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December 15, 2017

Don’t Give In To Outrage Fatigue

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I’m suffering from outrage fatigue. Between gun-toting mass murderers, hurricanes, wildfires, health care sabotage, shameless racism, and the serial rape and harassment of young women, I feel sick at heart. And I’m not sure what to do about it.

I guess there’s no choice but to muster up a little more outrage. If you love this country, and I do, what other choice is there?

You may remember our former half-governor, once she mounted the national soapbox, screeching about the “lamestream media.” Why? She didn’t know much, but she knew she didn’t like many of the stories about her and her family. Turns out those were the good old days.

These days, our equally ignorant president has come up with his own oh-so-clever insult — “fake news” — but the message and reason for the message are exactly the same. He attacks the messengers in the hope of distracting some people from reports of his meanness and incompetence. Should we have expected anything less from the Genital-Grabber-in-Chief?

Now that he’s the second most powerful man on earth, he’s escalated the war on the news media to a whole new level.

This week he tweeted, “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked.” You can be excused if you assumed he was talking about Fox News. In fact, he was referring to NBC.

Fox is his refuge from “actual news.” Apparently he has a second office there. I understand why he should feel comfortable at his very own Pravda, the network created by a serial sexual harasser, who’s biggest star was a serial sexual harasser. (Both were canned when — wait for it — their sordid histories were made public by the news media!)

Where else to go to flee “fake news” than the network that claimed for eight years that the last president was born in Africa, or Mars, or anywhere other than America.

Of course the president’s tweet about license revocation was real fake news, since the networks’ “license” is contained in the U.S. Constitution. Here’s the relevant portion:

“Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of THE PRESS . . .”

This, the First Amendment to the Constitution, is not subject to revocation by any president, no matter how badly he wants to keep news from reaching the public. At least not yet.

I thought Republicans — and he is sort of a Republican, if you squint and look at him in just the right light — were comfortable with the free market. Shouldn’t readers and viewers be the ones who decide whether they will get their news from Fox or CNN, from the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times?

One of the stranger moments flowing from the historical (and historic) ignorance of our Reality-TV-star-turned-swamp-tender was a lament for the gold old days of the Fairness Doctrine. Apparently no one told him it was the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to present politically balanced content, that led to today’s hate radio and the blatant partisanship of Fake, I mean, Fox News.

Most of the time, I can’t watch television news. I don’t have TV reception on my little island. If I could, I wouldn’t watch Fox News because, as a rape survivor, I’m not comfortable with anchor-perverts. That’s the free market.

A Republican lawmaker in Indiana has a different idea. He proposed a bill to require Indiana journalists to get a government-issued license to practice. Specifically, the state police would decide who could be a journalist. It’s not an original idea. Nazi Germany had a roughly similar approach.

We have other precedents. The French historian and philosopher Voltaire sat in the Bastille for a year for daring to satirize an aristocrat. The Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn criticized the Soviet government in a private letter and got 10 years in the gulag.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably an American citizen. Go read the First Amendment again. I’m not just talking about my freedom to say what I think. I’m talking about your freedom too — a cornerstone of our or any democracy. If you disagree, try to name one democratic country where the police decide who can practice journalism.

This paper, the one you’re reading right now, includes the voices of a lot of people with very different views. If you chose to, it could include yours.

I don’t agree with everything on these pages. Hell, I don’t even agree with everything I’ve written on these pages. Why? Because I’ve gotten new information and changed my mind. That’s our strength. And that’s why we should reject any attempt to license, or “unlicense,” journalists under the pretense of “fake news.”

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4 Responses to “Don’t Give In To Outrage Fatigue”
  1. Zyxomma says:

    I’m not giving in to outrage fatigue. RESIST.

  2. juneaudream says:

    Scott Pruitt has 2 children. As they enter the..rest of the world..one would imagine..they will form..opinions..from their life experience. Then..there will be..grandchildren..at some point in time. I am..liking the visual..of our hardshell Baptist..in fluffy slippers and a care center meal tray..as his progeny..tour Alaska..and see the boiling cesspool..which the pebble mine ..will have created. No fish..ramshackle villiages..within..the area. Too late to fix anything..remotely..back to..what it was..but..can you just imagine..the childrens eyes..as they read the history..and see what the totally..noncreative political estab. ..DID..to..THEIR world? The educated..WILL.. fight..for the rebuilding..of many of Americas..damaged landscapes, created by.. republican..stupiditys. Look forward good people..it is..the long game..we must focus upon.

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