Sunday, September 23, 2012

Has CNN abandoned its moral compass?

It seems now, more than ever, CNN is all about getting the scoop without regard for possible consequences.  The network certainly is not unique in how it goes after the big news.  Still, I had believed CNN was somehow a little more professional and even-handed than other networks.

I was so wrong.

Within hours of the cold-blooded murders of four American embassy personnel in Libya, CNN managed to find a personal journal belonging to Ambassador Chris Stevens.  I'm sure CNN staff were not the only ones rooting through the rubble for whatever they could turn into news.  Right away they knew they had fodder for several day's worth of sensational stories.  [I can picture the guy who found it stuffing it under his shirt to prevent anyone else from seeing it.]

Would it have been appropriate to turn the journal over to authorities or immediately arrange to have it returned to Stevens' family?  Of course.  Instead, they copied it and shared it with their CNN colleagues.  Several hours later, it occurred to someone that perhaps the ambassador's family might want to know what had been found.

Scruples and ethics are too often ignored these days.  Because of the ability to spread news within seconds of an event, considering the consequences of such precipitate action is left until it is too late to discern a mistake or a reason it would have been better to withhold certain information.

It's bad enough when reporters stick cameras and microphones in survivors' faces to ask how they felt following a tragedy or terrifying event.  Using the personal musings and observations of another without permission is just plain depraved and unforgivable.  The ambassador no doubt intended to keep his journal private.  Being that he couldn't speak for himself, CNN's trespass is even worse.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hard Questions redux

After listening to and reading the politcal banter going on, I went back to a post I wrote during the previous presidential campaigns.  As much as I admire President Obama, I can't say I'm pleased with where we, as a nation, are right now.  I blame it on the concerted obstinancy of both political parties to avoid agreeing on anything.  They can't even agree on tit-for-tat! 

Sadly, the standstill isn't quite that easy to explain because it's not all about politics.  Racism and a class system that should have died when our Constitutiuon and Bill of Rights were written still strongly influence too many Americans.  Social, racial and economic differences are more pronounced, causing bigger and bigger rifts among us.  We seem to be devising our own "divide and conquer" process.

I'm afraid not much as changed since I wrote the following in September 2008.

Do we really want two more self-proclaimed mavericks running the nation in our names? Can good sense trump experience when nothing has been learned from history? Where has all the cash been hiding while Americans go hungry and homeless? Should failed C.E.O.s of failed companies give some back? Should people with a history of "working" all the loop-holes be appointed to the SEC and IRS to help sort out and eliminate the loop-holes? Should there be a limit on Social Security benefits for the wealthiest of the wealthy? Should those who lacked opportunity, education and/or popularity receive larger benefits to help compensate for disparities in their earning power? Will the U.S.A. continue on it's path of eliminating the middle class while increasing the number of poor and consolidating the control of wealth among the few? I admit I don't know the answers. I do hope, however, that greater minds are considering these issues. They are but a few that are crucial to our return to a nation of thriving, fair, and caring people. Our reputation in the world may depend on the answers.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Random Act of Kindness

Friday appeared to be developing into one of the worst days of my life. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger and, perhaps dumb luck, it turned out to be a blessed day.

For several months, I’ve been suffering with Sciatica .  High doses of meds made only a small dent in the pain. After two steroid injections into my spine, the pain kept getting worse.

Out of desperation I scheduled an urgent appointment with my orthopedist last Friday. New x-rays revealed that my hip is badly damaged and has been the source of new, excruciating pain. Seeing my pain-twisted face, my busy doctor went above and beyond, phoning his friend, my spine and pain specialist to see if he could give me a steroid injection before the long, holiday weekend.

Barely holding back tears, I headed to the parking garage thinking I’d take a chance that the specialist, who hadn’t called back and whose office was just a few blocks away, would see me.

Trying to wield a brand new cane, I stepped into the garage and promptly was hit with another fierce surge of pain that caught me up short. It hurt so much that I started crying in earnest, feeling hopeless.

I would have understood anyone wanting to avoid my “scene”. However, one caring lady heading into the building stopped to offer help. I don’t know about you, but that kind of loving concern, makes me even more emotional. She gently offered me words of comfort and encouragement.

This dear lady, who surely had health concerns of her own, took the time and effort to help me walk to my car and get into it. I was so pained, self-centered and anxious to get to my doctor’s office before he left that I did a shamefully poor job of thanking her. She gave me the strength to get myself to the specialist who, miraculously, was able to treat me when his office staff told me it would be impossible. [I think my mascara-streaked face might have hinted at how desperate I was.]

I will look for opportunities to “pay it forward.” It’s the least I can do. Oh, and the steroid injection hurt like hell but has relieved about 60% of my pain.  I think I’ll live . . . .