It’s the mantra of talk-show hosts, commentators and pundits when talking about elections: “A lot is at stake.”
That conclusion is usually presented in stentorian tones that make it sound as though the speaker has an inside connection to the import of the issues on varied ballots across the country.
Sometimes they’re right, and sometimes it’s just a ploy to give them some “red meat” content and grab headlines for themselves.
Never forget, ego plays a big part of media, especially today with the Internet and all its incarnations.
Whether radio, television and print are as powerful as they once were – trust me, they’re not – they’re still there and have diehard supporters.
I’ll level with you. I worked in TV news. I was a field reporter, investigative reporter and was a main news anchor for years. I loved doing it and believed I was doing a service for the audience by bringing them unbiased and important news of the day.
But gradually things shifted. Management and producers changed and so did the content of news programs. They became shallow, opinionated and incomplete. I soon realized that what I was doing was not important and, in fact, was a disservice to the public.
By my choice, I’m out of that aspect of the business now. I rarely watch television news, and I don’t miss it.
TV news has become show biz in the worst sense of the phrase and content has become even more shallow and superfluous than it was when last I was on camera.
I had many complaints about TV news then, but what was most discouraging was not what we reported but what news we didn’t report. In other words, what we left out.
Unfortunately, I had no control over that. Such decisions were made by producers and other executives, not the anchors.
I made the move into talk radio, and it was wonderful freedom, especially at the stations where I worked, KSFO and KGO in San Francisco.
Management hired excellent hosts of a variety of political persuasion and let us do our best work. They didn’t interfere as long as no one threatened the license. We were responsible for program content.
The only thing expected of us was that we did entertaining, professional, informational and fun radio. They wanted a good mix so the audience would stick with us, and it did.
KGO, a local station, was No. 1 for decades, a record that’s never been matched.
Judging by what’s happened to those two stations recently and to hundreds of other talk stations across the country – the “talk radio” that fans loved is gone.
Narrowing station ownership means that a couple of major corporations control virtually everything. They’ve changed formats, fired long-time hosts, put inexperienced people on the air in too many cases and hosts are virtually scripted as to what they can say and for how long.
It’s uninspiring radio geared to young people with short attention spans.
As TV news and talk radio disappeared so has the audience, so it’s almost impossible for politicians and consultants to understand the electorate.
They still do polls, which make it to the headlines in what’s left of the “news business” – but the truth is, most of those polls are about as valid as a $3 bill – which means, useless.
The problem is that this Election Day and the next presidential Election Day – are contests whose results truly will shape the future of this country.
I know – pundits say that all the time, but this time it’s as real as death.
In fact, depending on the results and who gets elected – or re-elected – it really could result in the end of the United States as conceived by the Founding Fathers, and an end to the Constitution and its’ protections of U.S. citizens.
We’re out of control on every level of government with agencies making policy, congressional elected officials ignoring their constitutional obligations and the president himself making law to his own agenda and actual law be damned.
As he so famously said, he has a pen and a phone.
What Obama didn’t say was, “What are you going to do about it?” But that’s what he meant.
What are we going to do about it?
Barack Obama said he would change the country, and he’s hell-bent on doing it.
Racism has reared its ugly head and is condoned and encouraged on all levels of government. The racist rhetoric from politicians and elites has destroyed all the racial amity that developed since the civil rights movement of the ’60s.
The end result is class envy and a balkanization of racial and religious groups fueled by a terrible economy affecting every age group.
Unfortunately, media virtually ignore this.
In addition to the economic hit, our medical care system is flailing under government control – note the inept handling of the Ebola contagion – international relations are fragile and fractured, and we’re more and more vulnerable to terrorism.
Obama’s government won’t acknowledge the terrorism enemy and enables their efforts by keeping our borders open, allowing illegal aliens into the country, giving them the rights and protections of citizens and has plans to simply give away our most precious possession as Americans – U.S. citizenship.
They’ve dumbed down education, harmed business with government interference and forced wages down with a flood of uneducated people.
Do the American people realize the importance of all this?
No, not if they depend on radio, TV, cable and most newspapers.
The Internet is the only salvation, as long as the government leaves it alone.
It’s a sad and dangerous reflection on what we’ve thrown away.
I’ll ask again, what are we going to do about it?
Media wishing to interview Barbara Simpson, please contact [email protected].