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Posted By: agnes levine on September 21, 2009

Rudeness has become the (or fast becoming) norm for the media in covering President Obama's ideals for change. Especially, this is magnified with the thrust for healthcare reform. With all the negative coverage about town hall meetings and now that Congress has returned, debates, are you fed-up with rude media coverage?

Of course, I am because while all the attention is going on those basking in stupidity at their 15 seconds of fame for being rude, hundreds of thousands of people are losing jobs which means they are losing healthcare. Due to the loss of jobs, thousands of people are suffering or will suffer from job-loss related illnesses such as high blood pressure and depression. These people will not be able to afford treatment and because they know they have lost their jobs, they won't seek treatment. Somewhere in the country a person will suffer a stroke due to undetected high blood pressure which could have been detected with preventive check-ups. Somebody will be attempting suicide due to untreated depression. This is unacceptable to me. How about you?

Now, when I read an article published by Lynn Sweet in the Politics Daily news, she reported that President Obama spent all of Friday conducting media interviews with various outlets for the sole purpose of denouncing the rude media coverages. I got the impression this was a bad thing for our president to do. In the article, which can be found at our President indeed is being necessarily very practical in high-lighting how too much time is being spent covering negative behavior while the country has more serious goals to accomplish.

President Obama has been in the media more than former presidents Bush and Clinton, according to Ms. Sweet. She is probably right, but I have not counted his appearances or compared them to the former presidents in the same period of time in office. However, what is not mentioned in the article is that President Obama is an African-American president and the former presidents were not. What is omitted in the article by Ms. Sweet is that racism is fueling the negative and rude media coverages on two conditions.

First, those who are being rude are on a mission to undermine our President out of fear and hatred rooted in racism. There is no sound logic behind being rude other than ignorance an/or needing attention. The rudeness torch is being passed along and it is being easily and readily accepted by people who have yet to fully understand that the U.S. is on a downward spiral fast unless healthcare reform occurs quickly. Eight years is not a long time before Medicare is bankrupt. It is not a long time to plan to finish college, get married, and start a family -- without affordable healthcare. Sudden medical catastrophes not excepted! As our President states time and time again in his various interviews quoted in Ms. Street's article, there is a need for people to act as adults and behave properly. When the media shifts to covering the truth about healthcare reform and the economy, people can then have clear minds to understand the desperate need for healthcare change.

The media can understand, too, the significance in focusing on the real issues and not sensationalism which is how I see all this rudeness being covered. The media seems to prefer the, "See, we told you this black man will fail" attitude. Then there is the money factor as always. The competitiveness among the media to gain the largest audience is over-shadowing the moral need to assist our President during one of the country's most emotional changes since the abolishment of slavery. The degree of rudeness such as name calling (i.e., "liar") is unwarranted. Rudeness does not accomplish anything positive and encourages other child-like adults to be equally rude, or in some instances, be more rude than others in order to gain media attention. With all this rudeness going on, the real issue of the need to redirect the way the U.S. provides healthcare, is being lost. What the former presidents did not have to contend with is the race factor. Racism is a terribly strong emotion in America. It outweighs s*xism, ethnicity, and religion. Racism drives this country just as much as unfair healthcare practices, if not more.

The race factor has made it next to impossible for many whites to see the logic behind healthcare reform. The race factor has made it next to impossible for many whites to see the reason behind anything resulting from the leadership of a black president period. This race factor has led to irrational reasoning, fear, confusion, anger and rude behaviors. Nobody can think rationally through his or her rage. This emotion takes over all decisions and that distorts the final picture that is witnessed by those trying to understand the real issue in order to shape his or her own opinion and support choice ~ rationally. Meanwhile, time is lost and our President's ability to reason and rationalize the need to stay focused on the issues to steer this country out of a recession becomes equally lost. So have we ended up with racism that manifests into rude comments about a desperate need for economical changes? Most likely, but we can fix this in a big way.

