American Culture and the Media

An Electronic Cigarette

Earlier this week, there was a furore in the media when some actors were “caught” smoking electronic cigarettes at the Golden Globe awards.  Senators have also gotten on board.  Their charge?  Well, it is one we heard many years ago when I was a kid:  things like this glamorize smoking and shouldn’t be allowed.  Now, don’t lose me here…I’m not going to rail against smoking (but I don’t smoke and don’t think others should).  This is going to be a “let’s think about” type article.

Let’s take everyone at face value:  when kids see people smoking (or certain ads, etc…) they want to smoke too.  Have I got the argument correct?  Ok.  Super.  Are you with me?  Again…great.

What happens after school shootings, mall shootings, etc…?  The call is for more gun control.  What happens when people suggest that perhaps the violent movies influence the actions of the shooters?  We get articles talking about how violent movies don’t play a role.  But wait.  We’re told that seeing people smoking influences kids to smoke…doesn’t it stand to reason that if that were true that seeing people shoot up others influences them too?  I’m all confused now.  If it happens one place, why isn’t the same thing true in another circumstance.

I think there is more at play here.  I think the truth is somewhere in-between.  And I think that truth reveals a lot about American Culture and the Media.  I think the people pushing to condemn the e-cigarette use but allow violent movies have an agenda.  The fact that they don’t like one but don’t have a problem with the other shows this.  If we are honest, the truth is somewhere in the middle:  no, seeing violence doesn’t make everyone want to shoot up a bunch of people just like seeing people smoke (even fake cigarettes) won’t make everyone smoke.  Yes, some people will be influenced to start.  Yes, others won’t.  If you are honest, I think you’ll agree with me.

So, if that is the case, why push one (banning cigarettes) while wanting to keep another (violent movies)?  I think they have an agenda and that is influencing their positions.  This also shows through in other areas too:  trans-fats, coconut oil, sugary drinks, and others.  All this while pushing for things like legalizing pot, mandating abortion coverage, and others.  Some things are allowed and encouraged while other things are looked to be banned.  And the only reasons is “they” (whoever happens to be in charge at the time) is pushing “their” agenda.

We need to be careful.  The media has, if everyone is honest, it is nothing more than yellow journalism (on both sides).  No one is honest.  The news isn’t reported.  The media narrative of the day is reported from certain perspectives instead of the news.  Our country can be great once again; however, we need to be honest.  Honest with each other.  Demand real news from our news…not commentary.

Image from lindsay fox via flickr

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