Tahlequah Daily Press

Columns

February 25, 2012

As political insanity tunes up, rational folks tune out

Most folks assume journalists revel in political campaign season. After all, the candidates provide plenty of grist for the mill and ink for the pulp, and we’re here to get that information out the people. And if the people are reading the papers and listening to the news, they ought to be well-informed enough to make rational decisions at the polls, right?

Wrong on both counts. Some of us actually get as tired of reporting it as you all do of reading it.

At some point, many folks give up reading and listening, because they’ve ultimately concluded - correctly - that 95 percent of what spews from the maws of politicians is either nonsense or lies of a magnitude that set Ol’ Slewfoot grinning from horn to horn. While covering stump speeches and debates, most legitimate journalists are not as much afraid of misquoting a politician as they are of embarrassing themselves by vomiting uncontrollably onto their notepads or microphones.

The illegitimate journalists – who are not journalists at all, but biased public relations shills for special interests – thrive in this environment as they wax forth with their propaganda. But still, sensible folks tune them out and turn the channel to something more credible like, say, a reality show. The ones who buy into the claptrap of the unfair and unbalanced media stooges may keep watching and even believing, but they aren’t any better informed than their savvier friends.

I know these things because lately, I’ve been answering a lot of what once would have been labeled “stupid questions” about politicians. And I’ve witnessed scenes that also prove many people believe they’ll never know the truth about candidates, so why waste time with attempted discernment?

Last week, while at the junction of U.S. 62 and Rayne, I noticed a group of young people (some scantily clad), waving signs that declared, “Honk for Paul!” I didn’t hear any responsive blasts during my brief stint in the left-turn lane, but I did see a guy in a truck pull over and speak to one of the kids.

A few minutes later, while in the produce department at Reasor’s, I recognized the guy who had stopped, and I overheard a conversation involving him and a couple of women in their late 60s or early 70s.

“I wonder what church it was?” one of the ladies was saying.

“I don’t know, but I just think it’s so wonderful that a youth group would be out there publicly proclaiming the gospel,” the other one said. “That one little girl wasn’t wearing much, but at least she wasn’t hiding her ‘Christian’ light under a bushel, either.”

That’s when the fellow in the truck interjected, “Oh, they weren’t a church group. They were out there stumping for that guy who’s running for president.”

“What guy?” the second woman asked.

“You know, that Rand or Ron Paul, or whoever he is,” said the guy.

“Oh, bless me!” the second woman said. “I feel so silly – I honked! I thought they were talking about the apostle!”

“You think YOU feel silly,” the guy told her. “I thought I was gonna get my truck washed for cheap.”

I’ve had similar phone calls at the office. Wednesday, a woman called to ask, “Is this Newt Gingrinch a-runnin’ for president the same man who was in Congress back when Slick Willie was in office?” (The spelling error is intentional, because that’s how she pronounced it.)

I confirmed that he was, and she said, “If I recollect, wadn’t he the one who was run off by the other ‘Publicans for some sort of wrongdoin’?”

I told her he was, and gave her a few website archives after she wanted a refresher on the details of the wrongdoing. She said she didn’t have online access, but added, “I ain’t a-votin’ fer ‘im anyway. I don’t like that black feller, neither, but I’m a Dem’crat, and my husband would roll in his grave if I voted for a ‘Publican.”

People have also called to ask whether Mitt Romney sanctions multiple wives, since he’s Mormon, although “mainstream” Latter-day Saints long ago denounced plural marriage. Friday afternoon, I took a call from a self-described Republican man who said, “I been listenin’ to some of them debates, and that Santorum character, he soun’ lack a kook, doanee?”

I don’t feel qualified to answer such questions. These days, it’s a relief to get questions we once considered annoying, like, “What’s the weather tomorrow supposed to be like?” or “I sent in a thing six months ago about my kid gettin’ an award and was wonderin’, when did ya’ll run it?”

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m already looking forward to an end to this “insanity.” And in this case, I do consider myself qualified to render an opinion.

Kim Poindexter is managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • A twist on words can get you into trouble

    The misuse or mispronunciation of words can be forgiven in children, but in adults, it’s water-cooler cannon fodder.

    July 28, 2014

  • Keeping the interest of boys is just a matter of ‘gross’

    A couple of my friends complained to me recently that they didn’t know how to “connect” with their teenage sons, and that they are growing apart from the sweet little boys to whom they once read bedtime stories.

    July 14, 2014

  • ‘Different’ situations aren’t so very different, after all

    “Well, that’s different!” It’s the favorite phrase of the hypocrite, when confronted with his glaring flaw.

    July 7, 2014

  • Threats on social media or elsewhere won’t change any minds

    I try not to take political positions on my private Facebook timeline. I used to sometimes, in what I considered a polite way, but that offended friends left and right – literally. And sometimes I watched in horror as a thread degenerated into name-calling between people I respect, but who happen to be polar opposites on the political spectrum.

    June 30, 2014

  • Striking the hyphen, and other journalistic maneuvering

    A couple of years ago, my office phone rang. With no greeting or fanfare, the caller indignantly said, “Did you know they’ve taken the hyphen out of ‘fundraiser’?”

    June 23, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg IRS spins email yarn as Obama slips past another scandal

    Forget everything you've heard about email. All digital trace of a former IRS official's email over the 25 months the agency harassed conservative groups has mysteriously, improbably vanished. Gone, too, is the White House's accountability as President Obama slips from another scandal.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Front-load washers are harbingers of foul-smelling fabric

    May 27, 2014

  • Beetles in the office aren’t up on blocks

    We have more dead beetles here at the Daily Press office than you can shake a can of Raid at.

    May 12, 2014

  • NOLA always worth your time, especially for Jazz Fest

    When it comes to New Orleans, you can have a “glass half-full” or a “glass half-empty” attitude.
    Either you see anniversary celebrants enjoying a romantic dinner at the Court of Two Sisters, or the aging transvestite hawking her wares on Bourbon Street. You hear the joyous sounds of Zydeco music from the band on the corner, or the lewd cursing of the drunken frat boy at Pat O’Brien’s. You smell the enticing aroma of Cajun cuisine in the French Quarter, or the fresh puddle of vomit on the sidewalk.
    I’m a cynic, but I take the “glass half-full” approach to New Orleans. My family loves the city’s character, even with all the blemishes that repel respectable folks, and we especially love the Jazz and Heritage Festival. That’s where we were last weekend. The main action is out at the fairgrounds, with its sweltering temperatures, stick-tight-laden grass, and sea of sweaty bodies packed in around a dozen stages and 60 or so booths selling local food and crafts.

    May 5, 2014

  • Selling of lies in the dreaded car game

    Recently, my husband and I did something that is discussed in the same tone of disdain reserved for Communists, salesmen, politicians, lawyers, and sometimes, journalists. We bought ourselves a “furrin” car.
    We decided on a foreign contraption because my husband now commutes to Tulsa every day, and a quick calculation revealed the horror our three-quarter-ton diesel Chevy would visit upon our bank account. That vehicle gets a comparatively impressive 18 mpg, but doing the math on the current price of diesel and a 150-mile daily round trip is enough to send anyone to the nearest toilet to hurl up the previous meal.

    April 21, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Stocks