15 Minutes

Watch CBS News Videos Online

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Today, Americans are engrossed in earthquake coverage.  The tremor in Haiti bought unimaginable death and destruction just south of our borders.  Events related to the recovery and rescues emerge as banner headlines.  Haitians Seek Solace Amid the Ruins. For a week now, the struggle to survive, revive the injured, and retrieve the bodies strewn on the streets of Port-au-Prince was also the central theme of most every broadcast.  In the midst of the misery, many Americans, felt desperate for a reprieve from the devastation that emotionally drained them. Millions took time to escape in a welcome distraction.  Sassy, former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin Made Her Debut appearance on Fox.  Tomorrow another reality will replace these stories, just as each superseded the hoopla over Harry Reid’s reference to race.  Metaphorically, the tales provide persons, policies, and, or practices fifteen minutes of fame.  In actuality, these  fade from our mind quickly.  

One narrative can and will replace another instantaneously.  Americans need only an inspiration, a titillation, a temptation, or a tease to turn their thoughts from one subject to another.  Over the next months and years, a myriad of yarns will receive quick and ample consideration.  Populist positions, presented with flare could captivate the country again and then again.

A prominent person fallen from grace might be the nation’s next amusement.  A young boy, or girl, might seem to be in imminent danger.  Another sexy blonde accompanied by her husband could crash the White House gates.  People want “the dirt,” that is, as long as it is not toxic waste, or pollution news.

Ability moves Americans.  We are attracted to appealing personalities, presentations, and performances.  Authority impresses us. We will tune in if, perchance, the President of United States makes an appearance.  The prospect of a sensational speech draws international attention.   This truth is not lost on regular people, politicians, or the President.  Any or each of these individuals might use this “reality” to their advantage.

Mister Obama might, once again, plan to further his own fifteen minutes of renown.  On an issue as important as environmental imbalance, the nation’s Chief Executive did just that.   Mister Obama scheduled “about nine hours” to actively engage in climate change policy negotiations..  This might be considered a colossal amount of time.  After all, President Obama is, as many Americans are, busy.  

Whilst true; people have much to do, perchance, the Chief Executive and citizens have become thrill seekers.  In this country countless wish to be the provocateur.  Others only crave the provocative.  Scientists who study climate change would want to be amongst those who roust the people. Their research, while they believe it to be racy, for most is nothing but mundane.

The veracity is for most environmental explorations are as reality, mundane.  On Monday, it is snowy. Tuesday brings rain.   Wednesday will be sunny.  “Wait five minutes and the weather will change.”  What appears outside the window is merely a matter of natural conditions.  Excitement lies elsewhere. Enter animated images that move quickly across the screen.  Exit purported facts and figures.  Data does not deliver delightful moments.  Decoration, declarations, drama, any distraction, these are the diversions the Western Press provides, and the people demand.  

Possibly, that is why most of us missed previous reports.  In September 1998, headlines heralded, what we experience in modern times is the Fastest mass extinction in Earth history.  While fascinating, this discovery was nowhere near as delicious as Bill Clinton’s testimony about his relationship with a young female assistant.  That little tidbit could easily occupy more than the measured fifteen minutes.

Months earlier, the esteemed Washington Post, also examined the issue.  Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say.   However, for most humans, that morsel was nothing in contrast to the news that a Conservative Group Buys Reagan Ranch.

That the research reveals humans may be the reason for this horrific destruction is nothing since our day of doom cannot be foreseen in the visible future.  The 680-acre Reagan spread being bought by Young America’s Foundation, a 29-year-old group that teaches patriotism, limited government, and other values espoused by the former President, surely that will have an affect on all of society.

Of course, there was the article published late last August; Study Finds Big Storms on a 1,000-Year Rise.  Certainly, this is troublesome for those who  understand How Storms Can Trigger Earthquakes,   Unfortunately, few appreciate what they likely did not read, let alone realize.  No time to waste on climate change, report declares.

Americans are preoccupied with the abrupt, instant, urgent, today and perchance tomorrow, the earthquake in Haiti.   What traditionally garners our attention is massive, murderous, moments that miss those of us in the States by mere miles.  In times such as these, Americans come out en masse.  We donate millions of dollars to a cause.  We cry for what has clearly been a crisis for years.  

