Is all news created equal?

(Venice CA) After traveling from Berkeley CA down to Los Angeles, this columnist sent an e-mail out to the posse to let them know that things went as planned.  We attempted to use humor to convey the message and wrote:  “L. A. is just like Berkeley only bigger with ocean beaches.” 

Cities in close proximity can have very different personalities.  Pasadena and Santa Monica are both in the same county.  They both have the same state level politicians.  They both are served by the same large members of the media.  The locals watch the same local TV channels.  The audiences for various radio shows in have fan/listeners in both cities.  The Los Angeles Times has a large number of subscribers in both cities.  It would be ludicrous to say that Pasadena and Santa Monica are twin cities. 

Although the two are only about thirty miles apart, on a sunny summer day there can be a noticeable difference in temperature and that can have a psychological impact.  It can be “June Gloom” cloudy along the beach in Santa Monica in early summer while Pasadena may concurrently be sweltering in a hot sunny cloudless day.

The smaller local papers cover different issues.

The two cities each have rival NPR outlets.

Santa Monica College and Pasadena City college are both highly regarded, but some Santa Monica citizens consider UCLA local while in Pasadena, that school is “out on the Westside.”

If these two relatively close cities in California can be distinctly different, it doesn’t take a sociologist to figure out that Kalgoorlie in Western Australia is quite different from being in the Kings Cross Section of Sydney. 

It is extremely convenient for anyone who wishes to manipulate the citizens of a country to use the lowest common denominator factors to influence them. 

Hence if there was some hypothetical fiend (Auric Goldfinger?), who wanted to subtly manipulate voters, would find it efficient, economical, and effective to use a generic pundit who worked on listeners all over the country on a basic level such as inciting jealousy.  It would be easier to hire one guy to magically (like the miracle of the loaves and fishes) appear on a multitude of local radio stations around the country and tell all of his listeners that the unions were exploiting them as taxpayers.  If a gullible audience became convinced that something unfair was afoot, then it would be easy to push them further and put it in more graphic terms:  “The unions are stealing from your tax dollar.”  All people in the Congressional Districts across the three time zones could be urged to call their Congressional representative and urge them to put a “stop to this robbery.”

If the hypothetical bad guy, Goldfinger, with ulterior motives, and the imaginary ubiquitous voice from the radio were able to bust unions so that Goldfinger could more easily reduce the pay of his workers and bank more money . . . oh well, <I>caveat emptor</I> should explain that bit of diabolical manipulation.  Wouldn’t it be über-ironic if the voice was a union member decrying unions?  Didn’t your grandmother always say that “All’s fair in love, war, and politics”? 

Let’s imagine the USA as an old West Saloon.  (Skimpy’s Bar in Kalgoorlie had the old fashioned double swinging doors when we were there in 2008.  When was the last time you saw a tavern entrance like that in California?)  Suppose someone plays cards in the saloon and suspects there has been some cheating going on to fleece the victim of all his cash.  The sheriff asks you to tell him what happened and how it was done.  He can’t arrest a winner just because you lost.  You complain to the Preacher and he says you shouldn’t have been gambling in the first place.  You complain to the editor of the Tombstone Epitaph (or whatever the daily paper is named) and the editor says: “When you have a choice of printing the truth or the legend, always go with the legend.”  America, you’ve been had and the general opinion in the corporate owned media is that you should “suck it up” like a man.

You’ve been fleeced of your money.  No one wants to hear your sad lament.  You should have known better before you sat down at the poker table, eh?

The streets are filling up with homeless people asking for donations.  Jobs are getting very scarce.  Banks just make too much money from foreclosures so stopping them from doing more just doesn’t make sense to them.  Look into foreclosures more closely and you will see that they make excessive amounts of money by foreclosing and asking them to give up a big profit just isn’t logical.  If the home’s owner stops making payments how can they make money on that?  Did Houdini really make the elephant disappear?  Check it out, slick, just ‘cause you don’t know how to do it doesn’t mean the trick can’t be performed.

Why would conservative talk show hosts belong to a union and tell listeners that the political impasse in Wisconsin is the fault of unions?  Check it out, slick, just ‘cause you can’t explain it doesn’t mean it ain’t happening.

Folks in Los Angeles don’t like the joke about how they are like a bowl of granola (it’s full of nuts fruits and flakes).  Folks in New York City don’t like other people imitating a Brooklyn accent.  People in flyover country (everything “down there” for people who do business in both L. A. and New York City) don’t even like to hear their area referred to in that flip manner.

When a young man from Western Australia said he was from Perth, we asked if he ever went to hear rock music at Mojo’s in Fremantle.  When he realized that this columnist knows the subtle difference between those two cities (Fremantle is to Perth as the ‘bu (ie. Malibu) is to Los Angeles), he was happy to admit he was a Fremantle citizen. 

The same thing happened more recently when a young lady raising funds for Green Peace in Berkeley had to admit that Fremantle is separate and distinctly different from the bigger city farther up the Black Swan River.  Being a port city, Fremantle is to Perth as Long Beach is to Los Angeles. 

People who live New York City are more likely to enjoy Sydney more than Fremantle, but that doesn’t mean that New York City and Sydney are “twins separated at birth” similar.  Nor should Australia be considered “Canada without snow.” 

If you think different cities are alike and you think that standup comedians spouting Republican talking points are Edward R. Murrow clones, we double dog dare you to get some news from a foreign based member of the media.  <a href =http://www.spiegel.de/international/>Der Spiegel</a> and <a href =http://www.dw-world.de/>Deutsche Welle</a> both have English language web sites.  Do you really think that conservative talk show hosts (who reportedly are union members) want you to get your news and information from any other source?  If they don’t want you to do some “comparison shopping,” then you have to also recall that Germans during World War II were forbidden (under penalty of death) from listening to foreign radio stations.

If they don’t want “comparison shopping” for news, then you gotta ask yourself another question – No, not:  “Do I feel lucky?” – you should ask “Why would they do that?”  At this point in American history, you won’t risk death by dialing up some other point of view and to see what they have to say.  What have you got to lose by taking the dare?

Do you think that the German voters passed a ballot initiative to give up that freedom?

Adolph Hitler, in <I>Mein Kampf</I> wrote:  “ . . . never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”  Doesn’t Uncle Rushbo unfalteringly follow that advice?   

Now the disk jockey will play Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York,” and “Chicago,” and Randy Newman’s “I love L. A.”  We have to go for yet another walk on Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach.  Have a “don’t do as I do; do as I say” type week.  This has been the World’s Laziest Journalist reporting live from Venice CA.

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