People who need to shut up in 2011

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Guest post by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter, the Star-Gazer

At the end of the year, hack reporters traditionally make inane statements about what has been important during the past twelve months and what will be important during the next twelve months.  Truth be told, I don’t have a clue. I’m paid to tell you what happens, not why you ought to care about it.

These days, many journalists are breaking that rule. Here’s what that means to you. You know what they think before you know what facts led them to think what they think. What a shame. Why should anyone care what a hack reporter thinks? Reporters aren’t gods, sages or soothsayers. Hell, a lot of them are just plain stupid.

My profoundest hope for 2011–other than getting rid of the IRS and TSA–is that journalists who tell me what they think will shut up.

Whether I’m watching FOX or CNN, I’m pretty well guaranteed to see a bevy of talking heads (usual suspects) who are paraded before my wondering eyes who just happen to feel the same way about the issues that the network feels. Hell, what are the odds that an objective panel of experts would all think the same way?

My profoundest hope–other than not seeing celebrity divorces and affairs spattered all around the Internet like they’re real news–is that those CNN and FOX news panels of “experts” will shut up in 2011.

There’s a fair number of celebrities who need to shut up in 2011 because, quite frankly, we’re tired of hearing how they hate the “evil rich” even though they’re rich and/or seeing them testify before Congress because they’re famous rather than actually knowledgeable about a cause or an issue.

My profoundest hope–other than not seeing boring trailers for movies that are supposed to be funny–is that most celebrities will just speak the lines the writers give them and then shut up in 2011.

“Silence,” Lao Tzu reportedly said, “is a source of great strength.”

Why then, do we admire those who never shut up? This is a puzzlement, if not a paradox. As a hack reporter with credentials that will get me inside any meeting, press conference or sanitarium, I would like to report stories about the strong, silent types rather than the noisy weaklings who occupy so much of our attention, column inches and air time.

Alas, we live in a noisy world of sound bites. As a reporter, I have to report that the beauty queen really wants to feed the hungry, that the movie star who earns more than my neighborhood really cares for the poor, and that the politician cares more about his constituents than his next election. In the world of sound bites, I know from experience that all the usual suspects won’t shut up in 2011. So, my profoundest hope–other than learning that soup makers have decided we don’t need all that damn salt–is that we’ll just stop listening to the people who can’t stop talking.

If silence is golden, then noise must be fool’s gold. All the more reason in 2011 to ask why the people who should shut up won’t give us a moment’s peace.

As a hack writer, I’m paid to listen. Since you’re not, you can tune out all those people who need to shut up in 2011.

Jock

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