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FROM MY CORNER: Malfocused Americans

Howell Hurst Consumerism, Education, People Politics

Barely over 5% of Americans watch the nation’s meager TV investigative news feature shows: Meet The Press, Face The Nation, This Week, Fox’s various news features.

How many more watch alternative journalism and Internet entities, such as Huffington Post, Politico, and dozens, if not hundreds of others, may double that. It is possible only 10% of Americans follow investigative news features.

The same 10% or so probably make up the limited readership of America’s major investigative and opinion magazines: The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Washington Examiner, Washington Times, The New Yorker, Harpers’s, The Nation.

 Time, the general magazine has only 1.6 million circulation. Most Americans simply  do not delve deeply into the facts facing our country. What are they doing with their time? Well, the largest audience for Americans is still TV.

About 50% of the TV channels are busy doing one thing: selling products directly to us: cosmetics, jewelry, sea cruises, vacations,  various other leisure and luxury products. The remaining 50% is filled with situation comedies, cop shows, and specific interest shows: fishing, flying, sports, what have you.

Sure, Sixty Minutes weekly gets into serious subjects, playing to the emotional side of America’s interests. Fox, and a handful of other conservative features, of course, help inspire the still-Trump-addicted Americans.

The poor are busy trying to survive. The middle class, as long as the evening news gives us a quicky summary each evening, is satisfied to watch our favorite escape show and deny reality.

It’s not surprising we no longer join together behind some kind of unifying vision. How can we make sense of things with so many different views presented 24/7/365?  Perhaps escapism is our only really sensible choice.

America’s prevailing issues right now are either how long intellectually absent Republicans are going to cling to their love affair with Donald Trump and how fervently will Democrats pin their hopes on a $7 Trillion bailout?

The last Democratic give away primarily targeted the American middle class. I was sent $1200, $1400, and $600 checks, in addition to my social security and disabled Veteran pension. But thousands of homeless, blind, and otherwise disabled and disadvantaged Americans received nothing.

Our government and our corporations appear incapable of crafting some sort of job training program to provide incomes for the 10% of Americans only barely holding on to life in our much-touted Capitalist paradise.

Middle class Americans remain hypnotized by our love of consuming while we need a sharper understanding of climate change, racism, police heavy-handedness, an ocean filling with plastic, millions of refugees and immigrants on borders, perpetual wars, and a still persistent biological pandemic.

The New Republic makes a very good point in a recent article. It points out that the Biden administration is selling its economic package as the latest new twist on Capitalism. The mantra is that the business of America is still business; and that that will pull us out of our troubles. The Greening of America will be good for profits.

Profits are not going to pull America out of our troubles. Intellectually curious Americans, paying attention to the facts of life, might. Whether Americans will recommit themselves to the facts of life in the 21st Century so they may shoulder their responsibility as citizens instead of consumers is the real issue.

They either do that or simply keep buying all the unnecessary junk we already have overflowing in self-storage bins until we vomit on our obsession with luxury. Which are you willing to place your bet on?

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