We have important issues to face in the world today.

Among the issues most deserving of wide dissemination of information is the world population explosion creating food shortages and much worldwide poverty.  At a meeting last night, a professor and Department head at Oregon State University told us that in 40 years we will have a world population in excess of 10 Billion people.  With current technology and current resources, it would take the landmass of two earths to support that size population.  If you plan to live 40 more years, that should be a chilling thought.

We also have government failures like in Haiti where billions of relief dollars intended to help the Haitians heal from a violent earthquake instead finds its way into the pockets of a few powerful families.  To get almost anything done in Haiti involves bribing someone.  Or look at Greece where they are hopelessly in debt but unwilling, to a man (at least to a politician), to do anything serious about it.

Health issues remain highly important.  In the wealthy nations, we are arguing about how to deliver health care.  In the poor nations we are looking for ways to overcome waterborne diseases.  Rotary International is on the last legs of a 25 year program to cure the world of polio.  HIV/AIDS is still a serious threat to Africa.

Air and Water Pollution worsen our health and the health of our planet.  For the first time in modern history, it appears that children born today will have a shorter lifespan than their parents, largely due to pollution and cultural (crime, wars, poverty) issues.

Here in the United States, we face a huge loss of faith in government.  The value of the dollar diminishes daily as our Federal Reserve continues to print money.  Our national debt has grown to near $15 Trillion and few, if any politician is willing to make a serious proposal to reduce this number.  Unemployment is near 10% and has been for 3 years.  Inflation is rampant and yet our government continues to tell us that it is under control (as long as you don’t count fuel and food).  Life becomes more complex by the day as our Congress tries to solve every problem with another law creating more bureaucracies and more regulations.  Is the average person actually capable of counting all the taxes and fees he or she pays annually? Or the number of licenses and permits he or she must have to live a normal life?  And among our biggest health issues is drugs.  Doctors prescribe too many “magic pills.”  Illicit drugs drive crime and help overfill our prisons.

So look at the items listed above.  It is anything but comprehensive but lists serious matters with which man must deal or go the way of the dinosaurs.  Now, compare those items with what makes the headlines of whatever news media you choose to inform you of world and national news. Is Congressman Weiner’s indiscretion worthy of front page status?  Is it more important to know the details of a man’s unusual sexual communications or the facts of how much jail space is taken up by illegal immigrants?  Does the background of a starlet’s latest boyfriend rate more space and prominence than the cost of energy? It makes me wonder.   The fact is that we are better informed about Justin Bieber’s new hairdoo than we are about real inflation or real unemployment.  Is that the fault of the media, or, is it our fault?

My answer is that it is both.

We, the people, let the media get away with being unserious, biased, and lazy.  The media as a whole is caught up in a struggle to remain profitable in light of new sources of competition.  Most media personnel have forgotten the importance of objectivity to journalism.  Did you know that over 80% of people who identify themselves as “journalists” voted for Barrack Obama in 2008?  Or that Fox News personnel voted almost the opposite?  How does either pretend to write objectively about our President?  Or, do they even try?

The media, in general, are a woeful bunch, out to make a buck or to promote a cause or a candidate.  Yet, we continue to pay them to misinform us so who can we blame?  If I continue to buy the New York Times, am I not just furthering their divisive and one sided propaganda?

Until our media take responsibility for their actions, we will continue to be a misinformed populous making decisions that are flawed due to bad input.  I would like to see a newspaper that reported news on the news pages and opinion on the opinion pages.  Today you can hardly tell the difference.  Why can’t  a news agency print on its front page a list of its positions and biases?  Knowing that, we can responsibly use the data that follows.  Without it, we don’t know if the “news” story is a reporting of the facts or a massaging of the facts for some political purpose.

Until we stop patronizing the blatantly biased “news agencies” we will continue to be ill informed, will continue to make poor decisions, and will continue to decline as a nation of principal until we are truly a nation of popularity.

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