Editor: Shouldn’t we be more skeptical than we are about opinions — instantly expressed — often profoundly uninformed? We are invited to form opinions by hearing and listening to those who work at convincing us of their opinions.
How about the folks who were vehemently opposed to the Affordable Care Act for fear of the government tampering with their Medicare? Just recently, anti-Obama opinion soared about the rescue of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl even though the vast majority of Americans believed firmly that we Americans bring our soldiers home — it’s the American thing to do.
What is the point of all the opinionating? I can only guess. It is political: your right-wing opinion v. my left-wing opinion. Perhaps even more cynically, it makes for theatrical pseudo-reporting, energizing and entertaining audiences.
What it does not do is give us the facts and context we need to be informed and engaged citizens. It’s a mockery of a free press; we are asked to be amused, swayed and shocked rather than enlightened. I recall years ago when Disney purchased ABC and a commentator in Washington reported that memos addressed to her subsequently read “Dear Cast Member.” She was not amused.
Many smart people think they get their best news on Comedy Central. They get their best laughs — these irony-pundits are clever to a fault. But the Bowe Bergdahl affair isn’t funny.
The opinions of President Obama’s decision to pull Bowe out from imprisonment and possible death by his captors — the Taliban — ranged from faint praise to impeachment. Never mind that the opinions came before the information that he was increasingly threatened as we prepare our pullout from Afghanistan and that secrecy was an important condition for the exchange.
READERS OF THE TIMES-TRIBUNE
Publication Date: June 10, 2014