Words are powerful tools in everyday life. They, when used properly, can make ones career fruitful. When used improperly they can crush ambition. When misrepresented or misinterpreted they can destroy a person on both personal and professional levels.
The news media should be a guardian for the spoken work. It is their job to dissect words spoken by news worthy individuals and make an attempt to explain that persons meaning or intent. Far to often news media, many of which seem to have an agenda, pounce upon words to cause controversy. These people are not just reporting the news but also making themselves part of the story. There is no one ideology to blame here as all seem to be guilty of this to differing degrees.
The ones that irk me the most are those that grab a part of a statement, concentrate on it and misrepresent the speakers thoughts. I find this especially appalling in political reporting. The reporter takes a statement that has clear meaning when read in its entirety and slices the most controversial words out to cause a stir.
It matters not that a statement, taken in its entirety, contains a solid idea. By dissecting out what they feel will make the statement argumentative they assure themselves a controversy and at the same time play favorite to their way of thinking. If anyone truly believes that there is no bias in reporting they are suffering form delusions.
Gingrich, Dec. 10: What I suggested was, kids ought to be allowed to work part-time in school, particularly in the poorest neighborhoods, both because they could use the money.
If you take one-half of the New York janitors who are unionized and paid more than the teachers, an entry-level janitor gets paid twice as much as an entry-level teacher. You take half of those janitors, you could give virtually– you could give lots of poor kids a work experience in the cafeteria and the school library and– and front office, and a lot of different things. I’ll stand by the idea, young people ought to learn how to work.
What the media concentrated on here was that Gingrich wanted to make poor 12 year olds work as janitors. There was little or no discussion about what was actually Gingrich's point.
Simply put, so even a liberal biased reporter could understand, Gingrich was suggesting that work be used to teach America's youth the value of money, how to make a living and how to be responsible for a job. But most importantly how to develop a good work ethic. In a country where good work ethics have been thrown in the crapper this is a valuable lesson.
Gingrich's mistake was limiting this to youths in poorer circumstance and mentioning the word janitor. A better use of his vast vocabulary would have served this plan much better and would have given little fodder for reporters looking for any excuse to criticize.
Mitt Romney: "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair , I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich.... I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling... We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor.... You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus."
What the media took from this was that Romney does not like poor people and cares little for them. That is not what he said or meant.
He acknowledged that poor but clearly states they have safety nets and they do. Safety nets that are not available for the middle class. It is the middle class that is in particular crisis right now. I clearly remember discussions by both Presidents Obama and Bush, during the last election, decrying the plight of the middle class. Romney was stating the obvious; we need to fix the middle class.
Did he say that he wanted to keep poor people poor? I think not!
Did he say that he did not want there plight to be improved? I think not!
He stated the obvious! Fix the middle class problems and in turn we may turn the economy around. I am sure he is not so callas to want the worse for poor Americans.
By taking the path that the media took they guaranteed just a bit more controversy. Controversy sells kiddies!
Words are powerful especially in a world where they can and will be interpreted in many different ways. All of us need to weigh our words before we spew them at people.
If you say anything that can be interpreted as derogatory or not politically correct make sure you weigh your words carefully and then put them forth with explanations at the ready. If not at least be prepared to defend yourself.