Journalism and citizenship

Yesterday, I considered how citizenship and journalism are closely connected.  A decline in trust of the traditional media and a polarization of the audience makes it harder to find common ground for public discussion.  Journalism has traditionally provided that forum–granted, one shaped by the cultural majority. In the absence of such a forum (and with the increasing anxieties of that majority), others are filling the void, such as Glenn Beck as witnessed by his Restoring Honor rally on Saturday.  As Christopher Hitchins points out, although the rally revolved around general platitudes, the style was one of an aggrieved White community acting like a minority.

“In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It’s not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.”

4 Responses to “Journalism and citizenship”

  1. Anonymous Student in class Says:

    The idea that Beck’s rallies are promoting some sort of distorted view of the Caucasian culture is a lie. He is merely trying to bring people together with a common view. The rally is actually promoting citizenship and had you ever attended one, I imagine that you would see that attendance of such rallies reflect the great diversity of America. Hard working people of different values, different religions and different races come together, celebrate the great strides we have made in the past, and agrieve the way government does not serve the people.
    Why is it dishonorable for Beck to host a rally on Americanism and yet a Cinco de Mayo parade or Martin Luther King’s March on Washington is considered honorable? All of three of these instances are meant to either celebrate cultural heritage or political agrievances.
    While yes, sometimes the meetings get heated, if you look back at history, some of the greatest successes of our nation came from heated words of passion. Was it not Patrick Henry who’s cries of, “Give me libery or give me death!” helped to inspire a nation to pursue the dream of freedom.
    If you listen to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, his words and the crowd too are fired up at points.
    So why is Beck demonized? Personally I have general distaste for him because his tendency to cry during his show makes me rather uncomfortable. In no way, however, does this mean I believe he is racist or is a victim of reverse racism. He merely wants to promote common values and bring us together.
    The fact that people are gathering, and peacefully so (despite mainstream media’s ridiculous, unfounded, and completely undocumented claims) means that he is promoting citizenship. Instead of disenfranchised people who are quite angrered at a government who does not and will not listen to them lashing out violently, they are assembling in dignity and honor for a common goal.
    This actually increases citizenship. People are increasing their social networking, becoming more politically active and therefore, increasing their social capital.
    In short, Beck is not trying to immitate a minority, but instead trying to bring together people and inspire them to continue to participate in democracy when otherwise, they might stop believing in a system that no longer listens to their voices and their interests.

  2. Hugh Brady Says:

    Hasn’t this been the language of the conservative movement since William F. Buckley, Jr., wrote “God and Man at Yale”? That is, hasn’t the conservative movement practically always found its voice by constantly raising the alarm that God was under attack or that other values or institutions valued by the cultural majority are being threatened? It seems that Beck, Palin, et al., are simply continuing this tradition, albeit in a less erudite or thoughtful way. While a large part of it currently seems tied to racial attitudes towards the President, Buckley argued for resistance to Brown v. Board of Education at the time it was decided and for some time thereafter. As the term necessarily implies, conservativism is generally couched as a negative reaction to the progress of the day, whatever that progress may be. It is often the reaction of homogeneity to heterogeneity, and that’s why it makes the proponents seem like members of an “aggrieved minority.”

  3. marlane Says:

    To gain popularity from the people, the media should broadcast issues that appeal to several different audiences, rather than just one. The Hispanic minority is the fastest growing minority in the United States, and the media depicts this minority only as drug dealers, thieves, and rapists. Because of this negative exposure, Hispanics have lost trust and interest in the media.

  4. sarah Says:

    It is frustrating to watch as we become patriots or citizens to the Democratic Party or Republican Party instead of to the U.S. Since when is it equally terrible to betray your country and your political party?
    Everyone needs to stop just taking what they are being fed by the media, like how Obama is a Muslim or Glen Beck is a crazed racist. As citizens and possibly aspiring journalists we should be researching every angle of every story and then perhaps we will have enough information to make up our minds.

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