Tag Archives: social media

Silly me … so much for offering a different view

Gosh, I guess I was more optimistic about my membership in a social media group than I should ever have been.

I joined a conservative group on Facebook several months ago. I joined to read what the other side is saying about issues of the day. My eyes have been opened, not because I am surprised, but by the various directions certain arguments are able to take from those seeking to make a point.

That’s all fine.

Then I chimed in this morning with a comment about former national security adviser Michael Flynn. A member of this group called Flynn an “honorable man.” Bear in mind that the retired Army lieutenant general set a dubious record by serving just 24 days before he was kicked out for lying to the FBI. I merely questioned the individual’s assertion that Flynn is honorable.

Then came the push back.

To be clear, it wasn’t vicious or malicious. It was, um, just pointed and it told me in clear terms that the folks who belong to this group are in no mood to hear from someone with my particular bias; they are interested only in hearing the bias expressed by those with whom they agree.

I suppose I need to recognize that liberal-leaning social media groups aren’t inclined to welcome thoughts from those on the right. There. I just did recognize that lefties’ bias is as intractable as those who oppose them.

The only criticism I heard that compels to respond directly came from someone who accused me of adhering to the “fake news” media outlets. I will say only that Donald J. Trump and his cabal of cultists are the masters of promoting “fake news.” Example? The Big Lie about the 2020 election being stolen and rigged. That is as “fake” as it gets!

Hey, I won’t take any of it personally. I’ll just be sharing my world view on this blog, which is open to anyone who wants to read it … even those who disagree with it.

If so, let me know what you think. I won’t bite back … I promise!


Watching media struggle

The longer I watch daily newspapers struggle with the changing media landscape, the more I am filled with relief that I am viewing this from a seat on the sidelines.

To be sure, I continue to have my hand in newspapers. I am a freelance reporter for a weekly newspaper in Collin County, Texas. That’s as far as my direct newspaper involvement goes. I like it that way.

However, I am filled with a growing sense of gratitude — yes, gratitude — that I was spared the agony that’s occurring within the craft I pursued with great joy for more than three decades.

I have told you already on this blog about the pain of being told in August 2012 that I would no longer be doing what I had done for the Amarillo, Texas, newspaper for nearly 18 years. I have gotten over that pain and, to be truthful, over my anger at the individual who gave me the bad news. I now am filled with relief and the aforementioned gratitude that he spared me the heartache that has enveloped the newspaper since my departure.

The Globe-News changed ownership. The publisher who in effect gave me my walking papers “stepped down” shortly after the new owners purchased the paper. My thought when I heard he had left was, well, “karma’s a bitch, man.”

The paper’s owners have gutted it. The Globe-News has moved to a suite of offices in a downtown Amarillo bank building. I hear from my friends in the Panhandle that it doesn’t “cover” the community these days, that the paper is full of press releases.

I am on the sidelines these days. My retirement journey is going along swimmingly. I’ll keep writing for the weekly newspaper near my home for as long as they want me; I also will continue writing feature stories for the public radio station, too, for as long as they want me.

Life is good, man.

What’s happening in Amarillo is being felt in communities all across the land. I am delighted to be away from the madness and the misery.


Twitter acts correctly in banning fear-mongering liar

Marjorie Taylor Greene can yap and yammer until she runs out of breath.

Twitter acted correctly when it banned her personal access to the social medium permanently. The company’s reason? Greene, a Republican congresswoman serving her first term from Georgia, is peddling lies and dangerous misinformation about the COVID-19 virus that is still killing Americans.

Yes, it is going to prompt a debate about whether Twitter is violating Greene’s First Amendment right to free speech. It isn’t. You see, it has long been established that the constitutional guarantee does not allow anyone to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater, which is the equivalent of what Greene has been doing by pushing out the lies regarding the COVID virus and the vaccines developed to rid us of the virus’s effects.

Remember that Greene was elected in 2020 to the U.S. House of Representatives and promptly equated mask and vaccine mandates to what Jews endured during the Holocaust. House Republican leaders had the good sense — finally! — to strip her of committee assignments.

She continues to bloviate, though. Twitter, a private company, said it has heard enough from the QAnon queen of the House.

I agree with what the social media firm has done.


Goodbye, Devin Nunes

REUTERS/Erin Scott

This will be brief, but it’s worth saying anyhow.

Devin Nunes is quitting Congress to run a social media company set up by Donald Trump. To which I say … whoopee!

Nunes is a California Republican who helped lead the telling of The Big Lie, the one about the “rampant widespread voter fraud” that resulted in the “theft” of the 2020 election that chose Joe Biden to become president.

Now he is gone from public life. He is going to run a social media company. His experience in that endeavor? None. Zero. Which makes him a perfect fit for a Trump-founded company.

Goodbye and good fu**ing riddance, Devin Nunes.


‘Let’s go, Brandon’ explained

I guess I need to get out more.

This morning I awoke and while catching up on some overnight developments, I found the “Let’s go, Brandon” slogan plastered on several items. I looked up the origin of this phrase I’ve been seeing. I found this on Yahoo news:

Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida ended an Oct. 21 House floor speech with a fist pump and cryptically let out the phrase that’s disguised to be upbeat. A day later, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tweeted the phrase. More recently, Southwest Airlines opened an internal investigation when a pilot used it over the loudspeaker.

The phrase originated at an Oct. 2 NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Brandon Brown, a 28-year-old driver, had won his first Xfinity Series and was being interviewed by an NBC Sports reporter. The crowd behind him was chanting something at first difficult to make out. The reporter suggested they were chanting “Let’s go, Brandon” to cheer the driver. But it was clear they were saying, “(Expletive) Joe Biden.”

