🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Media Bias 📰
Rudy’s Sandals 🩴
Lack of Faith ⚖️
I’ve watched with interest the blowback against newspaper tyrant Gannett following its reminder to its journalists in the wake of the Supreme Court’s undoing of Roe v. Wade that they are not to take sides on social media.
“You cannot use social media to take a political position, criticize or attack a candidate, or express personal feelings about an outcome or ruling. (If you notice a newsroom colleague posting inappropriate comments, immediately alert your supervisor.)”Gannett companywide email
The email went on to remind journalists to “refrain” from liking or retweeting posts “that could appear to indicate support for any side or group.”
- This is all about maintaining some fairy tale notion that journalists are somehow born with an extra organ called “objectivity” that the commoners lack. I thought that was hilarious when I was a part of the newspaper industry, and I think it’s equally ridiculous today, though I appreciate its intentions.
I recently wrote about how I drove through a rural Arkansas town with a billboard promoting “White Pride Radio.” It was and is disgusting. But at least it’s honest. It’s good to know that the spirit of the KKK is alive and well in Zinc, Arkansas. Were I a person of color, I’d much prefer that than to accidently stumble upon a gathering of robed and hooded cowards who want to lynch me.
The same thing applies here.
One of the most influential people who taught me journalism was named Bob Woodward (no, not that Bob Woodward). He constantly drilled into us that being a part of the media was a privilege and cautioned us from living a public life in which we stated our opinions openly and freely (and this was before social media). He himself had never voted in an election because he never wanted anyone to see him or hear about him checking a box for a candidate of any particular party. It would diminish his credibility and his ability to do his job well, he reasoned.
I respected that.
I also was well aware that he leaned pretty far left. Anyone who knew Woodward knew that. It’s not that he was obnoxious about it. It’s that, if you spend time with anyone (and I spent a lot of time in Woodward’s classes) and you’re at all perceptive, you can begin to ferret out their biases.
And everyone has biases. Everyone. Even journalists.
- The history of newspapers globally and domestically is based in a total lack of objectivity. Papers openly and brazenly supported politicians and causes important to their owners and operators. Journalists had agendas, and their coverage was slanted toward them. And everyone knew where everyone and every paper stood.
That was a good thing.
These days, we have Fox News, which held onto the motto of “Fair and Balanced” long after every single person in the United States and the world had every reason to know and believe that that was a bunch of bullshit. They only dropped it in 2017! CNN and MSNBC both blow into the objectivity trumpet with equal measures of incredulity.
If you pay attention to the modern media landscape, you know that The New York Times leans left and The Wall Street Journal leans right, yet both would claim that their journalists are grounded in objectivity.
Really? Then their newsrooms are a helluva lot different than every single other newsroom I’ve ever been in, because all of those were filled with human beings who have histories that helped mold their beliefs, which means they have beliefs, which means they have opinions, which means they have biases.
The pushback against Gannett came, not surprisingly for how people express their outrage these days, anonymously and on social media. Threads blossomed with anonymous Gannett employees saying things such as: “We’re not going to tweet out ‘Fuck SCOTUS’ – it’s more like ‘this happened to me and this is important to me and it’s harmful to my healthcare.”
Which, of course, is just a different take on what bias is and proves my point: However you want to frame it, journalists are molded into who they are by their own histories.
- Whether you say “Fuck SCOTUS” or you phrase it as “I had an abortion and this court decision really affected me” doesn’t matter. Both, under Woodward’s theory (and the dominant theory that remains in media today), would diminish your ability to do your job as effectively as if you kept your thoughts to yourself. And we as a nation suck at keeping our thoughts to ourselves.
Those pushing back against Gannett called it tone-deaf and seemed to try to draw a line between opinions about stupid things and opinions about issues of social importance.
But what’s an issue of social importance to you is such only because of your personal biases. Otherwise, there’d be universal agreement on what constitutes an important social issue, and, my dude, we can’t even agree on what the important social issue is after dozens of elementary school students are gunned down in their classroom. Is it guns? Is it mental health care being so god-awful? Is it the breakdown of the family? Is it violent video games? Is it the lack of God in our lives? “Thinking is hard! We’ll talk about this again after the next shooting that sparks our shock, outrage and prayers.”
I get what Gannett is trying to do, but it’s based on something that never existed and, even if I grant you that it once was a thing, it certainly is much less of a thing than when Gannett started swallowing up newspapers, cutting their staff and developing its social media policies.
Objectivity is a lie. So Gannetteers, identify yourself and post away! I’d have more respect for you if you did that than if you kept quite and let your opinion leak into your coverage under the guise of being unbiased.
No one in the 21st century has had a further fall from the good graces of sane Americans than Rudy Giuliani. The dude was perhaps the second-most important voice of the nation in the aftermath of 9/11, and he already was something of a local hero for how he helped clean up New York City.
Now, after humiliating himself as a Trumpeeter lapdog and having hair goop ooze down his face, he’s pushing sandals on Twitter. What the …
One of the main things that makes a society a society is shared faith in its institutions. If you want to mark Amuricah’s decline, one way to do so (and there are oh-so-many) is to chart the plummeting faith its citizens have in its foundational institutions.
