KingMidget's Ramblings

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What I’ve Learned This Week

Cable news is pretty useless.

There are few things I watch on the boob tube these days.  News being one of them.  Because of my job, I’ve been involved in a number of issues that have showed up in the press.  I’ve learned that reporters frequently get just as much wrong as they get right.  As a result, I have no interest in wasting too much time watching the news.

Because of a couple of reasons I’ve spent more time watching CNN over the last couple of weeks than I have in a long time.  First, there’s the confluence of events that are riveting, at least to me — Ukraine, Israel-Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Ebola.  It’s all fascinating and could change any day, at any moment.  Second, my foot injury.

For a number of years, my morning routine has been to get up, read the paper, check email and spend a few minutes surfing the internet.  A couple of weeks ago when the Gaza Strip exploded I started turning CNN on as well while I sit in my recliner and go through the morning ritual.  ,

Because of my foot injury, which has more or less kept me relatively immobile for a week now (but it is getting better, most definitely getting better), I have spent a lot more time in my recliner, fixated on what is going on in the rest of the world.

So, I’ve watched a lot of CNN.  And here’s what I’ve learned.

It’s crap.  Hours can go by without any new information, without anything that resembles real reporting.  Just a bunch of spokespeople for both sides ranting their propaganda and not a whole lot of depth.

Here’s an issue I want to know about and I saw pretty much nothing that even approached this issue today.  Last night, a 72-hour ceasefire was announced.  This morning I woke to the news that the ceasefire lasted no more than 90 minutes because Hamas attached Israeli troops who were in the process of destroying a tunnel.  Two Israeli soldiers dead, one potentially captured.

What are the problems with this?  Well, for hours, in all of the breathless reporting, nothing new was reported.  They just kept cycling through the same set of facts and getting people’s reactions.  And then, there’s the fact that CNN anchors and reporters kept referring to the soldier has having been kidnapped.  No, that’s wrong.  Israel and Hamas are at war, when a soldier is taken by the enemy in a war, he has been captured and he is a prisoner of war.  He is not a hostage.  He has not been kidnapped.  This is just one subtle way in which the mainstream media plays into the propaganda machine that supports Israel’s position in all of this.

And, here’s the larger piece of this that supports the propaganda machine.  Apparently, the incident that blew apart the ceasefire was in or near Rafah.  This is a town that is on the Egypt-Gaza border about 4-5 miles from the Israel-Gaza border.  Israel claims that it is seeking to destroy the tunnels that pose a risk to its people.  The tunnels that allow Hamas militants to get into Israel.

Here’s the deal.  There is a whole network of tunnels in Gaza.  Most of them are used for smuggling goods across the Egypt-Gaza border.  There are actually people in Gaza who invest in “owning” a tunnel so they can make money on the goods transferred through their tunnel.  This is what the tunnel complex in Rafah is — a smuggling network, for goods and materials coming across the Egypt border.  Since Israel has a blockade around the Gaza Strip.  Do weapons make their way through these tunnels?  Most likely.  But, these are not tunnels that are used to attack Israel.

Why?  How can I be so sure?  Because, again, Rafah is at least four miles from the border with Israel.  The tunnels built to attack Israel are smack dab on the border.  Why would Hamas build a four or five mile long tunnel to get into Israel when it has a border with Israel that would allow it to build multiple tunnels of only one or two miles, or less, to get into Israel?

So, the question is this.  What is Israel doing in Rafah destroying a tunnel that has nothing to do with potential attacks into Israrel?  And the problem is this.  Nowhere in any of CNN’s reporting on this was this issue ever raised.  They seem to accept without question Israel’s right to destroy any tunnel in Gaza, no matter its purpose.  No matter its location. 

This isn’t real journalism.  It isn’t real reporting.  It’s breathless and now, but it’s useless.  It’s a disservice to anybody who wants a real presentation of what is going on there or anywhere else in the world.



18 responses to “What I’ve Learned This Week

  1. melissa nacinovich August 1, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    It’s the breathlessness that keeps people hooked to CNN’s repetitive stream of crap. If they’re that excited to talk about something then it must be good, right? probably not.
    I’m forced to endure CNN when we’re at my in-laws and I end up reading the scroll at the bottom of the screen. That’s where they put the good stuff…
    ; )

  2. sknicholls August 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I don’t watch the news anymore. I’d like to be an informed citizen, but I don’t trust it. I get whiffs of news on the internet and then surf to get different versions, do my own research to form my opinions.

    The last thing on CNN that really caught my interest was when an old boyfriend worth 28 million was apprehended naked in a Waffle House in Tennessee with a 19 year old cocaine addict he’d been dating.

    • kingmidget August 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      Yep. That’s basically what I do these days. Read the local paper. At work, read the LA Times or NY Times and then do a lot of internet surfing.

      Fascinating story about the ex-boyfriend.

  3. Pingback: Closing The Doors… | The Literary Syndicate

  4. Trent Lewin August 2, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    What happened to your foot? I been out of commission for a bit. Yes, CNN kills me. When I’m travelling in the States, I watch it. Wake up, some story is on. Finish shower, same story with same reporting. Come back from work to the hotel room. Same story. There always seems to be an agenda.

    By the way, I’m with you on Israel/Hamas etc. I think they’re all wankers and should just take it easy.

    • kingmidget August 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      My foot … plantar warts. Two of them. I got them more than a year ago. Didn’t realize what they were. They didn’t hurt, didn’t get bigger, so I let them go. Went to the doctor about them a couple of months ago. Tried over-the-counter treatment. Didn’t work. So, last Friday, the doc put a blistering agent on the warts, forming very large blisters on the bottom of my foot. Then on Monday she removed the blisters. Forming a large open wound on the bottom of my foot. A lot of pain involved in both the blistering and the removal of the blisters. Most of this week I have spent with my foot elevated to avoid the throbbing pain that comes from being vertical. Today it is much better.
      CNN — as I said, I’m not much of a news watcher so I never realized just how bad it had gotten. It’s very, very bad.
      Israel/Hamas — all I want to see is some balance in the reporting and opinions. Far too many people in this country (including those I share a roof with) believe that Israel is incapable of doing anything wrong. Last night, I begged my family to at least acknowledge that Israel isn’t perfect in this and none of them could do it.

      • Trent Lewin August 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

        I hear you about the balance in the reporting. Media is so powerful and yet all-too-biased… it’s sad.

        Hope the warts fade. That sounds awful. By the way, I still owe you a version of the stories we started with Shards, I’m off for a bit and will work on them in next couple of days.

      • kingmidget August 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm

        No worries. I’ve been in a writing funk although I’m working on something this afternoon.

      • Trent Lewin August 2, 2014 at 5:33 pm

        Looking forward to reading it, if you’re posting. I’ve been barely keeping my head above water, like two posts in the last month, all spare time into writing whatever delusions are ailing me. But looking forward to completing those two stories with you and Shards.

      • kingmidget August 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

        I’m working on one of my novels in progress. Nothing to post at the moment.

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