What does ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ mean? Everything you need to know about the Joe Biden insult (yahoo.com)

So now it has become a sort of right-wing rallying cry. Social media have carried it around the world, maybe even into outer space.

Again, as with the term “woke” — which still kinda flies over my noggin — I need to understand some of these trendy sayings that grow legs and traipse their way into contemporary public discourse.

I’m not sure how to use the “Let’s go, Brandon” phrase. Is it an epithet? Do I say it when I want to denigrate a liberal/progressive policy? Do I hurl it at President Biden?

I’ll just stick with what I know.


Upsetting news on many levels

The news that a building where I once worked was damaged by fire upset me in more ways than I could have calculated.

Fire has damaged the Amarillo Globe-News building on the outskirts of downtown Amarillo, Texas. It is now vacant, a rotting hulk of a structure that contains a legendary inscription penned by a legendary journalist.

Gene Howe, the former publisher of the newspaper, once wrote: A newspaper may be forgiven for lack of wisdom but never for lack of courage.

The inscription is still there. The building’s inhabitants have vacated the place, having moved to an office suite in a 31-story bank tower around the corner and down the street.

That the building no longer serves as a beacon for good — if not great — journalism in the community is bad enough.

These days I am feeling more like a show-and-tell relic. A former colleague and a still-dear friend and I exchange messages earlier today. I informed her that my granddaughter might one day want me to stand before her classmates so she could tell them what her grandpa used to do for a living.

That likely won’t ever happen. First of all, I don’t even know if they have show and tell these days. Second of all, she might not yet fully comprehend the importance we used to attach to the craft we pursued, often with great joy and equal amounts of diligence and integrity.

Newspapers are becoming a relic of the past, as are those of us who used to fill those pages with words that sought to lend leadership and provide guidance to the communities we served.

The fire at the Globe-News building only reminds me of what used to be in that place. It saddens me at a level I am at this very moment still having trouble understanding.


‘Truth Social’? Seriously?

If there is a more egregiously misnamed outfit than the one Donald J. Trump seeks to create, then someone will have to find it for me. I am at a total loss.

The 45th POTUS is going to launch a social media network he is calling “Truth Social.” Truth Social? Is this guy kidding?

The former Liar in Chief couldn’t tell the truth, or recognize the truth, if it slapped him in the face.

Donald Trump’s Truth Social is headed for ’embarrassing’ failures, Daily Beast report says (msn.com)

He lied some on the order of 30,000 times during his term as POTUS, according to a survey done by the Washington Post. He lied when he never needed to lie. His lies were incessant and gratuitous.

Now he wants to create a new social media network, given that Twitter and Facebook have banned him for, um, lying.

I won’t bother to dial into whatever lies POTUS 45 wants to spin.


Watch out, social media!

Social media can be full of trickery, blind spots and occasional booby traps … which is why I like to use social media platforms primarily to convey thoughts I write on High Plains Blogger.

I kind of ran into one of those booby traps today with a post I shared on a private neighborhood group on Facebook.

The post had to do with an upcoming election in Princeton, Texas, where I live. The city wants to stage an election in November that will ask voters for permission to form a home-rule charter commission to draft a charter for the city to govern itself.

I wanted to share it on a neighborhood group to which my wife and I belong. I submitted the blog post, but it got kicked out. It was rejected by Facebook. The “administrator” of the group where I sent the item said the issue is publishing items on multiple social media platforms.

Hmm. No sweat. Now I hear that Facebook might be monkeying around a bit too liberally with social media content. It is “censoring” some items, one of my “neighbors” wrote.

Whatever. We live now in an era where social media has emerged as a primary source of information for millions of Americans. I have friends and members of my family to rely on social media to give them the “news.” The problem I see with that option is that they aren’t getting “news” the way I understand the term; they are hearing opinions on the news and if you agree with the slant, you listen some more; but if you disagree with it, well, you hit the road.

This the new age in media, my friends. It isn’t pretty. It is, as the late Walter Cronkite would tell us, “the way it is.”


Let’s give this a try

I have just joined a Facebook public policy group that purports to lean to the conservative side of the great divide.

It came to me under the name “Michael Johns.” I joined, read the ground rules and now am awaiting final “approval” by a group “administrator.”

Johns describes himself as a national TEA Party co-founder and an analyst with the Heritage Foundation; he now works as a health care executive.

This could be fun, if they allow me to join. I did get the invitation from this group, so perhaps they want me as part of their group.

You see, I look at public policy from a different point of view. I consider myself a “good government progressive,” which is to say I believe in compromise as a way to further constructive legislation. I do tilt to the left, away from this group I have just joined.

They ask contributors to be “fact based” in their posts. That does give me a bit of pause. Why? Because one side’s “facts” might not comport with the other side’s version of the same term.

So if I post something I consider to be fact based, will the gurus on the other side see it in the same spirit as I have posted it? We’ll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, I look forward to reading more conservative commentary. It likely won’t change my mind on the big, broad policy issues on which I stake my own political comments.

However, I am game … if they are, too.


Pandemic ‘not over’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy today told us a horrifying truth. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, he told Fox News Sunday.

“We’re seeing increases in cases, particularly in parts of the country where the vaccination rates are low,” Dr. Murthy explained.

I’ll embellish a mere sigh with an anguished “arrrgghh!”

We now hear Facebook firing back at President Biden who blames social media platforms for spreading lies about the pandemic vaccines. I am going to stand with the president on this one.

There needs to be greater accountability among social media outlets and the disinformation they distribute. Such as the phony claims of danger posed by the vaccines. There can be no denying the link between the surge in cases and the fact that they are occurring in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low.

It ain’t happening in regions where vaccination rates exceed state and national averages.

Hmm. Is there a message to be learned? Uhh, yeah. Get vaccinated!