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Monday, April 30, 2012

Big money and big media

You may have heard that Verizon is trying to buy a big piece of public access media.

I believe that having few conglomerates control too much media is detrimental to democracy.

This past week Bill Moyers had a fascinating conversation on this very subject with Marty Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at USC and an entertainment industry expert. 

Moyers and Kaplan talked at length about today's special interest political environment and the media, specifically how news is covered. Or, rather, how it is not covered. 

Most big media today is owned by big money whose focus is on entertainment. And news which used to be in covered through the realm of journalism is now in the entertainment box.

The founding fathers couldn't have anticipated that a small group of people would create an environment in which facts, truth and accountability wouldn't matter as much as entertainment. As Kaplan pointed out, "So, because it's not entertaining, because the stations think it's ratings poison, they don't cover it on the news."

He has been studying the media since 1998.  Not long ago, he did a study of the Los Angeles media market looking at every station airing news and every news broadcast they aired round the clock. 

"We put together a composite half hour of news. And if you ask, "How much in that half hour was about transportation, education law enforcement, ordinances, tax policy?" everything involving locals, from city to county. The answer is, in a half hour, 22 seconds."

When Moyers exclaimed, "Twenty-two seconds devoted to what one would think are the serious issues of democracy, right?" Kaplan added, "Yes. Whereas, in fact, there are three minutes about crime, and two and a half minutes about the ugliest dog contest, and two minutes about entertainment." 

Without an independent press and investigative journalism, democracy as we knew it is in peril.  

I recommend everyone listen to the entire interview

~ Paula

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Long-Term Care Pro

A while back I posted a blog about Rachael Veitch, a 93-year-old woman from Florida who has been driving her 1964 Mercury Comet for 48 years. Through the years, she has obsessively fussed over and tended to her “lovely Chariot,” and because of her tender loving care her car has taken her down the road for more than 576,000 miles. So it’s evident Rachael knows the value of taking care of things for the long term.
Unfortunately, Rachael recently had to retire her trusty old friend due to the development of macular degeneration in both eyes, making her legally blind. But it seems she has established a pretty good track record for herself – she’s still in very good health, and her car is still in excellent working order. So I’m betting Rachael has also laid out a plan to take care of herself during her remaining years.

Not all of us adequately prepare ourselves for our futures. Many of us may find ourselves needing to be placed in a long-term care facility, and if we haven’t planned for this eventuality, we may have no choice over which facility or where it’s located. It might not even be located in or near the community we’ve lived in our whole lives. Therefore, it’s important to talk to family or loved ones, map out a plan and, if financially feasible, obtain long-term care insurance. Then we can rest comfortably, as I hope Rachael Veitch is able to do, knowing our long-term care needs will be taken care of the way we planned.