Friday, March 28, 2014

Pluses & Minuses Of The Modern World

In political news-speak, Friday used to be known as "trash day." That was the day of the week when - if you were involved in politics or government - you tended to release information you'd rather the public didn't see. With the 24/7 internet media cycle we all live in today, however, stories about almost anyone's latest stupid, ugly, or unfortunate actions won't just be buried in the late edition of the Friday afternoon newspaper - the one almost nobody would read - and forgotten.

That means that whether you're a Democratic politican in San Francisco getting arrested in corruption raids, or a Republican Governor of New Jersey trying to sell an obviously fictionalized legal defense, your dirty laundry isn't going to be easily swept under the proverbial rug.

As both journalists and citizens, that's a change from how things used to be - one that all our staff members tend to think of as a positive development.

Sadly, for every 'yin' there's a 'yang', and in the world of media, that 'yang' remains the incredibly destructive 'Citizens United' decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has allowed the billionaire political bosses and their flood of nearly unlimited campaign propaganda.

As Americans all over the country have already been finding out this election year, the peace and quiet of their own homes is already being disturbed by the disgusting, filth-and-lies oozing monster of effectively unlimited campaign contributions buying ad after ad on our televisions, radios, and computers.

From the Koch Brothers and their ads which have been repeatedly debunked, to billionaire Sheldon Adelson who outwardly is admitting he's trying to buy the best candidates to win in 2016, the corrosive effects of too much poorly regulated money in our political system is all over our media. That kind of oozing media monster isn't always effective - as the ridiculous castration ad from Joni Earnst in Iowa, and the incredibly out-of-touch Duke-over-Kentucky ad of Mitch McConnell have already proven this cycle.

Not all stories about money and politics in America today are bad, however.

What if we told you there's a young man, who has instant access to one of the richest men in the world, and who's aiming to get money almost completely out of politics in America. His plan would include getting all those political ads off your TV...in the next seven years.

That young man's name is Jonathan Soros, son of well-known multibillionaire George Soros - though, as he's displayed in more than one arena, he's more than just the scion of one of the wealthiest persons on Earth.

David Freedlander, in Politico Magazine, just published a fantastic focus piece on the younger Soros, and his efforts with the Friends of Democracy PAC. That's a political action committee the young private investment operator is aiming to use to get money almost completely out of politics here in America. While the younger Soros is working on legislative efforts both in Congress, and in his own home state of New York, he has no problem taking on unsavory oligarchs like Tom Perkins, as Soros did in Reuters just last month.

Of course, we're skeptical of whether he'll be successful - but we're actually more than a bit hopeful he will be, for all kinds of reasons, both personal and professional.

One of the biggest reasons we hope Jonathan Soros is successful...? We'd like to watch a little bit of TV, sometime in the near future, without having to face the monster of bad political advertising in our off time.

At least we have a wonderful tool known as the remote control to help us avoid those silly ads, for now.

Ahhhh, the wonders of the modern world.