We all know that crap is king

Published 9:08 am Tuesday, January 11, 2011

While the majority of Americans remain in shock over Saturday’s assassination attempt on Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as well as the deaths of six individuals attending an event featuring the federal official, public opinion on the incident is, as expected, running the full gamut.

One of the most interesting comments I heard in the wake of the mass shooting came from Pima County (AZ) Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. He has been the man behind the podium fielding rapid-fire questions from an inquisitive media during numerous press conferences.

During one such session Sunday afternoon, Sheriff Dupnik openly addressed an issue that others seem to be dodging.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” the Sheriff said in front of a room full of print, electronic and digital media members. ‘And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

A reporter asked if Giffords’ shooting could have been motivated by “prejudice and bigotry,” Dupnik stated, “All I can tell you is that there’s reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol.”

In short, what the good Sheriff was saying is that those easily manipulated by others, especially if a person has a history of mental imbalance, leaves the door wide open for tragic events to unfold, such as the political gathering on Saturday in Tucson.

During an earlier interview that aired on MSNBC, Sheriff Dupnik said “it’s time that this country take a little introspective look at the crap that comes out on radio and TV.”

It makes one wonder on what has happened to the once proud cornerstone of American media, especially TV news. Where is Walter Cronkite when we need him, or at least ones that are able to deliver the news without regard to political persuasion.

Nowadays it’s all about who can shout the loudest, twist the most arms and lead viewers to believe their side of the story. It’s not about news, it’s about ratings….the higher they are, the more advertising revenue is generated.

This crusty old journalist is not above interjecting political views into opinion columns and I’ve been taken to task on several occasions for doing so. But my words are simply my opinion…I’m not attempting to beat someone over the head and force them to see things my way.

It’s like the song “Dirty Laundry” – penned by Don Henley (he of “Eagles” fame) for release on his debut solo album in 1982 – specifically written as an opinion on TV news – where a verse says, “We can do the innuendo, we can dance and sing; when it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing, we all know that crap is king.”

Personally, I can do without all the national “talking heads”….conservative or liberal, but they’ll keep spewing their venom no matter how many events such as the one on Saturday in Arizona unfold.

Rather, I’ll pray for Congresswoman Giffords and her family and the loved ones left behind of six who were killed, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl who was born on the day of another major U.S. tragedy, Sept. 11, 2001.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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