I feel confident we have the tools and epidemiological expertise to address and abate the concerns with the Zika virus. I am not so bolstered nor assured there are any strategies in place to deal with the intractable epidemic of character disorders that have permeated every facet of our culture. Industry, Commerce, Government and Religion are being subsumed by tabloid culture. Behavior aberrancy has found a way to step to the front of the line and assume the mantle.
Feeding this viral character flawed population of alleged leaders is the 24 hour cable news cycle that has devolved to a visual form of Peoples Magazine and a highly profitable cottage industry that promulgates the historical journalistic adage, “if it bleeds it leads.” The purity of the Fourth Estate is being invalidated by corporate news narcissism that supersedes the individual citizen and concedes its news selections to ratings based on the new advocacy journalism. Attribution of material and lasting truth are the casualties. This trend alone will erode our democracy and poison the pure intent of free speech.
So who is in charge of this dystopia of advance payment disinformation that can seldom be discerned to be accurate? No one! It is like smoking cigarettes; a bad habit that consumed a nation, with no one in charge. The bad karma part of this trend is that much of the media; print and broadcast, and the politico ghost writers, are violating the 8th commandment. To quote Ted Koppel, ” the Ten Commandments were not called the Ten Suggestions.” The upshot being, there are consequences, most of which have their genesis in Citizens United. Remember the Supreme Court decision about “Stolen Valor?” It simply stated that it is not illegal to lie. To many of these earlier mentioned character flawed leaders, this is a green light to confabulate stories, character assassinations and revisionist history. The current treatment of returning frozen assets to Iran is a prime example of scant attention to historical truth. How many of the common citizens know that these monies were for military equipment that we sold to them but never delivered as a result of the Regime, that we propped up, collapsing in 1979. We sold them F-16 and trained their pilots in Tucson, Arizona. Will you ever see any of this back story in news outlets? Washed away with the wave of currency over all aspects of history. Just one example of the frozen Fourth Estate. Cable news is on a feeding frenzy of controversy and have no interest in digging deeper to its origins. Ongoing controversy gains higher ratings than thoughtful researched narrative. There are exceptions, the Wall Street Journal. Time Magazine, Atlantic, Harpers, New Yorker, Hillsdale ,New Max, The New American,(John Birch Society), Mother Jones. But how many read these?
The phrase, Fourth Estate is credited to Edmund Burke (1729-1797) a British politician who once asserted,” there are three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters Gallery yonder there sat a Fourth Estate more important then they all.”
Our First Amendment to the Constitution grants freedom for the press and allows it to be the watchdog and source of vigilance for the commoner. Yet the bastions of investigative journalism that informs and elevates the collective consciousness is an empty desk in the daily news.
I return to my assertion, we have become a nation of polarized peoples who rely on news that violates the 8th Commandment every single day. Is it possible that this is antecedent to most other national maladies?
The 8th Commandment is thus, You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Admittedly, I was educated in Catholic schools, where we were instructed to engage in frequent “examination of conscience.” That meant giving attention to the nuances of the 10 Commandments. Some of those related to the 8th Commandment would be, deliberate lies, perjury, harming another’s reputation (slander or gossip), telling the faults of others (detraction), betraying trust, uncharitable criticism, rash judgements and false suspicions, deliberately misleading or deceiving and most important to this writer, is refusing to forgive.
In a nation that professes to be founded on Christian principles with a rising population of Evangelicals, should we not be reminded that these Commandments are not the 10 Suggestions.
Off to the Olympic Opening Ceremonies now. The perfect antidote to our news cycle.