Monday, January 4, 2010

News, Democracy, and Other Things

Eck! Twenty minutes of reading responses about the whole Tiger Woods/Brit Hume thing, and I'm done. A few final words, before I move on.

1. I think it's best to let go of defending Buddhism, or Christianity, or any spiritual path. Wasted breath, and we only have so much time on this planet.

2. My main point in getting into this discussion was to point out that Fox News claims to be a "news organization" presenting "objective," "fair and balanced" reporting. Yet, if you spend even a single day watching them, it's clear that they are neither objective nor fair and balanced. If your major media outlets are so faulty (I don't think much of CNN or any TV news and the major newspapers have slumped terribly as well), then it's very hard to sustain an active, democratic society.

3. Along those lines, I completely disapprove of news outlets that claim to be journalism using their forum to promote religion of any kind. Many Americans are, rightly, dismayed when they hear about Middle Eastern nations where much of the news media is dominated by a promotion of Islam above all others. As such, those same standards should be applied at home, where they might actually have some impact.

Allowing employees like Brit Hume to tell others to convert to Christianity has no place in "the news," even if it was during an "opinion segment." There's a difference between saying "I am a Christian," and speaking about your religion in the media (which I have no issue with), and telling people to convert to a religion because it's the one that can offer you the help you need.

I'm sure I will return to the issue of how media impacts our lives because I fiercely believe that it's not only a political issue, but a quality of life, dare I say spiritual issue. Unless you've completely left society, and have moved to a cave or a remote monastery, the media will have some impact on your life, whether you like it or not. (I don't even have a TV and this whole story stumbled into my life, just to give you one example. I choose to ignore most, but sometimes you just have to comment on the dung brought to your doorstep.)


Ok, on to other things. I'd like to say thank you to those of you who have already sent me your survey questions for the upcoming article I'm writing in Tricycle magazine about online Buddhism and blogging. It's exciting to be able to continue a dialogue that sprang out of discontent in a more positive way. If you haven't yet finished the questions I sent you, please try and get them to me by the middle of next week. Thank you.

Finally, I'd just like to point out this post by Gregory over at his blog Turning Point Now. He writes very sweetly and sincerely about his teacher Paul Lynch, who has clearly had an impact on his life. Sometimes, it's easy to miss the simple acts of gratitude out there in the middle of all the madness. Thank you, Gregory, for sharing your gratitude with us.

p.s. The photo above is of a "fair and balanced" car.

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