because it is only....
Dictionary.com says that an opinion is "a notion or conviction founded on probable evidence; belief stronger than impression, less strong than positive knowledge." Yep, that article is an editorial presented as news. It doesn't help me make my choice knowing her opinion. I don't know the facts, so I can't form my own conclusions.
The same can be said about the Wall Street meltdown, and why our elected representatives chose to ignore an overwhelmingly negative public response to the $700 billion bailout funded by taxpayer money. Something that large, that important and that controversial should have been put up to vote and decided based on that vote. And not by the electoral college, but by actual numbers for and against.
You know what? I know nothing, nada, zip, zilch about the stock market, the finance industry, hell, even the need for a stock market, and I sure have no idea at all about the current meltdown. Why? I've read everything that came across the news wires about it as I could. None of the news articles were overly heavy in stock market lingo or terms or phrases and I understood everything I read. I still came away knowing nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
The conclusion I came to is the same as most of the rest of the population - no, absolutely no bailout for a bunch of bottom-feeders that bit off way more than they could chew! A man can steal a loaf of bread for his hungry wife and children and be thrown in jail, but when these greedy bastards steal from everyone they come in contact with, they are "bailed out" and never even charged with their grievous wrongs. How can that be right? You just gotta love…
Back to dictionary.com for the sunshiny definition of politics, disregarding the tactics to manipulate for personal gain and power:
The science of government; that part of ethics which has to do with the regulation and government of a nation or state, the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity, the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals.It's ironic that the definition of politics includes no reference to the "government by the people, for the people." It's even more ironic to see "ethics," "rights" and "morals" with the goal to preserve and improve them as well. Forgive my ignorance, but I haven't seen any facts to support a conclusion that any of this definition is existent in politics today!
The other day, I read in a book by Dinesh D'Souza that most of the Middle Eastern and Asian cultures believe that it is ridiculous for the general populace to choose their leader. Some say it is because the lower classes are too ignorant to make that kind of decision. Others believe that the leader of a country is chosen by God alone. I can see their logic in these beliefs, especially back in the old days before mass communication existed. To me, it is not logical to assume that a 'government for the people, by the people' would not produce leaders worthy of leading, because in essence, all candidates are from the populace that is not supposed to be delineated by class lines. If I go out and earn the education and experience needed to qualify for the position, I could run for president too. That is the culture here. Right?
It is there, available to all, the mass communications needed to get all the information out so that everyone could make a solid, educated decision on who to vote for. The infrastructure is there and it works. You wouldn't be reading this if it didn't.
But, no real information, no substantial facts are disseminated. If any happen to squeak through, the facts are buried in opinion, manipulation, distortion and contortion. It's like the photo at the top of this post. I am screaming for real facts, real truth, real news!
With what has been presented via the news media, I am disinclined to vote for either party's candidate. What I really want to see in that voting booth come election day is a "NEITHER" level to pull.