Monday, February 27, 2012

The Dumbing Down of America

Americans are being trained by many around us to care about things that don't matter.  I live in Southern California, and today's main news story is that we have a major winter storm coming.  In fact, we are under storm watch! The details of this story that consumes about 20% of our local newscasts are that the storm may dump as much as one tenth of an inch of rain and we may experience some cold drizzle!  That's the biggest story on the news here!

Newscasters are motivated by what gets them ratings.  I get that, and Storm Watch works.  What they're not doing is boring us with the details about why our fuel prices are rising or why the U.S. is losing ground on the world leadership front.  Those don't produce ratings, and they also don't fit the political perspectives that many on the news media have.

What would happen if someone did an in-depth study on the reasons behind why our fuel prices are rising to historic levels?  They'd find it could be fixed by the public putting pressure on our political system to allow domestic drilling and require a high percentage of domestic oil be sold in the U.S.

What about the world leadership front?  They'd find it's the policy decisions our politicians are setting that are driving us into debt and that are causing world opinion to lose respect for the U.S.

When was the last time you saw something on the news about these or about how many millions are stolen from credit card users because they don't reconcile their monthly statements?  Merchants now ask us if we want receipts in a supposed effort to save the environment.  They're really cutting their overhead, while at the same time teaching consumers to not reconcile their statement (how can they without receipts?).  (This is also the real reason behind why hotels no longer change bedding daily.)

The news could serve the public if it wanted to.  It would mean going against newscasters' political perspectives, though, and most aren't willing to do that.  And their supposition that it would drop their ratings is false!  Americans are hungry for truth and for help.

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