Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Numbing of America

In an email exchange with the main news anchor of one of our local television stations, here in Springfield, MO, I mentioned that I believed that the dumbing down of America is not just an expression that makes for a good sound-bite, but after hearing all of the misinformation being broadcast and published about the tornado that utterly destroyed at least 25% of a community of around 50,000 residents, I am beginning to become more and more aware of the numbing of America.  For when almost everything that happens is the biggest, baddest, greatest or the worst thing to ever happen in the history of this world, is it not no wonder that so very many pay such little attention?

Case in point, I received an email from a local organization that is fairly well known for providing aid in disaster areas worldwide with the headline of, Deadliest Tornado In The History Of The U.S. Hits Close To Home.  Now, I realize that this might not be the best time to take exception to something like that, but why would they feel a need to overhype what really is a horrible situation in the hope of soliciting a donation?

No, I would rather not say just who I am talking about.  For I still want to believe that they are an honorable organization, but I don’t think we will be contributing anymore through them.

Yes, many more may be found, but as of the
last report I have heard, there are now 124 confirmed deaths. In fact, with there being around 1,500 missing, which is an unofficial count, the death toll may rise dramatically, but as it now stands, 124 is less than half of the over 300 confirmed deaths from the tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa, AL (and the surrounding area) a few weeks ago.  Besides, shouldn’t the pictures of the property damage alone be enough to motivate anyone with a heart to give as much as they can?

Of course, whoever sent that email may simply not know any better, and with national correspondents filing grossly inaccurate reports here, there and everywhere, they sure have a lot of bad examples to follow.  Hey, I consider ABC’s Nightline to be about the best there is when it comes accurate news reports, and yet, there was Sam Champion, who is the weather anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America, looking right into the camera and announcing that over 75% of Joplin had been destroyed, as part of the Nightline broadcast last Monday night.

In all fairness, it is arguable that 75% of the best part of Joplin was destroyed.  For the tornado cut a ½ to ¾ mile swath through some very affluent neighborhoods, and the area around St. John’s Hospital, which took a direct hit, is highly industrialized.  The main high school was also destroyed, but the rest of the town should count for something.

Oh no, he was not the only one.  For it has been reported that the tornado was anything from a half of a mile to well over a mile wide, with it staying on the ground for four to over six miles, and I am fairly sure I remember hearing that debris was being found as far away as Cincinnati, OH.  Okay, I made that last part up.

Yeah, I am probably sounding like just another cranky old fart, who doesn’t have anything better to do than look for something to gripe about, and after I tell you what those email exchanges that I mentioned in the beginning of this were about, there will be little doubt.  For I was taking exception to the station abbreviating the name of [Fort Leonard Wood] to Fort Wood.

In reply, the news anchor explained that air-time is at a premium.  He also added that abbreviating the names of military bases is a common practice, citing Fort Benning, Fort Bragg and Fort Hood as examples.

In reply, I pointed out that the names of those bases were not being abbreviated.  For the actual name of Fort Benning is Fort Benning, and that the actual name of Fort Bragg is Fort Bragg.  I also mentioned that [Fort Hood] is actually named for Confederate General John Bell Hood, but that its official name is Fort Hood—not Fort John Bell Hood.

Much to my surprise, he replied that he had learned something, and that he would talk to the higher-ups about changing the practice of referring to Fort Leonard Wood as Fort Wood, which takes about a millisecond to say the right way.  So, there may very well be hope for the future, after all.

If you would like to give a donation to help the hurting in Joplin, [this site] contains several ways of doing so.  No, the overhyping outfit is not listed.

By the way, the tornado did not tear through the heart of Joplin, as is written in the first paragraph of that donation site.  For that is located a few blocks north of the devastated area.  See what I mean?

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Lavender Darwin said...

Thanks for getting the word out about support for those in Joplin.

As for the dumbing down of America, perhaps the link COULD be the public school system, that annually sees over 1 million drop-outs...

FishHawk said...

Thanks for stopping by, my dear Lavender!!! Yes, we certainly have our share of bad teachers, but in all fairness, it is impossible to teach someone who doesn't want to learn. For even in cases where good grades were achieved out of fear of their teachers and parents, little is retained.