Time in a gated community of information

            I recently received an offer to come and visit a gated community. You know the kind of place where the people who, “can,” wall themselves up with people who look, think, and act like themselves. The one closest to me is age classified “55 and older”. No one younger than that can live there, and if kids show up for a visit, they better be out of town by sundown! As I tossed the brochure into the garbage, it dawned on me how selective we have become not only with whom we live with, but whom we listen to for our news.  Truly one can ask, what kind of gated community of information do you live in?

            Take for example the question a friend recently asked me:  where did I get my news from. Before I could answer, he proceeded to tell me that Glenn Beck was the only true news source. I sighed and resigned myself to the fact that he and millions like him feel this is true. Despite any of my efforts to point out other news sources and to remind him of the obvious one sided reporting from Beck and what he gets from the fantasy news network, there would be no changing his mind. 

            Feeling the rift between left and right could get no wider; imagine my surprise when I saw that Bill O’reilly was a guest on the Daily Show.  While you may not agree with him, you certainly know who he is. He of course being one of the many commentary specialists from the bastion of doom and gloom republican media machine. O’reilly was promoting his latest book; “Pinheads and Patriots.” Haven’t read it but I learned from the interview that those elected who aren’t conservative enough so to speak, are more likely to be called pinheads than they are patriots. O’reilly notes that our President has been a pinhead a couple of times this past two years. Great to live in a country where you can get on TV, publish literature and overwhelming carry on conversations about how bad you feel the commander in chief does his job. Oops, been there done that!

            I guess the beauty of a free press is that men like O’reilly and Oberman who just came out with his book Pitchforks and Torches touting how irrational the conservatives can be, helps us keep a sense of balance in this country. Unless of course you only follow one sides discourses and information and have no intention of reading the others! Welcome to your   gated community of information!  

            Not surprising the Daily Shows host was on O’reilly’s show not long ago promoting his new book, Earth, a book selling very nicely to its particular gated community as well.  All posturing aside as to who is more left and who is more right and which is the wrong side and which is right, it is still all business folks and getting the word out to others, other than your own gated community, is what making it today is all about.

            So who gives us the best news? Comedian and political satirist, Lewis Black assures us that the only real information out there that we know is true is hanging on secondary school lunchroom walls. If it says peas on Tuesday then you can count on there being peas on Tuesday. Take everything else with suspect. Congress, as we speak, is looking into laws that limit the access to the web by the masses. We need to make sure that the unlimited access we have now stays that way. For even if some prefer to live in a gated community of information, I’m sure the rest of us prefer not to. Now what was that, peas on Tuesday?

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