According to a recent poll, 25% of Americans — a historic low — reported having confidence in the Supreme Court. That’s important because it’s the final check and balance in our theoretical three-branch democracy (though I’d put forward we have a two-branch democracy — money and military power). If three-fourths of the country doesn’t believe the Supreme Court serves as that final safeguard — and I’d argue that skepticism is more than warranted — it’s possible to make the case that societal collapse isn’t too far away.
THE FOUR STEPSNo Axes 🪓Strengthen 💪Attack 🥷🏿Don’t Stop ⏳ BONUS: 🥶🧊❄️ The go-to inevitabilities in American society tend to be death and taxes — and with good reason. After all, death is coming for all of us at some point, and income taxes were supposed to be a temporary fix to help fund the Union…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Three-day weekend!
- I’m considering getting a new-to-me car.
- I got a coffee maker for my office because the office coffee is nasty bitter Starbucks.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Triple-Threat 🖥️🖥️🖥️Tasmanian Tiger 🐅Video Work 📹 Humans were not meant to stare at laptop screens. At least, humans of a certain age were not meant to stare at laptop screens. I say this after successfully lobbying for a second monitor at work, which effectively turned my laptop screen into a third…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Look Before Brewing ☕Hoop Construction 🏀Nuclear War ☢️ If you’d like an indication of how much of a Monday yesterday was for me, know that I ended up with an orange in my coffee. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t a full-blown orange. It was something called a Cutie, which is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Weird Date 🪦Nature Walk🌳Bulldog Bath 🐶 If you have a date walking around a cemetery, you’re either weird or goth, and neither Wifey Poo nor I were wearing black today, which I guess tells you all you need to know about us. Old cemeteries are something of a fascination for us,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩So Long, Kid 👨👦Steak Celebration🥩Chip & Joanna 🪚 Regular readers of my drivel know that I’m kind of an emotional guy, which is like saying that Jack kind of could have fit on the spacious floating door with Rose in Titanic. So it should come as no surprise when I say…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cash 4 IRS 💰Cash 4 Workers 💸Sound of Silence 🤫 Be extra careful on your taxes this year. The IRS is expected to receive nearly $80 billion when The Inflation Reduction Act eventually becomes law, and its plan is to hire 87,000 full-time workers. More than half of the $80 billion…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Spoon Nose 🥄👃🏻Dump Truck 🚚Twitter Traitor 🐦 Every night, I strap a mask attached to a long hose to my face so I don’t die. Not satisfied with looking kinda like an idiot, I then wrap a flexible Velco-enabled strap around my chin and fasten it on top of my bald…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thanks, Yankees ⚾Kitchen Moment 👩🍳McDonald’s Glasses 🥛 Wifey Poo and I were recent college graduates and months away from becoming Married Folk when our relationship nearly faced its greatest test. The New York Yankees were rolling toward their first World Series appearance since I played with Matchbox Cars, and the St.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mammoth Dilemma🦣Zombie Pigs🧟🐖Stadium Pals⚾ Finding the fossilized remains of a Wooly Mammoth in New Mexico isn’t exactly news. It seems the furry elephants loved to hang out in the land so frequently visited by aliens. What is news is the condition of the fossils from the latest find. Some of the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ankle Shot 🦶🏻Teamwork 🤝🏽Talkspace Stupidity 🤪 Over the years, I’ve played catch with Boy The Younger dozens and dozens of times. From those early days of him aimlessly flinging an oversized soft thing a few feet forward, to now when he’s zipping a real baseball the regulation distance from a pitching…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Creative Desert 🎨So Long, Supra 🏎️Taco Truck 🌮 I have absolutely nothing today. On most days — even the really, really bad days — I can push out something creatively worthwhile. A blog post. A flyer. A video. Not today. Today I have jack shit. This is professionally problematic, considering my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hungry=Stupid 😋Strategic Planning 📅Bed Sizes 🛏️ Hunger is a strong motivator. This, most of us know. Yet I witnessed this truth at a whole new level this weekend. Wifey Poo and I traveled up to Hannibal, Missourah, for a few days. Hannibal, for you uncultured folks, is the hometown of Mark…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Change 🌀Me, Different 😷Bad Baseball ⚾ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Most everything in humanity is governed by two intertwined forces. Supply and demand. Scarcity. Whether its the economy or human emotions, everything about us is geared toward responding to these two things. For example, when there…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double Standards 🦅Birthday Deals 🎁Video Guy 📹 The United States has a problem with hypocrisy. Don’t worry, though; it’s nothing new. It just happens to be glaringly apparent right now. Our revered Founding Fathers got things off on a really bad foot when they penned the lofty statement that all men…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Revolution 🌍Rain 🌧️Refund 💰 By this time tomorrow, I will have completed 48 trips around the sun. Or is it 47 and I’ll be starting my 48th? Whatever. I’ll be 48 years old tomorrow. I have to admit, I’m feeling kinda blah about it. Looking back, this past revolution was busy…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bitchy Mother Nature 🌧️⚡Tech Woes 🖥️Maturation 👦 Overnight storms made for a restless night, as waves of rain and thunder rolled through