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I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.
   —  Galileo Galilei
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On This Day In:
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry
If there’s no one else better than yourself, you haven’t looked hard for someone else…  and haven’t looked hard at yourself.
   —  Robert Half
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On This Day In:
2015 Fear No Evil
2014 And Nothing Can Be As Tragic As…
2013 Your Tax Dollars At Work
2012 Historically Unacceptable
2011 Niners Are NFC West Division Champions!!
The Essence Of Leadership
The greatest of all weaknesses is the excessive dread of appearing weak.
   —  Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
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On This Day In:
2015 That Burns
2014 Hey, I Resemble That Remark… (4!)
2013 Sit, Put, Until…
2012 Lessons For My Son
2011 Reaching The Right Audience
2010 Christmas Trees and Profession of Faith

Balance The Truth

Many of today’s public affairs programs reflect the polarized political climate and are overtly partisan to entertain listeners and viewers whose minds are already made up.  People no longer tune in to a program for a detached assessment of political matters; they tune in to have their own biases affirmed.  A Murrow program inviting an audience to think might not fare well today.
Morrow never had to put up with corporate bean counters to the degree that today’s broadcast journalists must endure.  In Murrow’s time, new was a loss leader and wasn’t expected to score big ratings and make money.  That changed dramatically in the 1980’s when the networks were acquired by huge firms that dwarfed the Paley-size corporations.  Public service was a luxury the new media conglomerates could not afford.  With network audiences dwindling because of the wider availability of cable TV, the news divisions now were expected to top the competition in the ratings and to make money.  From public service to profit center is a jolting transition, but happened.  It began with deep cuts in expenses, which were fine as long as they involved trading limos for vans and first-class airfare for coach, but then it involved people.  Hundreds of fine journalists lost their jobs in the 1980’s when the networks pared back.  When the bloodletting was over, the quest for profit took a different direction.
The only way a news program can compete in prime time is to become an entertainment program.
Cable relieved the broadcast networks of the pressure to provide live coverage of important breaking stories.  Cable claims to have all-news channels, and indeed it does when there is important breaking news.  In fact, when an important story breaks, the so-called all-news channels cover only that one story, upsetting those who feel “all news” should provide “all of the news.”
On most days, however, cable TV offers no news in prime time (except on the headline channel) because news simply can’t compete with prime time entertainment programs.  It’s a sad fact that cable TV, with plenty of airtime available to explore important, complex issues in great detail, squanders that resource by descending to tabloid sensationalism, personality cult shows, and aping talk radio with high-testosterone shout shows requiring panelists and viewers alike to wake up angry and stay angry.
We should concern ourselves with issues that affect our common welfare, not some tawdry episode that has nothing to instruct us on how to get through a day.  For ratings’ sake, cable news focuses too often on the titillating and not on the news we really need.
Murrow believed it was wrong to recruit a liar to be part of a program in order to balance the truth. *
It’s important to remember that once upon a time we turned to radio and television to entertain us and nothing more.  If we expect the broadcast media to inform us, educate us, and enlighten us, it’s because Edward R. Murrow let us to believe that they would.
   —  Bob Edwards
Excerpts from the “Afterword” to his book: “Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism
[* The emphasis in the above excerpt is mine and does not appear in the original quote.  To read my review of the book, click here.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 Still Itchin’
2014 One Life
2013 Reason Is Your Light
2012 Bordering Manhood
2011 Even Christ Couldn’t

Hil & me on our wedding day at City Hall in San Francisco, CA (3 Dec 1984)

Hil & me on our wedding day at City Hall in San Francisco, CA (3 Dec 1984)

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.
  —  Simone Signoret
[Happy 32th Anniversary, Hil
You are the roots for the life-tree we have lived and, this year, just another ring in our life-tree…
Love Always,
Your Kev
XXX
00
X
— KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 Happy Anniversary Hil!!
2014 30th Wedding Anniversary
2013 Number 29 (And Counting)
2012 Hammer ‘N Roses
Happy Anniversary
2011 I Can Hear It Now
Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, “When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.”  The trouble with television is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival.
   —  Edward R. Murrow
From his speech to the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) convention in Chicago
Given: October 15, 1958
[Popularly know as the “Wires And Lights In A Box” speech.  The link to the full speech is (also) available on my “Poems” page.  —  KMAB ]
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On This Day In:
2015 I Am Lucky And I Am Grateful
2014 Future Envy
2013 We Do Not Want To Learn That
2012 Social Inhibition
2011 Studying Chinese Food
Are You Bored, Too?
2010 Rant, Pant, Deep Breath – Reality

Itchin’

No body politic is healthy until it begins to itch.
   —  Heywood Broun
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On This Day In:
2015 In The Not So Distant Future
2014 Sources
2013 Three Essentials
2012 Just Looking
2011 Religious Lessons
2010 View From Under The Bus… (A mid-term report card on the Obama Administration. Long, but still worth reading for historical perspective.)
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