Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sound Bite Mentality

To my son Tommy,

I was planning on writing to you about power.  I was going to suggest to you how if you are ever given power over people it comes with a whole bunch of responsibility and scrutiny. It all stemmed from a recent viral video that the media put out from a town hall in Towson discussing a new education change called "Common Core"

I am not here to debate common core or the merits or lack there of for the system.  But one parent at the public forum evidently was quite passionate about it and had a few "questions".  Instead of working within the framework set up for the meeting, this guy decided to break from the norm and exercise his first amendment right of free speech.  When he continued to be a disturbance to the proceedings, the powers that be exercised their right to remove him so they could continue to peacefully assemble.  An off duty police officer moonlighting as a security guard removed him. And someone caught it on video.  So far just about everything is okay, people exercising their rights and such, but the guy was arrested and handcuffed and faces a combined $5000 in fines and 10 years 6 months in prison which is where I took offense.  And it may seem that the police report includes a falsehood to justify the arrest.

The video shown to cause such outrage has been edited so much by different media outlets to serve their own purpose.  It is a common practice nowadays by many media outlets to pick out what they want to hear or  what they want you to hear or see or what they can use to get ratings to sell toothpaste (which is what it is all about).  It happens all the time from what this politician says to that politician to NFL game clips to the pope to you tube videos of common people to just about everything.  You can't believe what you see anymore without researching.  You need unedited versions to feed your curiosity and then make informed decisions on your own and not be led to whatever conclusion the "editor" wants you to reach.  I jumped to a judgement and for that I am kind of ashamed.  I call so many people out for jumping to judgement without the facts but this video caught my sensibilities of right or wrong square in the eyes and it didn't really matter at that time how edited it was.  I fell for for the "sound bite" mentality and I should know better.

Though I think the whole thing warrants looking into, and though I have no clue as to what the rules are for moonlighting with a badge, I re-learned how easily it is to jump to conclusions and get yourself all passionate.  If it weren't for some level headed minds pushing me to ask a few questions and perhaps watching some over the top reactions on twitter that made me look calm, I probably would still be in quite the uproar.  As it turns out I have recently been trying to diversify where I get my news so I can be a bit better informed.  But just know that no matter how diversified your news outlets are, no matter how educated and even minded you think you are, it still is easy to get caught up in the passion without the logic.  It can start fights and wars and false arrests and all kinds of mess when highly charged negative emotions lead the way.  What is tough in your life is to take a step back and say maybe there is something more to this and keep an open mind to all the facts.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

No comments:

Post a Comment