When you live in Southern California, often times you forget what fresh air and cool breezes feel like…smell like…even taste like.
As I envied my friends who were celebrating a surprise snowstorm in Portland, I myself took a walk through a local park. Here in La Mirada, parks have a mystique about them at nighttime. Typically there are certain patches that give an eerie shiver to your soul, because they get serenely quiet and the temperature can mysteriously drop 10 degrees at any given time. I suppose that’s the effect of a dessert-like climate here in the Southwest corner of the country.
As I walked back to Beatrice (my Honda), the breeze hit my nose at the right time – Mumford was playing softly from my phone, I had finally gotten a few minutes to myself, and the temperature hit Oregon summer cool – and with it, came the distinct smell of summer camp.
I remember those lonely days (I hated being away from home when I was young) and even lonelier nights because I would sneak out and walk alone through the forests. Little did I know this would become a healthy habit at the age of 20, as a time to think and process my life.
Life was seemingly easier back then…as it should be…and often times I wish I could race back to the days of my childhood where laying in the grass and arguing about which Rugrat character was the best dominated my time.
Yet, time has a way of not slowing down, and I’m not one to dwell in the past but look excitedly towards the future. When did we grow up?
Tomorrow I will put on a tie and get into my car, and join the millions of people who drive in Los Angeles on Friday mornings. I will sit in an office, overlooking Santa Monica Blvd., and I will stare into the computer screens and on sheets of paper, memorizing company facts and bios for the groups I will soon help represent at Amy Levy Public Relations.
I’ll get my half hour lunch break, and I’ll join the rush home on the 405 Southbound Freeway. Is this my dream? No, but it’s a start towards fulfilling the passions that are put on my heart.
I don’t remember when it happened exactly, but coffee started tasting good, lunch breaks became a once a day event, and the water cooler conversation became part of my vocabulary.
Somewhere along those same days, 10pm no longer seemed late, waking up early got much harder, and I lost the beloved breakfasts my mom cooked, and the car rides with dad to school.
Yes, growing up is hard.
But sometimes you can slow down, and just as the traffic will surely slow (hopefully not to a stop), life can as well. I will probably take a detour to The One for a little, watching the sunset along the Pacific Ocean, say a little prayer, take off the tie, and go back to those days when Rush Hour was just a movie.
Cal Thomas and the Subjective Objective Approach to Media
The media likes to believe it is a source of objective information, as opposed to subjective, biased stories and plotlines. However, often that claim is high and off the mark when it comes to actual presentation. Cal Thomas is no exception to that reality. Thomas, a blatant Evangelical Christian, is known for his outspoken and sometimes-outlandish right wing views against liberalism and other religious groups. After reviewing a handful of his articles via The Jewish World Review, I have found that much of Thomas’ opinions and writings are heavily influenced and directed by his faith – even in situations where a balanced perspective is needed to keep a healthy dose of ethical perspective (i.e, stories on Muslims, etc.)
In one article, titled “Religion Takes Several Hits (2002),” Thomas’ comments on the effects politics has on religion, showing how Rev. Billy Graham was potentially caught between a rock and a hard place in a conversation, with then President Richard Nixon on Jews and the “stranglehold” they had on American media.
However, much of the article is speculation that it was in Graham’s best interest to side with Nixon in fear of losing credibility, and that Graham never actually believed what he said. Thomas adds, “Who among us has not made a remark which, if recorded, might prove embarrassing?”
Quite certainly, all of us, but justifying a situation by speculating on a conversation in which you were not present, in hopes to save some face of your religion and her relics, is not an objective approach that journalists – both right and left wing alike – claim to have.
He mentions that while religious parades are nothing new (and in his defense, he does mention former President George W. Bush as someone who uses God in their candidacy), and they shouldn’t exist, saying, “You’ve got to hand it to Clinton and Obama, they did their Sunday school homework,” and adding that liberals were claiming, “We democrats have seen the light…Vote for us and we will deliver you from the sin of ever having voted for a Republican!”
While the main point of the article is agreeable – a President’s religiosity has nothing to do with their candidacy – he lambasts liberals as if their apparent faith wasn’t real but instead a pedestal for their campaign. He mentions that “Satan knows scriptures too,” – well, then we all should know only God looks at the heart of men, and no one is in a position to judge their beliefs, convictions, or salvation.
In a third, more recent (Feb. 2011) article titled, “Egypt’s Dim Future,” he outlines the fall of Egypt due to “Muslim radicals” that are out with an “agenda” and will take over the country. While it is well documented that the Brotherhood has had a tattered past, Thomas somehow manages to group most of Islam and it’s believers within the same conversation.
Thomas also lists of some statistics such as 64% of Egypt views the Brotherhood positively, while just 22% view them as extreme or not really democratic. This is another example of subjectivity in reporting in on events, and perhaps a glimpse at a bigger fallacy in the Evangelical faith.
We tend to think that we can dictate and judge a situation from our comfortable Lazy-Boy office chairs, deciding what is morally right and wrong from our perspective, despite what the actual view of that particular culture may hold.
Add on that fact that 85% of those polled viewed Islam influence as postive in politics, and you have to wonder where the balanced “objective” reporting is. Despite these facts, Thomas believes he can still state that Muslim influence is wrong because of his beliefs and convictions.
In the end, it’s a matter of ethics – and in this case, it isn’t an easy answer. Thomas carries out his convictions and beliefs out thoroughly in his writings. However, it could be said that as an Evangelical myself, we should still show love and multiple perspectives towards groups that have different beliefs than we do.
If we, as journalists, are aiming for objective and unbiased cover in our writings and work, then we certainly should look for more balance then Thomas often does. However, if our goal is to make the headline for opinions, Thomas does a great job in that…yet the question should remain: where is love and grace?
“For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”—ERNEST HEMINGWAY, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1954