Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Bit of Disconnection

When I went downstairs awhile ago, my wife was watching John King's political program on CNN. The focus of the segment was on the economy. As a preface to a question to a guest, King was talking about the concerns of "ordinary Americans". The first two concerns he listed -- jobs and health care -- were on target, but his third concern clearly illustrates he must be unfamiliar with the lives of ordinary people.

What did he think the third concern is? Whether children should be sent to public or private schools!

I've got some news for Mr. King. Ordinary folks don't have the financial resources to send their children to private schools. The children of ordinary Americans go to public schools. It is the ONLY viable option, other than home schooling.

All this statement tells me is that John King spends all of us time hanging out with people in his own economic class. He is clueless of the key issues faced by the working class, the vast majority of his countrymen. This ignorance makes it next too impossible for King to present an objective or quasi-balanced view of the news.

In many ways, it underscores that he is not that much different from his Fox News counterparts. They view the day's events through the narrow lens of the Christian Right. King, on the other hand, gazes through the narrower lens of the well-to-do and tries to extrapolate -- unsuccessfully, I might add -- their concerns with people struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.


  1. The corporate media uses public opinion to support its own ends. The Tea-Party is basically a Fox News creation so they have the appearance of dialogue with the "folk." Really, it's one big echo chamber that never stops talking, and CNN is part of it as well. 24-hour news that never stops!

    "Do your work, then step back.
    The only path to serenity." - ch. 9, Tao Te Ching

    "Do you have the patience to wait
    till your mud settles and the water is clear?" - ch. 15, ibid.

  2. Oddly enough, this third concern is a big one in Hawaii where people fear or distrust the public schools which most people believe aren't very good...the state just got a big pile of federal money to attempt some improvements. The person who did the proposals for the big pile of money is now the superintendent. There are even DoE employees who send their kids to private schools (which seems like it should be illegal). Our son went to a public school that was a neighborhood rival to Punahou, the alma mater of his girlfriend. As far as I can see, they both have gotten the same educations.

    Still, many people of limited means struggle to put their kids in all kinds of private schools, from Obama's Punahou to any number of small church-related academies. When I was young, and still being educated under the principle of John Dewey's recommendations (when an education for everyone was the desired outcome and high school graduation was still a big deal) only very wealthy people went to private "boarding schools," learning to ride and speak French. The only "private schools" were the Catholic parochial ones, just another school district really in a heavily Catholic area.

    Now in the era where college has become the "high school after high school" no one quite feels the public schools are up to the task. (Then there's homeschooling, a whole other issue based on some other kind of fear...or elitism.)

    In any case, I think being educated and smart is ultimately up to the individual (all schools can do, should do, is teach people HOW to learn); one of the smartest guys I have met recently is only high-schooled, and my boss doesn't have any degree. In the first case, I am awed; in the second, I realize we have little common understanding of each other.

  3. A point I may have failed to make is also how --from my little remote island state -- the rest of country often appears to be completely foreign.


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