I believe it is time for a lot of seniors to contact their offspring and tell them a basic principal of good manners, "Stop being rude!" Seriously. Remember those times your mom ordered you to stop being rude? Remember those feelings of shame, embarrassment, and the clarity that the target of your rudeness wasn't that bad after all? Remember, too, those times our teachers would scold us for rudeness during class instruction? The same feelings surfaced, but more importantly is that once we stopped being rude, we actually listened to the lesson and learned something positive and beneficial. Another observation is that (children) will act rude because of their low self-esteem and the need to feel "bigged-up!"

Second, the media is probably just as racist as the persons they choose to give air time or print media to. Of course, it is easier to let someone else voice your own fears perhaps due to the old hide-behind-the-mask. What I mean is that if I feel prejudice about someone and I am a reporter, I may not want to write an article beginning with "I" feel ..... If I can begin the article with "John Doe's" [outrageous ignorance on a topic], I have an advantage in slanting the tone of the article combined with John Doe's rudeness. Then I ould "safely" hide behind my racist mask with satisfaction that John Doe's article wassuccessful at showing our preseident ina negative way. The reader will walk away with, "I knew that black man should not have won. Look at what he's doing to the country." They talk to their family and friends and rudeness torch is passed. (Never mind John Doe is clueless about the issue other than his sound bite). Likewise for visual media. (by the way, the photo is from President Obama's appearance at College Park last Thursday, courtesy of Afro-American News Wrap-Up, September 21, 2009).

In another publication, and there are hundreds of spin doctors at every media outlet, I read a very interesting Editorial by Mr. Jerome Miller who is professor emeritus of philosophy at Salisbury University (See, "Irrational Reasoning": ). In this editorial, Mr. Miller proffers that there is no rational reasoning to all this hatred on the rise. I agree. He suggests that conservative whites are so full of anger, they cannot reason and while President Obama is under such venom, President Obama has supremely demonstrated the ability to be reasonable and rational. Based on Miller's point of view, much is to be learned about the rude folks splashing across the headlines. However, all the rudeness on newspaper racks and Foxx TV (uh-hmm) makes you wonder how can anybody reading that rude stuff and watching it seriously conclude that healthcare reform is good or bad based on the rude snippets?

It is impossible to do so, but it is very possible to continue the racist undertone and the president-bashing if you yourself harbor those same racist tendencies and what has happened in my most humble opinion is that since healthcare lobbyists poured millions of dollars into sending people out to town hall meetings to be disruptive and plant fear, the racist media has become "unmuted" and comfortable in demonstrating to naive Americans that a black president should not be respected. With that disrespect comes non-support of his ideals. What then will the U.S. accomplish with healthcare? Nothing.

The hard truth that won't or cannot disappear amongst all this hype for rudeness is that the average man or woman will be living a shorter life span if nothing is done with healthcare reform. Their paychecks are shrinking. Their life span will be shortened because they will not be able to afford basic healthcare, food, or shelter. Disease will spread and crime will rise. As we approach that 8-year mark when the walls of healthcare/Medicare tumble if we do nothing, our children and grandchildren will be stuck with old wives tales and poverty.

I believe that if the media spends less time on covering all this rudeness targeted at our president and focuses on the historical practices of a healthcare system that breathes non-universal access, racial disparities, unaffordability, and greed, the U.S. can move quicker at strengthening the economy. That will leave many, many media folks embarrased, ashamed, and regretful that the rudeness reported was a waste of time.

Evangelist Agnes B. Levine is the Author of "Cooling Well Water: A Collection of Work By An African-American Bipolar Wooman" ISBN 13 978-0-9754612-0-4. Available at

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Jen Fad
Nurse at Community Hospital
Sister Agnes,
I think that the news media has long lost sight of good journalism, but is driven by ratings and all the madness we see drives up ratings.
Tuesday, September 22nd 2009 at 1:13AM
agnes levine
Part-Time Teacher at Baltimore County Public Schools
unless you are like me and keep the tube turned off Thanks for chiming in, Sis.
Saturday, September 26th 2009 at 9:35PM
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