I am confused by recent news about NPR. Then I thought about people in general. People have opinions. Some are based in fact. Some have a lesser basis in fact. So what is the problem? Does NPR have to be perfect?
I do agree that Mr. Schiller is right in one major point - that many newspapers do have a pro-Israel or Zionist viewpoint. Otherwise how does 8 million dollars of US tax dollars a day go to Israel and this is not pointed out in the media when entitlement programs for the poor are cut?
I might not agree with some other things he said. But the point is does NPR have to be perfect?
Cannot people have opinions? With our instantaneous media hyper-focus no media can be perfect. While NPR is not perfect, it does make the attempt. This I must respect. Ask yourself how commercial media compares in this attempt to be unbiased? I am so angry with commercial media telling me their opinion that they say is news that I must take a stand.
NPR does attempt to be balanced. It may not be perfect. But at least they attempt and try to be balanced. They may side-step issues that have big business support. But don't our legislators do the same thing? NPR doesn't have to be perfect. At least it exists and aspires to a higher standard. When I watch or read commercial news I wonder what standard they have when Martin Sheen gets more coverage than Libyan or Palestinian protestors.
Note to the media: I said protestors. Not rebels. Where did I learn that the media changes what they call the people in Libya or Palestine that want democracy? It was on NPR!
I swim in a sea of opinions. How can I understand complex issues? I know how to swim in water. But how do I swim in a world that is filled with opinions that would submerge a genius? What is right? What is wrong? Who is influencing whom? Where is the truth?
Opinions can be like the tides - wearing me down. I could float on top of the water and listen and be carried by the waves. But then the tide carries me in its direction. But I know how to swim - how to think... So what do I do?
In this ocean of opinions I can swim underwater and dive to see what is below and ahead of me. I can come up for air and take a look around. I can set a course for land. That land provides me with sources of information and opinion that give voice to my basic values.
Values are the islands in the oceans of opinions. Core values in human dignity require me to swim though oceans of opinions. Somewhere in this ocean of opinions there are islands for me to rest on between swims.
I have to trust that these islands, these sources of information that value human dignity exist. Some may be windswept expressing opinions on just one topic. Some may be an archipelago. Some may be near a continent. But these lands exist for me to rest on as I swim in oceans of opinions.
photo by Mila Zinkova, Sunset from Sutro Bath at Land's End in San Francisco, 10-17-09