It is said that all things come to an end. Television journalism just had one of those moments that proves it. Just a few minutes ago, Andy Rooney finished his last regular commentary piece and the CBS news show “60 minutes.” It’s a sad moment in many ways. For over 30 years, every sunday night, Mr. Rooney would spend a few minutes telling people what was on his mind. You may have liked it, or you may not have. Rooney didn’t really care, he was going to tell you what he thought and that’s how it was. I always enjoyed listening to Andy Rooney. I think he had the greatest job in the world. Face it, he was blogging’s inspiration. He didn’t report the news like a journalist. He didn’t just talk about politics and current events like a coloumnist. He was unlike any other coloumnist or journalist, because he just talked about what was bugging him that particular week.I hope they don’t try to replace him, because you really can’t. TV’s grumpy old man can’t be replicated. Rooney’s segment wasn’t great because it was some guy talking about whatever was on his mind. It was great because it was Andy Rooney talking about whatever was on his mind.
Prior to his segment he was interviewed by Morley Saffer. It was interesting to see Andy in a casual setting, becuase you realized that Andy Rooney on TV was also Andy Rooney in life. He said some interesting things. He believed he was more of a Democrat than a Republican, although he would object to being called either. Looking back, he really enjoyed covering World War II as an Army reporter. At the same time you could see the sadness in his eyes when he talked about friends he lost in the war. He doesn’t give autographs, because “what kind of idiot what’s my name on a piece of paper.” You got the sense that if you met him in public you’d think he was a jerk, but he’s not. He’s just a famous guy, that isn’t comfortable being famous.
All in all, Andy Rooney was a television icon. Through the years he contributed so much to television and journalism. It was an inevitable day. So there is nothing left to do but say “Thank you Mr. Rooney.” At least you inspired me, and I promise if I ever have the chance I won’t ask for your autograph.
At some point in the near future, apparently the date is being kept a secret, a groups of ships, called the Freedom Flotilla 2, will be sailing from Greece to the Gaza Strip. You may remember that this happened about a year ago. In that case, nine people were killed by Israeli soldiers in what was a complete debacle for the Israeli Defense Forces. Let me be clear that I think Israel has every right to be wary of this situation. The Gaza Strip is controlled by a group that does not recognize Israel, and has made the destruction of Israel its top priority for years. I believe that Israel has every right to ensure that the supplies carried on this convoy are for humanitarian uses only. If there are any weapons they should be confiscated as that would surely be illegal weapons trafficking. Israel, however, is making me question the validity have their concern. Namely, they are engaging in a tactic that is akin to dictators. They’re threatening journalists.
An article in the Christian Science Monitor reports that Israel is threatening to ban journalists from the country for up to a decade if they are on one of these ships. Journalists go where the story is. It is true that they often go where there is no story also, but trying to keep the media out of this just leads to the idea that Israel wants to suppress the story. Journalists are banned from Syria right now for exactly that reason. The Syrian government does not want the truth to get out about what they are doing. By keeping journalists out they are preventing an accurate narrative to be written. This allows them to fill the void with the story they want everyone to hear.
I don’t think Israel is comparable to Syria. Israel is a democracy that does not oppress its people. Some will argue that instead Israel oppresses the Palestinians, who it is worth noting, were kicked out of their homes in the late 1940s. Palestinians have a legitimate problem with Israel and the Western world. So when Israel engages in suppressing journalists, it makes them look like they have something to hide. More importantly this tactic will not work. We’ve seen it in Arab countries all year. The mainstream media isn’t needed for information anymore. The use of Facebook and YouTube has exploded. Through the internet videos will be seen, information will spread. Israel can count on one thing. The YouTube videos, and Twitter feeds will not be favorable. The mainstream media uses a code of ethics in what it reports. The social media world does not. Israel’s opponents will use all of these outlets to spread their message whether it is fair or not. The mainstream media is the only hope Israel has of getting an objective story out there.
Israel’s best plan is to stop this flotilla as peacefully as possible. Inspect the cargo, and make sure that CBS, CNN, The New York Times and others get a good look at it. If anything is illegal or bound for violent use, it will get reported and Israel will be vindicated. If it is all humanitarian aid, everyone will know. Then Israel can say it was protecting itself, but found nothing illicit. There is nothing wrong with Israel trying to prevent weapons from entering Gaza so that they can be used to hurt Israelis. Trying to suppress journalists, however, sends a terrible signal. It says that Israel isn’t sure that they are protecting themselves. This effort will hurt the Israeli cause not help it.
Posted in Politics, Society
Tagged CBS, CNN, Facebook, Freedom Flotilla, Gaza Strip, Israel, journalists, Palestinians, politics, postaday2011, society, Syria, The New York Times[, Twitter, YouTube
I’m going to take the day off of politics and societal commentary and just ask a quick question. I was watching the beginning credits of the CBS sitcom “Rules of Engagement.” In those credits the character Timmy, played by Adhir Kalyan, appears to be holding a Sony Vaio laptop. Do you think Sony paid for that?