I have often thought of what a terrible death the ritual suicide of Hari Kari must have been. It was practiced by the Japanese samurai or it was issued as a judgment in lieu of the death penalty after one had committed a horrible crime. For those who are not familiar with this act, it is the self-disembowelment of a person using a ritual knife. Horrible thought! But we are now watching this act take place in American life.
In days gone by, the national news media consisting of the major networks and now some of the large cable entities, was trusted to give their listeners the straight of a story. People used to gather around the radio to hear trusted men catch them up on the pertinent stories of the day. Later on, the television became the major tool for dispensing the day’s news. Now, I am not so gullible as to think that people didn’t have somewhat of an agenda in those days but when compared to this day and time, they were pretty clean of such a charge. There was not as much commentary passed off as news as there is today. My feeling is, “just give me the news and keep your personal agenda and commentary to yourself.” The major networks are so obviously liberal that it pains one. It seems that it is impossible for them to tell the utter truth on any given issue. Certain major newsmen now think it is their job to pass along their personal commentary as news. I have stopped letting them irritate me to the core. I simply haven’t let the major network outlets into my home in quite a while and the result is that I haven’t missed a thing except the irritation of having my intelligence insulted.
The media is doing a job on itself that no one else could do. It is committing Hari Kari. The big losers in all the political posturing and prevarications we currently endure is the press including some major newspapers and the major broadcast networks. The “media” as a whole has killed its own credibility very effectively. The trusted source of information of the past is no more. Never again will the major networks plus CNN and MSNBC be able to pass themselves off as professional, credible sources. They have become like a prostitute; selling themselves for a cheap price and throwing away the credibility gained in the past. They have thrown away their credibility and it can never be rebuilt.
To be honest, I am also fatigued with the Fox Network the “fair and balanced” network. What we have with them is too many people talking at the same time. They get about three young blue-eyed blonds who were not alive when Elvis died to tell us what we should be thinking on a subject while they sound like chip monks chirping over each other to make some point that is usually lost in the cacophony and confusion of the moment. And then there’s Bill O’Reilly and Hannity who ask someone a question and then interrupt them about six words into their answer telling them what they should be saying in an effort to direct the person’s answer in the direction they want it to go. The arrogance of O’Reilly is beyond the pale. Someone told him he knows everything and he believed them. I recently decided that life is too short to allow such to make me miserable and upset all the time. One’s nerves get so raw that a good night’s sleep hardly solves the problem. Many times I have awakened ready to bite the head off of a twenty penny nail. I think that the reason people in society are so short tempered and irritated is that they feed themselves the dry husks of all this commentary that is passed off as news. It suddenly dawned on me that the millions made by these “news” people is made possible if they can keep us irritated. They know that people generally don’t get upset with good news. It is human nature to gravitate toward the dark, tragic and untruthful. The way to keep people listening and thereby increasing their ratings is to keep them irritated. The greater the ratings the more the company can charge for commercials and the more the personality can make. My wife and I decided that we were not going to let Bill O’Reilly, Hannity and the likes of Megan Kelly (ain’t she so brilliant and cute!) make us miserable any longer. So, we quit watching. Guess what? We suddenly felt better! We were less irritable and calmer in our demeanor. Guess what else? We didn’t miss a thing! We somehow kept up with things without being irritated to death. Guess what happened in addition to feeling better? We didn’t spend as much time in front of the tube absorbing all that information being passed off as news. There is a big difference in news and information and most of what is thrust upon people as news is no more than information about which one can do nothing.
With all of this occurring, something else is taking place: The formally trusted news media is committing Hari Kari and it ain’t pretty. They are convincing people that they are no more than purveyors of a type of entertainment being passed off as news. It used to be that a famous news man on a formally trusted network would say “and that’s the way it is” at the end of his newscast. Today what they imply is “and that’s the way I want you to think about it.” Yup, the news media of today is losing the respect of the populace as they perform a horrible thing on themselves: Hari Kari.
William F. Harrell