Opinion

No New News Today

Some would say that I am a news junkie. Whatever. It is true that I watch the news every day because it changes every day—until recently. Twice this week, for the first time in my life, I have left my regularly watched news source early because it is the same as yesterday.

Each day, I see the same 1984 yearbook page of Virginia’s governor in blackface: “I’m sorry” and “Oh, no, that wasn’t me but I apologize for it being on my page.” This led to disclosures of youthful indiscretions by his potential replacements and an outpouring of righteous indignation ad nausea until there was barely any time left for commercials and deference to AOC’s Green New Deal. God forbid that any real news happened. Or did it?

We Have a Military Mission in Afghanistan

Squeezed out by excessive hand-wringing, moralizing and adoration of a babbling child proposing to end climate change and the extinction of humankind was the following headline from the Brookings website:

The US-Taliban negotiations breakthrough: What it means and what lies ahead” written by Vanda Felbab-Brown on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, in which she said, “After intense negotiations with the Taliban, the chief U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad announced yesterday that core elements of a deal to end the U.S. counterinsurgency operation in Afghanistan have been basically agreed. The disclosed core elements are not surprising: The Taliban promises Afghanistan’s territory will not be used by international terrorist groups and the United States agrees to withdraw its forces.”

For other news watchers who may not have been aware that we were still shedding blood and bucks over that pile of rocks, this has to be the number one story of the day, week or month, yet nary a mention where most people get their “news.”

For the even less informed, the U.S. has been a party to this conflict for almost 18 years, at a cost of a trillion or so dollars, depending on who is doing the accounting, resulting in 2,372 military deaths and 20,320 wounded. And you want me to be concerned with farting cows and this fiction called climate change?

Afghanistan is not the only story to fall into the black hole of mainstream media “news.” There is an eight-year-long war in Syria involving a confusing combination of the al-Assad regime, Russia, Turkey, the Kurds and, to a lesser extent thankfully, the U.S. “The Syrian Jihad” by Charles R. Lister unpacks a very complicated set of relationships where we learn that there are 1,500 separate Jihadi groups who alternately collaborate to take a territory and kill each other once accomplished. The book copyright was in 2015 and I have learned nothing about it since.

The Overton Window

But this discussion is not about the Middle East. It is about how our major carriers decide what they think you should know and discuss. By what criteria? One could start with the Overton window defined by Wikipedia: “The Overton window is the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse, also known as the window of discourse. The term refers to Joseph P. Overton, who claimed that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences. According to Overton’s description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.”

Image Credit: Center for New Zealand Progress

Red symbolizes Democrat or liberal thinking while blue represents the conservative and Republican view. Opposing arrows represent the continuous tug-of-war between the two sides to move their views into the mainstream of discussion.

News Brief

To catch you up on a couple of things you may have missed over the last few years, we’ll start with the The Hillary Omission and the Trump–Putin collaboration. This one is really hard to figure. No mention is ever made of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s intrusion into Russia’s 2012 election. In a Politico piece, Putin blames then- Secretary of State, Hillary, for the organization of groups protesting his candidacy. It also carries this quote, “He was very upset [with Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the top Russia official in Obama’s national security council from 2009 to December 2011 and then was U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback.”

In a Daily Caller article, Clinton’s predecessor at State, Condeleezza Rice said that Hillary’s criticism of the Russian election angered Putin and that he is an “eye for an eye” kind of guy.

“The New Tsar,” a Putin biography by Steven Lee Myers, discloses, “Three days after the vote [for parliament], speaking to organizers of his coming presidential campaign, he blamed the on-going protests on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had criticized the conduct of the election. ‘She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,’ he said. ‘They heard the signal and with the support of the State Department began active work.’ Even his use of the phrase ‘active work’ – a term he had learned in the KGB – underscored his belief that the protests were neither indigenous nor spontaneous, but rather an intelligence operation.”

The Climate Scam

From ClimateDepot.com is the following piece for consumption: “Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson: ‘I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side’.”

Also from Climate Depot folks and in the same context of the ongoing climate scam is an article titled “Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Dr. Ivar Giaever, Who Endorsed Obama Now Says Prez. is Ridiculous’ & ‘Dead Wrong’ on ‘Global Warming” which is complimented by “Green Guru James Lovelock reverses belief in ‘global warming’: Now says ‘I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy’.”

He goes on to condemn the green movement: “It’s a religion really, It’s totally unscientific.

On the jacket of Christopher Booker’s book, “The Real Global Warming Disaster,” is a quote by Professor Richard Lindzen, described as the world’s leading atmospheric physicist and climate scientist in 2007: “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”

Media Moralizing

Blackface? Gasp! Resign, be out of here! You are not fit to do anything except collect food stamps!

I graduated from high school in 1951 and one of my classmates performed a rendition of Al Jolson’s “Mammy.” He wore blackface and no one attached any racial significance to it because it was seen as simply theatrics to enhance a performance.

If white racism actually existed, you would never see anything other than a white person featured in a commercial.  These things cost huge bucks and the folks in charge of making them know their audience. Sure, there will always be a few people who hate anybody who doesn’t look like them, but they have no influence and are avoided by the rest of us.

Spitting out “racism” every time someone they don’t like has an accomplishment they can’t ignore has gone beyond tiresome. When Chuck Todd of NBC said no one who doesn’t support climate change can be on his program, who is the close-minded ignoramus?

If you have feelings about morality, find a church. If you are in the mood for imbecilic noise, turn on the TV.  If you want the news, the real news, buy a shovel because you really need to dig for it.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Wayne McLaughlin

Wayne McLaughlin is an OpsLens Contributor and US Army Veteran.

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