Saturday, August 28, 2010

Journalism, politics and WTF?

submitted by Gabrielle Jones-Price

I'm one of those Gemini's that is addicted to information. I've never met another Gemini that wasn't in some way, shape or form addicted to something information related. Whether it is computer codes, musical notes, books, electronics or all of the above the Mercurial sign of the twins is certainly ruled by communication.

This can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you decide how to use this specific 'gift'. The kind of minds that race with data can be hard to shut off at night without some other sensory distraction like music or white noise. Meditation is incredibly helpful for the sign of the twins so my racing mind isn't a big problem unless I drink a lot of caffeine or read a lot of news.

Yeah...news. Lots of it now and a lot of it not so good. Working on articles to post is a nightmare because it is difficult to know where to start as a jumping off point. Which story to work, what needs more attention, what will do the most good. I suppose you could ask a lot of journalists what their difficulties are and I'd hazard to guess a lot of them couldn't say 'do the most good' from what I've seen lately...unless it's for the 'good' of a corporation or the war...which is the same. I'm beginning my journey as a writer and in the current climate of the press, it is an exciting time to jump in. For an activist it can sometimes be stressful in trying to find the truth. There is simply quite a lot of bull shit to step around out there.

I've been a long time subscriber of Freepress and Fairness in Accuracy in Reporting newsletters, at least since Bush's second term. I was more involved in trying to raise awareness about what this administration was doing by networking with activists and marching, especially after working the polls. People were very frustrated. I had hit a brick wall and experienced burnout along with other friends who were active. Some people moved away, others took on different causes and I was a single mom whose daughter just moved away. I experienced a whole new kind of personal freedom and a lot of things happened during that time. I was working two jobs and trying to get a photography biz jump-started. That summer, I survived an attack but escaped relatively unharmed...at least on the outside. It was also the summer I saw something terribly, terribly wrong with media when Katrina hit the Gulf coast.

After what amounted to a PTSD spiral, I took a break from activism to recoup and regroup. I found I couldn't stay away from it long because it helped me deal with a lot of things. It brought me together with like minded people for something bigger than myself. So any circumstance or event that seemed bad in my life simply paled in comparison to what I saw going on in the world. I went to the big march on DC in January of 2007, which was a life changing experience for me and I wouldn't trade that for the world. But with little to no media coverage on the largest march since Vietnam, it seemed the momentum had gone out of the activism for awhile after, personally. I felt as if I'd reached some plateau of thinking that there wasn't much else one person could do. So I focused on myself and did a lot of reading and reconnecting with my camera. Photography was my catharsis.

I still did a lot of writing, blogging and posting on social media especially during election time, when I wasn't taking pictures. I have always been a cheerleader for the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment and especially after the Patriot Act was passed. It was dumbfounding to me that I might actually be considered an 'enemy combatant' so I found and supported several groups including one that supported third party candidates. Democrats simply left many anti-war activists a lack of choice (which I find highly unpatriotic, Patriot Act be damned). Whether anyone voted for my choice of candidate didn't matter to me, as long as people were involved in the process. They might just be curious enough to investigate on their own.

I don't know...call me crazy...but I still have this idea in my head that people are inherently good and will make good choices if they are presented with good information. Kooky, I know.

Just before the last presidential election, I was following the candidates as closely as I had before but didn't write too much at that time. I simply had some living to do and my brain felt like there had been a perpetual campaign going on (little did I know how correct that assessment was). The big three that were up to bat were Edwards, Clinton and Obama...the current President was my last choice. Edwards called for a pledge from his fellow Dems running against him to join him in declaring that they would not take lobbyist money. I thought that was a courageous play and Obama took the pledge. Hillary did not. Of course I want to see a woman in the White House one day...just not that one. She lost my vote, much to the chagrin of some of my female counterparts but bless 'em, they were resilient and got over it rather quickly. After Edwards indiscretion (still making news...for cry-eye-eye), I decided there was a lot of homework to do on Obama before I cast my vote.

The run up to the election was coming at me through bits and pieces after that time - I was busy moving and getting ready to take a leap in a new house, new studio and a bold risk with the photography. I got rid of my television, listened to debates on NPR radio and got my news via the internet. I remember the day I heard that McCain had chosen a female as his VP running mate and initially thought that was a very smart move...

I'll just say after hearing the debates, it wasn't an option not to try to get Obama in the White House. Any respect I had for McCain dwindled fast during his campaign...all the way up to his concession speech which was a day late and a dollar short. The kind of ugly campaigning they did had taken its toll...and that mud slinging ugliness is still alive and well. The perpetual campaigning is to the point where there is no damn governing going on in DC.

Any respect I had for journalism was dwindling just as fast as Palin's career should have. And now I'm hearing that one of her offspring is going to be on Dancing With The Stars...and that, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to the WTF?

There is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?