Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why Do I Bother?

This morning I woke up early as usual, trying but failing to find a comfortable sleeping position, so I thought I'd listen to the radio and get some news. I used to like to listen to NPR for news in the morning, but the last few years they've been so unbearably biased against that icky, icky war in Iraq and that poopy-head President Bush that it's just been impossible to listen to them. But I don't like getting my news solely from AM radio stations either, because unlike NPR they have more of a sound-bite format that doesn't give me the depth of reporting that I really like to have. (Newspapers are totally out for me because an open newspaper seems to be an invitation for a small child to dance in the middle of it, and I haven't yet found an internet news outlet that I really like.)

I can stand a little spin, if it isn't so egregious that I quit just rolling my eyes and start talking back at the radio. The kids think I'm nuts when I do that.
"Who are you talking to, Mommy?"
"The guy on the radio, he just said something really outrageous that's only half true."
"Can the guy on the radio hear you?"
"Ummmm.... no, sweetie, he can't."
"Then why are you talking to him?"
I bet Sonshine thinks Sean Hannity can hear me, though. God knows I talk to him enough...

Anyway, this morning I decided to listen to the radio. I started with the AM radio station and their early-early-morning news program. They had a story about the airstrikes in Pakistan that may or may not have killed al-Qaeda's #2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Important news, to be sure. But they they started going off about how illegitimate it might be to go into Pakistan and make air strikes without telling them first, even though (per their own report!) Pakistan had already given us blanket permission to do so. Then they started talking about who in the CIA would have made the decision to strike, which is good to know. But they turned it into some sort of accusation that President Bush and Porter Goss weren't personally making every tactical decision in the War on Terror. Well, DUH, people. You can't run anything as complicated as a supermarket without letting your underlings make important decisions, let alone a whole entire government. I could just imagine them breathlessly reporting on the goings-on at a supermarket: "Unnamed sources tell us that important decisions about how much milk to put out on store shelves are not being made by the president of Associated Foods, nor even by the store manager, but by the dairy manager, who is just a few levels up from the checkout clerk! These decisions affect our milk supply and may result in no skim milk being available during the week it's on sale!"

So I tuned into the local NPR station, hoping I'd find something better, something at least a little more professional. Well, I did find something that was a little more professional-- they had a report on a lieutenant who recently died in Iraq. They talked about his family and the mission he was on, and how he went back to Iraq for a second tour. Good, good, good; all facts. But then the focus of the story shifted from what the guy did to how he maybe might have felt about the war in Iraq. They talked to a relative, who said that he was torn between a second tour and staying home with his family (who wouldn't be?) and was clearly against the war and projecting some of that onto the deceased soldier, as people tend to do when their loved ones die. But they didn't talk to any of his men who would have been with him closer to the end of his life, or to his widow, who would have known him better. It was pretty obvious from their choice of sound clips that they were desperately trying to make it sound like the guy was vaccillating about whether to go for a second tour, and that for some odd and random reason he happened to be leaning toward going when he died. That he actually decided to go back to Iraq for a second tour and actually went back seemed, according to this report, to be an oversight that he would have immediately corrected if he'd only gotten the right piece of dirty information about President Bush.

They're trying, you can tell. They're trying to represent many different points of view. The problem seems to be that they just don't understand mine and all the ones like it. I get the impression that trying to get them to understand would be like trying to reason with a teenage girl at the wrong time of the month. (I've been a teenage girl, so I know how futile an exercise it is.) Anyone who's tried that knows that there's just no point in bothering to try.