our section of Missourah. Flash flood warnings pinged my phone sometime in the middle of the night, and by the time I left for my drive to work, eastbound…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rollercoasters 🎢Sad Puppy 🐶News Roundup 🤖 It’s possible to think a lot of thoughts while plummeting 90 feet at a 90-degree angle while staring up at the sun. This I learned yesterday while at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missourah, with the Core Four, Div, Wifey Poo’s baby sister and baby…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Date Day 🤟🏽Prison Justice 👊Universe Questions 🚀 Wifey Poo and I ended up having more than 12 hours to ourselves yesterday here in the Midwest Redneck Mecca of Branson, Missourah. Boys The Elder and Younger, along with BTE’s lovely girlfriend of nearly three years, and Wifey Poo’s baby sister and family…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩WFH WTF? 🧑💼Rebel Ball ⚾Psych Myth 🧠 As a writer/columnist/blogger/thought-spewer, I always enjoy when I get something out there before anyone else. I dug that when I was a newspaper journalist, and I dig it now. That’s why I’m happy to be hearing national publications and sites like Business Insider starting…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fahrenheit 🌡️Blindingly White ⬜Alone Time 👴 Muricah is very much a reactionary nation. Much of what we do and who we are is because we were pissed off about the way someone else did things. Monarchy? We’ll have a democracy, thank you very much. The metric system? We’ll measure stuff our…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tryouts ⚾BBQ Sauce🍖TMNT🐢 There is cause for celebration in the Core Four: Boy The Younger has been drafted. Sadly, we’re not talking about the ongoing Major League Baseball draft. Rather, we’re talking about the sick modern world of Little League baseball. Not to get too “Get off my lawn!” on you,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Growth 💗Dreams 💤Redecorating 🛋️ There are moments in a dad’s life in which he can see the growth of his sons quite clearly. Sometimes that growth is physical. One day, Boy The Elder was a short, stocky little boy and then, boom, he came home from his high school job at…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Burn Pit🔥Alaska Ass🍑Nose Hair🐽 Having a plan is a far different thing from having a plan work out. I’m really good at the former, yet the latter seems to be extremely elusive. Yesterday, my plan was to take the huge pile of chopped-down cedar-tree limbs that have been in my backyard…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Jewel💎First Kiss💋Slow Ahead🐢 Wifey Poo and I are headed out into the sweltering hell that is Missourah this evening to see the woman who, should she knock on my door and say “let’s go,” I am fully empowered to join in the next part of life’s journey. I jest. Sort of.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Parenthood 🚓Alexa 📋Quick-Hitters 👋 Just about every statistic imaginable tells us we shouldn’t have kids — at least, not if we’re concerned about our own happiness, mental health, marriage, career, finances, time or ability to buy a really boss car instead of a freaking minivan. Yet here we are, still a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Lawrence Pfaff Sr. Sucks 🚓Engagement Talk 🌯Quick-Hitters 👋 From what I know of Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr. of Belmont, NY, he was kind of a douche. The 81-year-old man died on June 27. I never met him. Never even heard of him. Until I read his obit. And about that obit?…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Travelling Companion🚓Free Beans 🌯Unfollowed 👋 Brandy Bottone is either stupid or brilliant. Whichever it is, she’s also right. The Texas woman was traveling in the HOV lane — which, for the country folk out there, stands for High Occupancy Vehicle and is reserved for cars with two or more people to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Slots 🎰Dude Perfect ⚽Bye Bye Facebook? 👋 My mother-in-law (AKA The Judester) is nearly 81 years old and has knee problems that keep her from getting around too well these days. Watching her stand up from a chair is to feel pain yourself. Yet when I walked into the Ameristar casino…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Reflections on Grandma 👵Kids & Death 👨👦👦Don’t Say It 🤫 My grandma died yesterday, four days shy of her 96th birthday. As it goes with people at that age, it wasn’t a surprise. She had been fading for more than a year and, though she still was breathing, that version of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sleepwalking 🧨DnD Gang 🎲Gas Idiots 🛢️ If there were a day-by-day measure of the collective output of workers in these here United States of Amuricah (and for all I know, there is), I would venture to guess that July 5 ain’t our most productive day. I base this on my observations…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stupid Parade 🧨Math Matters ➗What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Not being a hugely patriotic person at this point in my life, I made no plans to go to any Fourth of July parade this year. It seems mighty foolish to be celebrating freedoms that are eroding right before our eyes, though I…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alone Time, Girl Time 👩👧Picture Hanger🔨What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Wifey Poo and I found ourselves in an interesting position at home today for a little bit: Alone. Boy The Elder took off for Six Flags with his buds, and Boy The Younger left with a friend and his family (Chicken Owner,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oil Change 👨🔧Goose Lover🛦Church & State⛪ Based on my history, the last place anyone should ever look for me is underneath a car. Yet that’s where I found myself late this morning, side-by-side with Boy The Elder as he showed me exactly how stupid I’ve been all my life. I’m not…Keep reading