As a rabbi, I stay away from politics with a ten foot pole. People say the two things never to discuss, are religion, and politics. So for me, a rabbi who majored in Politics at Brandeis University, that makes it difficult to ever engage another human in conversation.
When discussing politics, I inevitably cannot win, and will certainly offend someone, if not everyone. I try to inspire people; I aint in the business of trying to offend people. So I probably should know better, and stop right now.
I did this much in 2016 when I wrote a blog I never published bemoaning the hate and polarization of American society. I wrote how I was sad that there could no longer be open discussions by folks who disagree with one another. I wrote how sad I was that I needed to hide the fact I wrote in my candidate, (who parenthetically was one Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Denver Broncos in 2015) for fear of people labeling me a hateful bigot.
Politics always intrigued me. I campaigned, attended an inauguration, and was politically involved in my high school and college years.
With that lengthy introduction, I must admit, this post really is not meant to be about politics. This post is, however, a complaint about the pathetic state of our news media during this historic crisis in which we find ourselves, and against the overall culture of disdain of opinions not like our own.
Blessedly, I have been able to avoid reading the news all that much. As the only news that ever seems to get reported is bad news, I avoid it altogether. There’s enough to worry about already, without the outside help of the daily news.
Regrettably though, in these historic times, I had initially found it necessary to check the news more. Can/should I go outside? With a mask? Where can I go? What are the symptoms I should be looking for? What is the prognosis? Is a vaccine in the making? How many people have died? Can I do anything to help?
Sadly though, while genuinely trying to find the news, when I look to CNN for information, I find myself reading about Fox News. The other day I came across this lovely CNN headline: “Fox News dumps coronavirus coverage for anti-Obama conspiracy theory.” Totally uninterested in this petty bickering, I turned to Fox News to find this gem of a headline, which I still have no idea what it means: “CNN, MSNBC, quickly dismiss Flynn unmasking revelations as Trump-fueled ‘conspiracy theory.'” If I was not in the middle of something important for work, I would have taken out a pen and paper right then and there, and written the following letter to the editors:
Dear CNN and Fox News,
Stop it. Please, stop it. Reading your articles that try to purport themselves as “news” in which you are throwing jabs at each other is like watching my two year old fight with her five year old sister about who gets to play with the legos first. It is like watching a young child push his sibling off the swing because she looked at him funny, claiming, “well, he started it!” It is like watching my two year old get out of her stroller on a walk, and declare “I don’t want to sit in the stroller; I want to walk– but I DONT want my five year old sister to get to sit in MY stroller either.”
The difference is, that inevitably, one of the siblings gives in, and they get along beautifully for the rest of the day.
When our young kids fight, we parents, ask, “okay children, who will be mevater? (Hebrew word for give in/surrender.) Blessedly, one child always agrees to give in.
So I ask you CNN, and Fox News. Which one of you will be mevater? Which one of you will return to your sacred duty of presenting us, the confused American public, with the news? Which one of you will ignore the pitiful jabs of the other, and fulfill your vital obligation to your viewers? Which one of you will, instead of fueling the culture of hate that permeates our society, emerge as a leader and put an emphatic stop to it? The one who does this, will win my viewership.
Until this happens though, I am going to retreat back under my rock, and pray to G-d this pettiness ends soon.