Sunday, December 8, 2013

More Info, Less Viagra


Adam Geller’s obliquely written, poorly edited, AP distributed piece “A year after Newtown…” arrived  12/7 in well choreographed proximity to the 12/14 anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting rampage and slaughter of 20 children, 6 adults and 1 malignant human being. While strenuously bending verbally to appear “balanced”, starting with an account of a long forgotten and poorly remembered Kansas City “play” as well as  anecdotal stories of community “debates” about gun control from here and there, the understated conclusion is an endorsement for more gun control.

For all of its failings, “A year after…” exposes the essential elements that make “gun control” permanently divisive and irreconcilable: the bias, fear, prejudice and ignorance of those both  directing the debate as well as participating in what passes for “dialogue”. As has come to be SOP in American discourse – from town hall meetings to talk radio to the blogosphere – “feelings” trump facts. Thoroughly ignored is the aphorism: “You are entitled to your own opinion; you are not entitled to your own facts.” And that raises the rarely asked question: Who is responsible for providing the facts?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am embarrassed to introduce: MSM, the “Mainstream Media”.

OK – maybe the MSM, perpetual villain when it comes to withholding and massaging essential facts, isn’t responsible at all for those who have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, especially a child, as the result of a misused firearm. Whether hunting accident, careless ownership, gang-banger or deranged homicidal maniac, the pain of the loss drives some to irrationally lash out at an inanimate object with a rage more appropriate for the abuser. To borrow another famous quote: “Only a fool blames the tool.” Sadly, MSM employees “feel” this doesn’t apply to them. After all, reporting facts would kill many a good and grisly attention getting, ratings boosting, award winning story.As Geller’s piece softly regurgitates the same old confrontations, same old comments, same old reactions and reactions to reactions, the elephant in the room continues to be ignored. 

Why?

There is a strong allegation the price is too high for Americans to accept the elephant. The better, stronger reason is the price is too high for our old villain, the dreaded MSM, to reveal.
Pop quiz: When thinking about John Hinckley (81), PatrickPurdy (89), Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold   Columbine  99), Seung-Hui Cho (07), Steven Kazmierczak (08), Jared  Loughner  (11- Gabby Giffords), James Holmes (12), Adam Lanza (12 – Newtown), how many news stories can you recall in which there was any reporting – immediately or subsequently – on the individual’s use of psychotropic drugs? Many? Few? None? Most opt for None. And the list above is just a small, albeit, tragic sampling. For a comprehensive list of 28 of the most notorious, see Daren Savage’s comprehensive piece here.

Now here is a partial list of popular psychotropic drugs taken by those mentioned above prior to or at the time of their killing spree: Ambien, Amitriptvine,  Anafranil, Fanapt, Lexipro, Lithium, Luvox, Mirtazapine, Paxil,Prozac , Ritalin, Thorazine, Valium, Vicodin, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft.

The same pharmaceutical companies who manufacture these drugs above also make such well- known products as  Celebrex, Viagra, Dilantin, Cialis, Levitra, Zantak, Nexium among a myriad of others  – “well known” as in “well advertised”. Anyone who has seen network programming in the last 20 years has been regularly and thoroughly exposed to these brands and others and the miracles they perform, program after program, 24/7, network notwithstanding. Obviously, this is a reflection of the audience demographics, their needs and interests. Drug manufacturers couldn’t find a more fertile time or place to get their message out. “The Evening News”, MTV for the over 55 set, is working well for both advertiser and consumer.

The issue here, however, is the insidious reality that comes from the mating of the dark side of human nature and good old fashioned competition in the marketplace. There’s probably a pointy-headed name for it but, for our purposes, let’s just call it Advertising and Marketing Cronyism (AMP). We’re all for Capitalism and the benefits it has heaped on mankind wherever it has had the chance to be the Operating System of society. But AMC can (and does) too easily create the curse of ignorance through obfuscation. Back in in prep school, we called it “The Silent Treatment”.

Remember the townspeople above, stridently screaming their “opinions” on gun control at each other, based on emotion, prejudice and factual ignorance? What if, in the wake of the Newtown and similar tragedies, the MSM had spent as much time providing information about the deleterious side effects of the psychotropic drugs used by the perpetrators as they provided the audience with what to about an erection that lasted 4 hours or longer? While the answer should be obvious, what is not so obvious to the average viewer is the influence advertising dollars buy in those Big Media Corner Offices and how that same influence is trickled down over News Directors who assign to their reporters what stories will be covered, to what depth, how frequently, how broadly – and how not.

Without accurate, factual information about how these drugs are over-prescribed, poorly understood and their long term effects on an adolescent mind and behavior, the poor souls of Newtown, AP readers, law makers and town hall meeting attendees remain left to fend with tragic reality, armed only with their “opinions”,  “feelings”, prejudice and ignorance, left with frustration, angst and anger. 

Imagine the Network that would discover the intestinal fortitude and journalistic integrity to bring their audience all the facts, the true facts and nothing but the facts. The loss of a major pharmaceutical advertiser wouldn’t sink any network – although it may cost a bonus or two. The Media Suits should consider the upside of telling their audience the truth, the whole truth and nothing but.


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