The Liberal Media (those bumper stickers make me laugh)

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Yeah, newspaper people are so liberal it’s scary . . . especially if you’re Donald Trump and have something to hide.

One of my most prized possessions from college is a T-shirt emblazoned with a quote from a student reader of The Daily Nebraskan: “Crazed radicals . . . light years to the left of liberal.”

On the pocket, a crazed liberal.
On the pocket of my T-shirt, a proud member of what Trump would call “the lying media.”

At the time, that pretty much summed up my youthful ideology. My fellow editors and I gladly embraced what was supposed to be an insult. We loved it so much that we had it printed on our annual T-shirts. Crazy college kids!

My daughter, now in college, has never really seen this side of me, the one who walked alongside — with notebook in hand — protesters who marched from campus to the state capitol in 1984 as they fought exorbitant tuition hikes. Thirty years later, I’ve moved just left of center, declaring myself an Independent. But my daughter is starting to catch some glimpses of her former fiery mother. She should have known this was coming, as I’ve been on a rant for a while about the death of democracy if our free press goes away. What else would you expect from a career journalist?

Publishing the truth to the masses has been a noble endeavor, and I have been proud to be a part of the nation’s watchdogs. You can bet news, politics and social change were a part of daily conversations as I grew up. My parents took two newspapers every day. Dinner conversations were lively — and still are, as I’ve brought my own kids up this way. They were always prepared for a pop quiz on current events. When they told me they were much more aware of the world than many of their classmates, I asked why they thought that was. “Oh, they say they never talk about this stuff at home. I think we’re the only ones who get the newspaper.”

My freelance work with a major newspaper dried up recently. This newspaper was the pinnacle of my career, a place that working journalists used to dream about landing a job. Now it is struggling to survive, like every newspaper in America.

When my neighbor told me he canceled his subscription because it was too pricey at $20 a month, I blurted back, “How much is your democracy worth?” I’m sure he thought I was nuts, but I was dead serious.

I had this same conversation with my nephew, a millennial with two college degrees who doesn’t subscribe to a newspaper. His response? “I never thought of it that way.” You and your entire generation, I’m sure. After Donald Trump won the election, my nephew asked me how he could make a difference. I told him to start by subscribing to a newspaper, and spread the word to his friends.

I knew the day was coming when the internet — the Wild West of blurred lines between fact and fiction — would wreak havoc, not only as I watched my own career shift and my colleagues scatter as newspapers gasped as they drowned in red ink, but as our society lost track of the role of a free press. Without the search for truth, any politician or businessman could get away with anything unquestioned.

Enter Trump. Our new commander in chief and his minions take daily swats at the media. It pains me to watch my noble profession bullied by spewers of “alternate facts,” as the masses take anything they say at face value and follow whatever spin they’ve been shoveled. Now, more than ever, we need our media. People, we need to THINK.

Ever since high school when I first saw pictures of Nazi concentration camps, I’ve wondered how I would have reacted as they rounded up those poor people. I hope I would have been brave enough to face the fallout. Life is not worth living if you have no integrity. These thoughts are certainly at the forefront these days.

My daughter, who wanted to save the polar bears in first grade, recently participated in the Women’s March on Austin, Texas. Social issues have been on her radar for years, and we often discuss standing up for what we believe in.

She asked me if I were in singer Gerard Way’s comic book story, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, would I be a post-apocalyptic citizen who goes along with the ruling BLI Corporation’s control by accepting their mood-adjusting medicine to keep me from rebelling, or would I be more like Doctor Death Defying, who lives in the desert and shares illegal radio information with the rebels? She was pleased when I told her, without a doubt, the latter. I am, after all, a journalist who seeks the truth.

For the first time in years, I am heartened by our own nation’s response to an oligarchy and its ilk that wants control, with no working press to report it.

We must keep pushing against the machine.

I leave you with these lyrics from Way’s Sing, also performed on Glee:

From his album:

Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Sing it out
Boy, you got to see what tomorrow brings
Sing it out
Girl, you’ve got to be what tomorrow needs
For every time that they want to count you out
Use your voice every single time you open up your mouth

Sing it for the boys
Sing it for the girls
Every time that you lose it sing it for the world
Sing it from the heart
Sing it till you’re nuts
Sing it out for the ones that’ll hate your guts
Sing it for the deaf
Sing it for the blind
Sing about everyone that you left behind
Sing it for the world
Sing it for the world

Sing it out, boy, they’re gonna sell what tomorrow means
Sing it out, girl, before they gonna kill what tomorrow brings
You’ve got to make a choice
If the music drowns you out
And raise your voice
Every single time they try and shut your mouth

Sing it for the boys
Sing it for the girls
Every time that you lose it sing it for the world
Sing it from the heart
Sing it till you’re nuts
Sing it out for the ones that’ll hate your guts
Sing it for the deaf
Sing it for the blind
Sing about everyone that you left behind
Sing it for the world
Sing it for the world

Cleaned up, corporation progress
Dying in the process
Children that can talk about it,
living on the railways
People moving sideways
Sell it till your last days
Buy yourself a motivation
Generation Nothing,
Nothing but a dead scene
Product of white dream
I am not the singer that you wanted
But a dancer
I refuse to answer
Talk about the passer
Ruling for the ones who want to get away

Keep running!

Sing it for the boys
Sing it for the girls
Every time that you lose it sing it for the world
Sing it from the heart
Sing it till you’re nuts
Sing it out for the ones that’ll hate your guts
Sing it for the deaf
Sing it for the blind
Sing about everyone that you left behind
Sing it for the world
Sing it for the world

We’ve got to see what tomorrow brings
Sing it for the world
Sing it for the world
Girl you got to be what tomorrow needs
Sing it for the world
Sing it for the world

2 thoughts on “The Liberal Media (those bumper stickers make me laugh)

  1. Nice. When i was a teenager, I used to get up very early on Sundays to have the paper all to myself. I had it spread all over the floor. Good times. I don’t know what to say to people who tell me they don’t read a paper. don’t get the concept. if all you watch is tv you are missing most of the news. What is going on in your square mile??? does that not affect you?? Grab a copy of every free paper you see in your hood. There is something going on there. This is how we got to this point. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

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