Another week has passed and several primaries and caucuses have been held. We are still early in the process and yet after every event and poll there is someone in the press trying to read too much into each result.
Clinton, McCain, Romney, Huckabee and O'bama have already been written out of the running only to continue to be a force. The drive of the press to have the inside track and get the scoop is annoying.
Even as a member of the press, albeit, a very teeny fish in the much larger pond, I feel my job is to observe rather than dictate the news. Yes I write an opinion every week on a variety of subjects, but it is just that, an opinion.
I want you, the readers to just listen and then hold up my words to your own microscope and take what you see as helpful and discard the rest. It is your responsibility to make up your minds on each and every subject that the media reports on.
The scary thing for me though is just how influential the national media can be. Take last presidential election when Howard Dean screamed after winning a primary. One moment in time. Unscripted and meaningless. That was until the media played it over and over and analyzed it to death.
Now I don't know how Dean would have fared if that moment would not have happened. We will never know.
The front page photo of Hillary Clinton after she won the New Hampshire primary is another one of those weird moments that may change politics. The photo ran on almost every major newspaper across the country. I know that there had to have been hundreds of photos of her to choose to publish that night. Why that one with her mouth wide open and her teeth bared?
That photo is now a huge topic rather than her qualifications as well as the other candidates. How do we get so off track?
Is it us as a nation that has a such skewed sense of what is news that Brittany Spears being released from a mental facility is breaking news on C-NBC? How does that affect my life in a meaningful way? How does that help her?
Unless we are writing an opinion piece and clearly label it as such, it becomes our job to try and stay neutral in our words and photos as we report the events that unfold before us. It is not always an easy task as we too have biases we hold inside and bring to the table even as we try to separate them from the news.
You, as the public, need to keep that in mind as you read and watch the news each day. Evaluate each piece you read and watch whether you agree with the information or not.
Do not discard what someone says just because it is not what you want to hear. But just the same, don't blindly accept the opinions you already agree with.
My biggest compliments come from those who tell me, "I don't often agree with what you write, but you make me think."
So to everyone, be careful about what you read and see over the next little while. Don't jump to conclusions, just because you read it in print or heard it on the news. There is some great information to be learned as we go along, but be wary of the garbage as well.