Thursday, March 15, 2012

American Idol and Jermaine Jones Is a Microcosm of the overall problem

The other day I posted a comment on Facebook concerning the releasing of Jermaine Jones from the current contestants on the singing competition show American Idol. It appears that Jones had as many as four, some say five, outstanding warrants issued against him by police. The producers of American Idol claim to have had no knowledge of this before he got as far as he did (the top 11). This means that Jones was a part of the American Idol show for several months before his past legal problems came to light.

As a result of this faux pas I made this comment: Sounds to me like American Idol producers vetted Jones about as well as the press and Americans vetted Obama back in 2008.

I knew this would get some feedback and wasn't at all surprised by comments for and against what I had posted. In fact, I would have been a lot more surprised had it not elicited a vigorous debate. However, in order to better appreciate why I made my initial comment concerning the vetting process I think it is important to explain the deeper-seated reason for doing so. What I say here on my blog I also posted on Facebook.

When reminded by one of my Facebook friends that the initial online article I was commenting on had to do with Jones and not the President of the United States I felt obligated to remind the individual that there are more important things being said here then the removal of a singer from a television show.

In today's political hot-iron atmosphere I don't find it too odd that this kind of story can bleed-over into the political arena. I led off with the Jones-Obama comparison about vetting to elevate the conversation to something a little more important then this obsession over the importance of American Idol, or something like the Kardashians, Housewives this or Swap Wives that, etc. My posting appears to have worked to some degree.

What took place between American Idol and Jones is a microcosm of the overall problem with how most things are handled by the media/press in this "right vs left" mentality that has emerged over the last two decades in this nation. There has always been a divide in politics but there was a time when the press and media were the safe haven of unbiased reporting, the vetting of candidates without prejudice or agenda and honest reporting of what was being said and done by all parties. This is no longer the case and hasn't been for quite a few years now. For example: Walter Cronkite was a left-leaning voter. However, this was never apparent in his reporting of the news. The same could be said of the likes of David Brinkley and so many others of that Edward R. Murrow generation of on-air journalists. However, starting with Dan Rather and his generation of reporters that slowly began to change. Their reporting began to be peppered with personal opinion that betrayed their political leanings and slanted their view of a story. This soon went ballistic with the advent of 24hr cable news (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc). It is a little hard to give hard news facts when you have 24 hours to fill. So facts began being replaced with flash.

Today we no longer know the real news, only what is purported to be the view of any particular commentator, host or talking head. This has led to a generation of viewers that have taken sides instead of being adequately informed of the facts that will enable them to make up their own minds. Instead they are left with following this camp or that one causing a deepening divide in true civility and honest debate or sharing of opinion without fear of retribution or being called on the carpet for being "politically incorrect," disrespectful or a racist for holding a particular view that should be based on facts and not the opinion of a particular so-called news person.

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