My Plan To Save the World
By David Harper
It came to me as I was watching the Winter Olympics. A newscaster appeared on the screen to tell me that I should not worry because they had a helicopter on the way to cover a shooting that had just occurred in Tacoma. All I had to do was wait until their next news show for a full report.
Then I thought: why do I care? Thousands are dying in accidents every day, why is it important that I know about a shooting in a place I never visit? Why are they sending a helicopter, a reporter and a camera man? Why waste all this energy polluting the planet thereby bringing forward the total immersion of New York City by a decade or so?
Then it dawned on me that all this incessant news coverage, from 24 hour news stations to daily newspapers is exactly what is wrong with the world and causing all the unhappiness. We don’t need to know all this stuff. And we don’t need wise-ass talking heads on TV explaining everything to us all the time. It has become so ridiculous that no politician, from the President to the Mayor, can tell us anything any more without someone explaining that it is a plot to raise our taxes for no good reason, or because his brother-in-law will get the contract.
In the thirties, everyone knew politicians were corrupt but they lived with it. Then along came television and now we are riled up on a daily basis. H. L. Mencken said that “Every man should be ashamed of the government he lives under.” He didn’t have any particular party in mind, just whoever was in charge at the moment.
Mencken also said, “A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier,” and since he was a journalist he might have known what he was talking about.
So here’s the plan: Step one: All 24-hour news stations will be shut down immediately. Step two: All TV stations may have only one news show per week that must be broadcast at 8AM Saturday morning so that it does not interfere with the main things worth watching on TV, live sports, children’s cartoons, women’s exercise classes and soap operas. Local stations will be encouraged to share coverage so that only one of them goes to the scene of the latest shooting, thereby saving energy, reducing pollutants and sparing New York City for a decade.
Step three: All newspapers may henceforth publish only once a week. They will be allowed to pick a day and they too are encouraged to share news reports. They will not be allowed to print opinion columns or letters to the Editor.
Step four: No politician will be allowed to buy time on television. Weekly newspapers may print as much political stuff as they think their readers might want. I allow this in the sure knowledge that few people will actually read it.
I think a four-step plan is sufficient to cover the basics. To those of you who think MPSW is dangerous and they need their news coverage hourly I say kindly explain the Senate’s health bill to me. Have you read it? Half the country is ready to fight to the death over it and yet no one knows anything more than what the politicians and the talking heads tell us and they can’t agree on the story themselves.
Speaking of politicians brings me back to H. L. Mencken again. It is interesting that he and Nancy Pelosi are both from Baltimore, which should tell you something.