By Jill Chapin
June 17, 2013
Having been bombarded lately with one scandal after another, it’s understandable that they may have canceled each other out, numbing our reaction to otherwise serious issues.
But there may be more to the public’s lack of fury besides information overload. Americans simply don’t trust their government, in numbers that are simply appalling – Congress’ favorable impression is now at an all-time low of ten percent.
It also may be that we are not as gullible as the media might prefer. We are getting increasingly annoyed at their sensational breaking-news mentality, giving us a good excuse to turn off their often recycled, incomplete, and inaccurate stories of the current hot topics of Benghazi, the IRS and the NSA.
As for the Benghazi story, Republicans are apoplectic over the President giving an initial false reason for the attack there, accusing him of trying to avoid admitting to a terrorist act on his watch right before the election. This diluted the far more serious question as to how this security breach could have happened.
A more relevant and honest line of questioning would have been this: With our past history, why did Congress go after Benghazi’s embassy attack so aggressively?
Since 1965, about 380 people have been killed at U.S. embassies around the world. Seven were under a Democratic president; 8 were under a Republican watch. Does anyone recall one single investigation – other than for Benghazi – to determine the security lapses so they would not happen again? These were grave failures in protecting our embassies; was a congressional inquiry demanded for any of them? Perhaps if there were, we could have prevented this latest carnage.
Regarding the IRS brouhaha, Republican Representative Darryl Issa released snippets of transcripts that seemed to put the White House in the hot seat regarding going after Tea Party groups claiming tax-exempt status. However, reporters David Morgan and Kim Dixon must have listened to the entire transcript, which painted a different story. A U.S. IRS manager, self-described as a conservative Republican, told congressional investigators that he and a colleague decided to give conservative groups the extra scrutiny, thus creating this political firestorm. The manager said he set aside “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups that had applied for tax-exempt status because these organizations seemed to set a new precedent that could affect future IRS filings.
The National Security Agency invading our privacy via Verizon, Google, Facebook and other social media has generated a curious lack of response from a large swath of Americans. Despite the media’s attempt to gin up the fury, people seem to be oddly at ease knowing that privacy isn’t what it used to be. Young people actually want their lives to be an open book, as they post everything from the mundane to the obscene in an attempt to seem relevant. Cynics shrug, assuming that our personal information has long been subject to sharing, from our medical records to a rooftop view of our home, courtesy of Google Earth. Americans aren’t naïve; we know the government has been snooping since forever, but the digital age has made it exponentially faster and easier.
Although it’s refreshing to see the light of day shine on the secret machinations of our government, the media needs to dig deeper and gather more facts before regurgitating their hotline tips. Between distrust of our government and the dumbing down of our news sources, it’s no wonder why we are insulating ourselves from information we simply cannot verify as accurate.
And nothing says it better than what one cable news network recently posted online: Unverified Breaking News.