Yet, even as we attend to the plight inflicted upon those in Port-au-Prince, and throughout the Haitian terrain, we do not address the notion that man and womankind have an affect on what for eons ago was the natural balance.  In the midst of the mad rush to assist those who were injured during the seismic activity, most overlook what the majority of scientists thought obvious.  Research reveals Point to ‘Carbon Starvation’ as a Cause for Tree Mortality.

It might be said that Americans were consumed with the current circumstances.  There was no time, not even fifteen minutes to contemplate columns that appeared alongside news of the trembler.  The truth might be that dry statistics do not sway people.  

Prowess. Performance. Presence.  Power.  Pretty.  Americans are captivated by what they think cool.  Even corny tales can tempt people, or convince them of what is true.  Persons who are believed to be capable can also be a source of stimulation.  However, nothing compares to the person who falls from grace.  In a world full of individuals who watch television, endlessly, the trivial has replaced principled, profound, practical, and all that is pertinent.   A planet in peril, for citizens who pine for sizzle, is but a distant possibility.  Indeed, most muse; “In my lifetime, I have seen meteorological conditions change.”  The climate offers no warning.  The situation is not critical.

Some in the Press choose to substantiate that sentiment.  Man-made CO2 has minimal effect on climate change, claim global-warming skeptics. Distraction, and the attempt to diminish the deluge of discoveries, is far more electrifying than what appears in scientific archives; Humans Linked to Climate Change.  NASA Study Links Earth Impacts to Human-Caused Climate Change   Perhaps, President Obama said it best long ago, when he was amongst the masses  In 2006, the Senator penned . . ..

It’s hard to deny that all the sound and fury, magnified through television and the internet, coarsens the political culture. It makes tempers flare, helps breed distrust. And whether we politicians like to admit it or not, the constant vitriol can wear on the spirit.

The spin works precisely because the media itself is hospitable to spin. Every reporter in Washington is working under pressure imposed by editors and producers, who in turn are answering to publishers or network executives, who in turn are pouring over last week’s ratings or last year’s circulation figures and trying to survive the growing preference for PlayStation and reality TV. The spin, the amplification of conflict, the indiscriminate search for scandal and miscues – the cumulative impact of all this is to erode any agreed-upon standards for judging the truth.

Sadly, Mister Obama too can get caught up in the cult of culture of personalities, pandemics, Party politics, and a performance.  Given the chance to change the climate in a curative manner, an opportunity to transform policies, and amend practices that harm Mother Earth, Mister Obama faltered.   He fell into the habit that is all-too American.  Follow the favored fifteen minutes of fame rather than do the work necessary to understand, and bring about authentic change.

It seems that Mister Obama did, as citizens do; he chose the path of least resistance.  President Obama  performed in a manner that maintains his celebrity status.  Originally, the Chief Executive expected his travel to Oslo to be ceremonial.   Initially, he wondered whether he would even go to the Summit.  Indeed, it was not until late in November 2009, the White House announced that Mister Obama, who previously had not committed to an appearance at the summit, decided he would deliver a speech.

Extensive pressure from other world leaders and environmental advocates influenced America’s Chief Executive’s decision.  Most thought it vital that Mister Obama make the trip as a statement of American dedication to the climate change discussions. Heads of State from 190 nations, were expected to talk, and produce a definitive, albeit incomplete political declaration.  Surely, fame would be fleeting, if the possibility existed at all at the end of the twelve-day meeting.  A short, and less than fully constructive, Summit could not hope to strike a chord with viewers of reality television.

Pass the cookies and milk.  American Idol is on the telly.  In a country once proud to be the most educated, people perceive airtime is the ultimate achievement.  If an individual has yet to appear on the screen, they gaze longingly at those who have.  People dream of the day when fame is theirs.

