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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed. He who molds opinion is greater than he who enacts laws.
You hear all kinds of things --- climate change is a hoax, the media is biased, tea partiers are racist, Obama is a socialist --- what's a mother to do? Cover our ears and shout out "TMI, TMI"? Ask our parents what they think? Adopt the water-cooler jargon of our office? Silently chant the mantra "I have no opinion, I have no opinion"?
President Obama gave some great advice during his commencement remarks at the University of Michigan this past week.
“If you’re someone who only reads the editorial page of the New York Times, try glancing at the page of the Wall Street Journal once in awhile. If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil. Your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship."
Let's take it one step farther. Whether you're speaking of the Wall Street Journal or the Huffington post, they're both rather parochially partisan. Take a step back and start checking out news media and opinion pieces from other global locales.
For instance, did you know that today in Ometepec Mexico, authorities found the headless bodies of three people - a police officer, hair dresser and builder - apparently victims of gang score-settling. Security forces rescued 17 kidnap victims who have family in the United States - they were being held for ransom. That information came from Australian and Canadian news sources but a Google search didn't turn up any mention of it on CNN, the most trusted name in news, or Fox, fair and balanced, or ABC, NBC or CBS or the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, or Huffington Post.
On another piece of news, US news outlets are carrying the story today about the 3 deaths that occurred during May 5th's riot against austerity measures in Greece. When you go to a European news source like the Daily Mail you learn that the three were bank workers and that the EU warns Britain's debt crisis will be worse than Greece's but again, a Google search finds that rather important piece of economic information missing from American news media today.
How about news regarding Iran? Both Chinese and Israeli sources report that Iran's navy started war games in the Persian Gulf. Again a Google search shows that just one US news organization picked up the story - Yahoo News aggragator using a Reuters Canada news release.
Take President Obama's advice and find out the news for yourself. Local is global and global is local in today's world. Nearly 200 years after Alexis de Tocqueville's stinging strings of criticism about the American people and our democracy, it truly is time to put this one to rest.
In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own."