Portney’s Complaint

Portneys Complaint

Portney’s Complaint

Devon Portney

Ah, a breath of fresh air has swept through Washington. News anchors and political analysts keep uttering the words we’ve been longing to hear: You will see some major changes now that the Democrats have won back the House.

As if our hope couldn’t have been fulfilled quickly enough, Rumsfeld has “resigned”. And now that he is no longer under the Bush umbrella, civil rights groups are already filing suits against Rumsfeld pertaining to the alleged torture of detainees in Germany. It is like a dream come true that someone from this administration might finally be held accountable for something, somewhere.

But we can not become complacent during the honeymoon period after the elections. Now more than ever, it is vital that we listen up and pay attention. If the wind current is shifting, we must keep ourselves in the loop, lest our proverbial skirts get blown up right over our heads.

This is where the media come in. Although the news media has suffered greatly from unlimited access to unverifiable information, and limited access to everything else, it remains our only link to the world outside our own personal bubbles. The trick is to read or watch (but preferably read) multiple sources of news. All news media, including newspapers, exhibit political and social biases. It can not be helped. But the bias isn’t just about the writing it’s about what they decide to write about in the first place. You might not agree with the journalist, but they have already gotten you to think about a topic of their choice, not yours.

International news is a great way to find out what is actually going on in other nations and regions of the world. It is also a great way to see America and its actions through the eyes of the rest of the world. Take a look at some reports on the same events from America and other nations, and see just how greatly they differ. It is impossible to obtain knowledge of all important events occurring throughout the world from one, two, three, or even four news sources. However, you can definitely gain enough information for yourself to decide what you think about certain issues, than if you relied on simply one or two sources of news.

Now, no one should give up their favorite pundits or blogs (I whole heartedly support opinion in journalism), but make sure you use them as perspectives, not news. Gather information and listen to opinions, and then think for yourself and draw your very own conclusions. Base your thoughts on critically thinking about the information you have obtained. Make your opinion your opinion.

So what? Why should we put in the effort to become well-informed people? The answer is simple: because we are citizens of the world. And whether you think so or not, you are and will be affected by these events. You probably feel like things occurring outside this country (with the exception of the Middle East and maybe Korea) have no bearing on your everyday life. On the surface, you would be right. As an American, these events and issues may not bother or affect you. As a human being, they should do both.