Countless wish to be a star.  Be it Barack Obama who flies in solely for the show of an accord on climate change, only to offer none.  or the Golden Globe winners gone wild.  Fifteen minutes of fame is not nearly enough.    Vast numbers of individuals hope to create the video that will go viral, or a tweet that will be picked up by the press.  Perhaps, a facebook message will move the media to cover me, or as meteorological , biological, and experts in Climate Change say, our shared predicament  

The statement the planet is in peril evokes but a small amount of excitement if that.  Indeed, those who see no visible sign of climate change say where is the evidence.  One day it is cold.  The next morning the weather report says it will be warm.  Tales that tell of a dramatic rise and fall of the temperature seem unreal to those who think all is well.  It is as it always was, millions cry, at least in my world.  For billions of beings, life is dull and dreary, that is until fifteen minutes of fame comes their way.  With climate change, a constant, legendary recognition could arrive sooner than later.

Citizens could find themselves caught in a historic blizzard.  However, for the man in the Oval Office, just as for average American Jane’s and Joes, is a not big enough to make an impression on men, women, the President, Premiers,  who prefer to deny the abundance of documentation or answers to the question, does man, or do.Large Dams Alter Extreme Weather Patterns?

As an attractive television meteorologist, a glorious good-looking girl [or gent] with a pointer demonstrates. We watch the visionaries who prance and dance on the screen.  Surely, a physically appealing person can predict the future with flare and finesse.  Scientists may know much, but do not entertain, titillate, or show us what we want, reality in the form of fun, folly, and fulfillment.  Perhaps, the planet in peril will furnish what environmental experts cannot.

Reference Reality . .

Cramer Past Versus Cramer Present; CNBC Future

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On the evening of March 12, 2009, a deal was struck.  Americans looked on.  After a week of on air battles, opponents who had earlier been seen on separate stations, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show and Jim Cramer of Mad Money met face-to-face.  Bombarded with video clips financier Cramer was forced to face his past.  Much was revealed.  An arduous conversation ensued.  Confronted with his own contradictory claims, Mister Cramer promised to transform himself.  Ultimately, Comedian, Jon Stewart and the self-identified “personal guide through the confusing jungle of investing” Jim Cramer shook hands.

Many in the audience were moved.  Countless cried; change could come to America, or at least to CNBC.  For a moment some mused; the “recognized world leader in business news” might be more than a haven for the moneyed.  Perhaps, with this agreement the network would authentically inform the public rather than invite them to invest in corporations who act in ways that are counter to the good of the country.

Other viewers observed the pledge as tenuous.  A forlorn and beaten-down Jim Cramer, with a bit of trepidation and desire to please the public who he felt now might punish him offered his commitment.  He said he would clean-up his act.  Yet, a history of dishonesty caused some viewers to be more than a bit skeptical.  Cynics understood one man’s promise does not a vow to integrity make.  Nor does such supposed harmony eliminate the concern Jon Stewart so aptly stated.  There is a “gap between what CNBC advertises itself to be and what it is,” a means to ensure profits for favored entrepreneurs and enterprises.

Jim Cramer, the Comedy Central host cried, it is not all about you.  Granted, for the week that preceeded this more prominent occasion, “Cramer,” as he is commonly called was the face of a message that helped to encourage an economic failure.  Nonetheless, the man, who is presented as omnipotent, “In Cramer We Trust,” is but a familiar figurehead for a network-wide dubious practice.

Jim’s own dirty laundry was aired publicly, for a week, for he has become the familiar face of CNBC.  His antics, and what many think his arrogance, led to a focus on Jim Cramer.  The depth and deceit evident in the financial wizard’s work was easily documented.  Jon Stewart was able to quickly prove Jim Cramer, the network’s business prophet, was, at best, duplicitous.  Former, hedge-fund proprietor, Jim Cramer would speak a specific gospel one day; then, on a subsequent day, he would apologize for his error.  Countless tapes exposed “one of Wall Street’s most respected and successful money managers” Jim Cramer, was not merely mistaken, he was intentionally deceptive.

Hence, Mister Cramer seemed to be the focus.  He screamed for more attention than his colleagues did or have done, and he received it.  Yet, again as Jon Stewart professed, the problem is the snake oil salesmanship that has become CNBC.  

Jon Stewart said of himself, and by extension, his program, The Daily Show is labeled as entertainment.  The audience is advised; snake oil is for sale here.  Jim Cramer and his cronies, on the other hand do not advertise themselves as marketers.

