GAVEL GAMUT By Jim Redwine

The national media push a highly addictive drug called paranoia. If one wants to get a reliable weather forecast or find out if a local kitten is not lost, local T.V. and regional newspapers are the best source. But if we are in need of a rush brought on by fear of catastrophe or schadenfreude, we flip the remote incessantly between CNN and FOX. CBS, NBC and ABC are available but boring. PBS can be interesting but is about as exciting as a library. No, if we want cataclysm or the satisfaction of seeing the rich and powerful fail, we must have cable. You might wonder about MSNBC but we can only take so much self-indulgent cynicism.

Gentle Reader, if you were awake, as I was at 4:00 a.m. staring at the peach-colored ceiling and wondering if I should use the restroom again or make a cup of coffee, you may have defaulted to cable T.V. That is where I saw the bobbleheads of CNN and FOX fervently seeking our advertising eyeballs by continually ratcheting up the partisan rhetoric. In between the machine gun fire of five minutes of adds were crammed five-minute exhortations camouflaged as news. Today, as usual, CNN was frothing about Donald Trump and FOX was exorcised about Cuba and communism, which FOX posited was one and the same.

CNN was giddy with the no-so-breaking story that former President Trump was unhappy about the last election, so much so that General Mark Milley, Trump’s choice for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the military, was concerned about a peaceful transfer of power. FOX apparently either did not know who Milley was or did not care. FOX made no mention of this “bombshell” possibility. FOX was excitedly showing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign coozies which attacked Anthony Fauci as FOX repeatedly rolled film of protests in Cuba. CNN did not take note of Cuba nor communism as its commentators were busy extolling the virtues of giving away trillions of dollars of borrowed taxpayer money.

What came through quite clearly, even as I dozed in and out while desperately seeking facts hidden among the rushes of opinion, was that CNN and FOX both believed that Chicken Little was correct. Each of their favorite evil acorns that fall upon us is a harbinger of the sky’s collapse upon America. We must eliminate all vestiges of Trumpism, and now DeSantisism too, along with President Biden and any federal help for poor people. Of course, we can do this by buying the products hawked among the invective spewed by the incredulous news anchors. Just as grade school teachers emphasizing that we children should obey the crossing guards, cable news claims it is our best source for gospel; critical analysis is just too much trouble and no fun besides. Most importantly, run out and buy more stuff before prices rise again.

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