Friday, April 25, 2014

Rare (from me) Kudos to CNN...Specifically to Chris Cuomo

CNN's Chris Cuomo

Since I have excoriated CNN (especially Carol Costello and Erin Burnett) over their coverage of racial issues (ie. the Trayvon Martin case, etc.), I HAVE TO credit CNN, especially Chris Cuomo for doing an excellent interview with the very flawed and inarticulate Cliven Bundy AND for dealing with the issue in a far LESS politically partisan and inflammatory way than many of his co-workers at CNN.

Here is a good clip of a good portion of that interview;

I believe Chris Cuomo went out of his way to be fair and even-handed with an obviously inarticulate man. He did NOT look to bait Bundy into digging an even deeper hole and even appeared to look to understand Bundy’s concerns over what he saw as federal overreach. Cuomo delivered a very “fair and balanced” interview of a highly controversial man. It was certainly a much more fair and unbiased report than any of those done on MSNBC and FNC. In fact, Chris Cuomo even defended FNC host Sean Hannity, as "a friend," who he's certain shares none of Bundy's racial views.

Bundy, to his great detriment, has allowed his poorly articulated and archaic racial views to overshadow a legitimate state’s rights and federal overreach issue.

THAT (Bundy’s reckless racial commentary), is not the national media’s fault.

Its ultra-partisan way of handling it certainly IS!

That is why Chris Cuomo stands out, today, as a beacon of non-partisanship.

Many paternalistic bigots have attempted to use Cliven Bundy’s grossly inarticulate words to (1) undermine his very real issues with federal overreach and land management abuse, via high fees and senseless regulations and (2) to tar those who supported those legitimate issues as “racists,” for having defended Bundy’s views on federal overreach.

Many of these paternalists have likened Bundy’s racial views to those of the critics of the existing American welfare/dependency state. Indeed legislators like Paul Ryan, Scott Walker and others HAVE rightly note that the existing welfare/dependency state “breeds dysfunction.” That is as sad, as it is true, BUT it is also undeniable. I've been to hundreds of fires and many hundreds more emergencies in urban housing projects (mostly in the South Bronx). The stairwells and elevators in ALL those buildings reek of urine. Drug deals and sexual encounters regularly go on in those enclosed stairwells. The marauders, the violently dysfunctional control those areas. Others live in abject terror. Many people born into those areas DO get an education and good jobs and LEAVE those areas.

However, the idea that the paternalists seem to posit; that there’s very little difference between the population (and their behaviors) in any given urban housing project and that of any up-scale suburban neighborhood is naively ignorant.

Poverty, like LIFE itself doesn’t just “happen to us.” We make things happen, we bring BOTH the good and the bad into our own lives. Just as specific human qualities and actions bring about prosperity (innovation, ambition, focus, delaying gratification, planning, etc.), specific human qualities and activities bring about poverty (recklessness, irresponsibility, poor impulse control, the inability to delay gratification, substance abuse, illiteracy, etc.).

Cliven Bundy may well be an inarticulate, “hick,” at least in the eyes of many urban elites, who’ve harped on what they’ve called his “nostalgia for chattel slavery,” BUT interestingly enough, one of Bundy’s black supporters (Jason Bullock) seemed to paint a very different picture of the old codger;

What counts the most, how poorly or well one articulates their sentiments, or how well they treat others? Many people who say all the right things, never act in accordance with their own words. Hell, con-men and sociopaths ALWAYS say the right things and practice coming across as “good & decent,” even “caring and empathetic.” We put weight on people’s words at our own peril. It SEEMS that Jason Bullock attempts to convey that Bundy’s actions appear to belie his words.

Bundy’s plight SHOULD bring to light federal policies that abuse individual ranchers via escalating fees and senseless regulations. His unilateral actions (NOT paying fees that other ranchers are forced to pay) were illegal, but the federal policies themselves seem to have been poorly implemented, probably abusive, even potentially immoral.

There are legitimate issues around government overreach and federal land abuse here, and seeking to bury those legitimate issues beneath an avalanche of trumped up racial outrage is patently dishonest.

Many years ago, a College classmate of mine said, “Almost everyone derives at least some of their income from government today. We have an army of local, state and federal officials, from educators, to police, to workers in a vast array of government agencies, private contractors who pave roads FOR the government, workers in private Corporations that have huge government contracts, farmers and ranchers who get government subsidies, etc., so WHY do so many of us (especially so many military and former military...GOVERNMENT WORKERS) fear the growth of government so much?”

I call that, “The HAPPY Slave narrative.” People like that classmate simply embrace the universal slavery to the state that Libertarians and many Conservatives reflexively question.

What troubles me is the abject close-mindedness of those who don’t question the “happy slave narrative.” WHY? I should say, what motivates people to simply accept the idea of a universal slavery to the state as inevitable? I can’t respect that view, but that’s just me, I guess.

Today, I laud Chris Cuomo for being a straight shooter on a very controversial issue and in dealing with an inarticulate and non-media savvy individual without baiting and abusing him. It may be unfortunate that that stands out as a “rare decency,” on the part of the national media, but for better, or worse, it does stand out as exactly that.

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