Millions each day sit at the knee of modern day celebrities with 10-thousand dollar suits, multiple plastic surgeries, free limos to and from the studio, and vacation homes in The Hamptons. Is this where you get your view of the world, and the view you are told to have of yourself?
How did the media become a service (relaying what happened today) to an untouchable idol (to be worshipped and feared)? Did it all start with Walter Cronkite, who is quoted as saying, “The news is what I say it is.”?
Years ago, as a young student in post-graduate school, I sat in many university communication benchmark series in NY listening to then-current media gurus extolling how objectivity was a thought-process of the past generation, and that the new world was much too complex for today’s person to understand; thus it was the ordained task of the new media to do more than simply ‘relay’ information. The new media must explain the world and our place in it. It must teach. It must bond people together. It must create community. We were told that today’s person doesn’t want to be ‘informed’ as much as people want to be ‘formed’, and that the media’s high calling is to help us ‘form’ our very selves in this modern new world.
Wait a second. The guy who at this moment is munching a reuben sandwich on rye, pounding on a keyboard for the NY Times, all the while he’s checking his stock returns, is my new Solomon? My Paul the Apostle? My Augustine? My Billy Graham? My Dietrich Bonhoeffer? C.S. Lewis? MLK? Mother Teresa?
Wait a minute!
When did Dan Rather, Sam Donaldson and Barbara Walters (all visiting professors at my university for these Friday lecture series) – and their offspring of Katie Couric, Megyn Kelly, Anderson Cooper, Lester Holt, and all natty-dressed boys and girls receive the message from their Lord of the Universe that we needed a rabbi? A master? A spiritual guru?
This common view within the media – which has taken root and grown into a Little Shop of Horrors and Arrogant Gatekeepers – really has (then as now) more to do with how little the media thinks of our intelligence and our ability to discern than it has to do with their compassion for sorting out and making sense of this so-called new world.
What a ‘heady’ business!
“No thanks!”, as I told one of my professors years ago, and as I repeat to this day. Kelly’s platinum dyed ego is as equally huge as Rather’s grayed and tarnished one. I’ll learn what happened today the old-fashioned way. With my brain, discovery, multiple and diverse sources, and a sense of reasoning.
And as for ‘forming’, I think I’ll just trust the words of my grandfather, who – when talking about he elites of his day – said, “Remember, they put on their pants one leg at a time just like you and I do.”
“Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” ~ Matthew 15:14