Although, admittedly, while with Jon Stewart Jim Cramer declared himself a dealer in dollars, not a teacher, an instructor, or an investment counselor.  However, he and his fellow founders of fiscal folly have not stated this truth before.  It took a barrage of videos to bring Jim Cramer to his knees.  

On this auspicious occasion, Mad Money moderator Cramer spoke of the shenanigans in his profession.  At the same time, before the hand shake, defensively, he pleaded his case.  The CNBC professional financier, Cramer spoke of how he had exposed the mischief.  He referenced his “Wall of Shame.”  He also denied the intent of Mad Money, his exceedingly influential television show.  

Detractors have their doubts, just as they have reservations about a commitment to change on the part of the celebrated Jim Cramer.  Those who wish for a channel that advances knowledge remain critical of a network agenda.  The have seen the damage done when a game that allows the affluent to garner greater gains is promoted.  Thus, those desirous of insightful investigative business reports on CNBC rage on.  

People who wish to be informed on investment possibilities posit a petition, a request for a more real delivery of data.  Credo Action invites each of us to be accountable for what is on the airwaves.  If CNBC, a corporation, wants to deliver the goods, we, the people have a responsibility to tell the network what we want.  Please ponder the appeal, and sign if you choose.

Tell CNBC: Listen to Jon Stewart and report the news.

We know about the Bush administration turning a blind eye and refusing to regulate bad behavior.  We know about the banks that played fast and loose with our retirements, and then, when it all blew up, they took golden parachutes lined with our tax dollars.

On March 12, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show discussed another serious problem: financial news networks like CNBC that promoted Wall Street propaganda and then blamed the financial crisis on “losers” who couldn’t make their mortgage payments.

Stewart took on Jim Cramer of CNBC; the interview was moving, appalling, and a searing indictment that hit home for us here at CREDO.  Take a few minutes to see for yourself:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

M – Th 11p / 10c

Jim Cramer Pt. 2

As Stewart said, “So what it feels like to us – and I’m talking purely as a layman – it feels like we are capitalizing your adventure by our pension and our hard earned money.  And that it is a game that you know.  That you know is going on.  But that you go on television as a financial network and pretend isn’t happening.”

Sign this petition today to tell CNBC that they should be ashamed of their behavior.  A financial news channel should investigate and report the truth, not merely air infomercials for Wall Street.

If you can’t watch the video above, you can read a transcript by clicking here.

Also, if you haven’t seen it already, take a few minutes to watch The Daily Show’s collection of CNBC’s worst advice.  It’s pretty insane to see how wrong the supposed “experts” were – and how happy they are to let hardworking Americans take the fall.

It may only be a beginning, a blip on a screen.  Nonetheless, the now famous handshake between Cramer and Stewart may go down in history as the moment when honesty in broadcasting became a priority.  Perchance, change could come to CNBC if the network accepts, in America, the dustup and the economic demise never was all about Jim Cramer.  Citizens in the United States are disgusted with a system that put dollars in the pockets of the super-rich, and places the average American out on the streets.

This is it!  The time has come.  Countless Americans say, as Jon Stewart did, we want the people, wealthy and the woefully poor, to work together for the common good.  Citizens crave a connection to a compassionate CNBC channel, a Jim Cramer who speaks with care for all comers, equally.  

Laypersons yearn for an authentic transformation, not merely a moment captured on screen.  Those desirous of reliable investment information want Jim Cramer of the past to disappear.  They yearn to trust; snake oil will not be identified as instruction.  Citizens in this country ache for a time when a promise made on March 12, 2009 will be a reality lived day in and day out.  

Until then, audiences will but reflect on a freeze-frame.  The average American will ponder whether the once presumed “personal guide to finance” is for real.  The people will look for someone who will not steer them down an endless economic hole.  Possibly, if Jim Cramer was transformed he could be the coveted expert.  However, if CNBC, in the present continues to be the channel it was in the past, the public may decide not to turn to the station.  Should genuine change not come to the network, perchance, Jon Stewart will become the better source for accurate reports.  Stay tuned investors.  CNBC versus CNBC may be the series yet to come.

Reality TV References . . .