“There is no truth. There is only perception.” – Gustave Flaubert.
Clint Eastwood’s recent RNC speech has caused yet one more outrage within our mainstream media…but then few things don’t. This time the media is shocked by Mr. Eastwood’s performance, outraged on behalf of Mr. Romney who has voiced no concern of his own. Many of our newscasters have abandoned the idea of objective reporting to embrace the notion of creating sensation. Once upon a time it was their job to report the facts and allow listeners to decide how they felt about those facts. Today highly publicized reporting is short on the cognitive and long on the visceral, eliciting feelings rather than thoughts. After years of a steady diet of media sensationalism we may have become a nation of outrage junkies, fed by media jackals that slink along the sidelines of humanity waiting for their next story victims to falter or to fall, so they can descend upon and rip them apart.
That brings us back to Mr. Eastwood. Predictably after his speech, the media pounced upon him. Before the convention Geraldo Rivera was very excited about his appearance and said, “He’s the John Wayne of our time…he’ll bring the house down. Clint Eastwood will make our day.” Afterward in his O’Reilly Factor interview with Laura Ingraham he criticized the actor’s hair and suit and summed up his appearance as “buffoonery,” and he had plenty of company. MSNBC’s S. E. Cupp added, “I wanted a fist full of cyanide by the end of that.” Then there was her colleague Rachel Maddow’s comment, “That…will be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen if I live to be 100.” The mainstream media responded with its signature hyperbole.
However, not every viewer was outraged. There were those who were amused, entertained, and delighted. Laura Ingraham shared, “I loved Clint Eastwood from beginning to end…it was an unscripted moment in a buttoned up convention.” Others with not so favorable impressions were concerned, annoyed, and disappointed.
Isn’t it the job of the mainstream media to be reporting reactions, not creating them? When bias becomes outrage, outrage has the potential to beget intolerance. Ironic, isn’t it, that a media constantly outraged on behalf of the intolerance of others has no outrage regarding its own outrageous intolerance.