Tag Archives: social media

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.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

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!

These aren’t my ‘friends’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have just finished chuckling  under my breath at a “friend” request I received on my Facebook page.

Why am I chuckling?

I admit that I probably spend too much time on Facebook. I use the social medium to distribute my blog; I have plenty of actual friends and even more than a smattering of Facebook “friends” with whom I have a casual relationship. Many of them are kind enough to share my blog posts with those on their networks. To them I say “thank you.”

What about these “friend” requests I keep getting?

They usually are from individuals who present themselves as attractive females. I delete them immediately for a number of reasons.

None of them provides me any background info on them. No places of birth; no work history; no relationship information; no educational background info.

A word to the wise: Do not bother to send me these requests if you decline to tell me anything about yourself.

One more aspect of these “friend” requests gives me pause. If they do not send me any background info, then I immediately grow suspicious that the individual whose picture appears on the request is actually, um, that person. Do you get my drift? Is the young woman in fact an overweight knuckle-dragger with half his teeth missing?

If you’re going to solicit me for my “friendship” on social media, at least prove to me that you are who you say you are … not that I will accept the request, mind you.

Are we clear? Good!

More critics, please

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I don’t get nearly enough feedback from critics of this blog.

Yes, I enjoy the affirmation I get from those happen to agree with the points of view High Plains Blogger expresses. I don’t want that to end.

However, I do want more critics to see these blog posts, to share them with their friends and associates in social media land, and to respond to me with constructive criticism.

One such critic lauded me for the way I express myself but then said it would be “boring” to hear only from those who agree with me. He is right. Indeed, I once commented on that very subject back when I was writing columns and editorials for the Amarillo Globe-News.

My comment, as I recall it, came in response from a reader in Perryton who chided me for my “liberal” views. I responded in a column that I sought to offer a dissenting view to the readers of the solidly Republican Texas Panhandle. I reminded this fellow that it, indeed, would be boring to receive only affirming comments.

I continue to enjoy writing this blog. It gives me energy. It keeps me engaged in some of the things that required me to stay alert, given that I once got paid to comment on issues of the day. These days I do all this commentary on my own. It’s a labor of love … you know?

My social media acquaintance makes an excellent point, though, about those who comment on my musings/spewage. He weighs in regularly. I appreciate his comments.

I appreciate them so much I want more criticism … as long as it’s constructive.

Fire him for keeps, Facebook

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have an idea on how Facebook should resolve this matter with Donald J. Trump and whether he should ever return to the social medium.

Facebook just needs to ban him for keeps. Permanently. Never again should he be allowed to spew the ranting lies that fly out of his mouth and off his fingertips.

There. How’s that?

Facebook’s board of oversight has ruled that the social media giant should keep him off the platform but admonished the company for failing to set a definite timetable for his return, or declare that he is banned for keeps.

I say ban the ex-POTUS forever!

Facebook took his account down after the Jan. 6 insurrection/riot/terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol. You remember that, yes? It was a hideous display of inciting violence by the then-president who continues to this very hour to promote the Big Lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him through rampant vote fraud. Well, it wasn’t stolen. Joe Biden was elected president freely, fairly and legally.

Here’s my version of the threshold question: Do you trust Donald Trump to stop promoting the Big Lie and to speak responsibly on Facebook? Here is my answer: I do not!

Donald Trump is arguably the most untrustworthy U.S. politician to come along since, oh, I don’t know if anyone else ever has approached this clown’s level of deceit, dissembling and duplicity. He cannot tell the truth. He is … a liar! 

Facebook has six months to decide whether to lift the ban or impose it permanently. Its oversight board said an “indefinite” ban wasn’t in keeping with Facebooks own criteria. It needs to get specific.

So, ban him for life!

Facebook makes right call

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This won’t surprise anyone in the least, but I happen to believe Facebook’s oversight board made the right call in keeping Donald Trump away from the social medium.

The board made its decision known this morning, citing Trump’s incitement of the insurrection on The Sixth of January, the one that sought to overturn the results of a free and fair election that chose Joe Biden to be president and threw Trump out of office.

Trump used Facebook as a method of stirring up the rioters who stormed the Capitol Building, killing four individuals — including a police officer — threatened to “Hang Mike Pence!” and sought to hunt down other elected officials.

It was an insurrection against the government and it sought to destroy the democratic process.

The decision carries some stipulations, according to the New York Times, which reported: But the board also said that Facebook’s penalty of an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate,” and that the company should apply a “defined penalty.” The board gave Facebook six months to make its final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

“Our sole job is to hold this extremely powerful organization, Facebook, to be held accountable,” Michael McConnell, co-chair of the Oversight Board, said on a call with reporters. The decision “did not meet these standards,” he said.

Facebook’s Ban of Trump Upheld by Oversight Board (msn.com)

I can hear the outcry building now. Conservatives are going to bitch about Facebook being too friendly to liberals, that the platform seeks to punish those who hold views that differ from their own. Baloney!

As I have followed this tempest, Facebook based its decision to ban Trump because the ex-POTUS keeps telling the Big Lie about the 2020 election being “stolen” from him and that his words had a demonstrable effect on the rioters who sought to pillage and plunder the seat of our federal government.

Is that really a partisan matter? No, it is not!

The overseers of Facebook have given the platform six months to decide on Trump’s status. Take all the time you need and have been given, Facebook. Donald John Trump is a menace, a disgrace and is the true “enemy of the people.”

In defense of newspapers

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Every so often I find myself answering the same question and I have refined my answer to a level I can explain with relative ease.

It came to me again this morning right here in Princeton, Texas. A young dental hygienist asked me what I did for a living. I told her I am retired but was a journalist for nearly four decades. I reported for newspapers, I told her, and then gravitated to opinion writing and editing.

She gave me the obligatory “I like holding a newspaper in my hands” while reading it and then asked: Do you think the reporting is unbiased?

Hmm. It is, I told her. I mentioned that many newspapers around the world — large, small and all sizes in between — continue to do first-rate reporting. They get to the facts, report them fairly and accurately.

What has changed, I told my new friend, is the audience. Consumers of news now seem to want more opinion, I said. I encourage her to look carefully at how large newspapers are covering events of the day.

I didn’t get a sense of her bias, although I reminded her that in my years working as a journalist I learned that “bias inherently is in the eyes of the consumer.” People ascribe bias to solid news reporting when it doesn’t comport with their own world view. Thus, the audience has changed its outlook.

Newspapers continue to do good work. The big folks — Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, you name ’em — keep churning out good work for readers to consume. Some newspaper publishers do look for ways to cover stories intending to embarrass certain people in high places. I have learned to look the other way when I see the names of certain news organizations plastered on stories that have that ring of sensationalism.

I admit freely — and I have done so repeatedly over the years — that I do not disguise my own bias. I have it. You have it. We all have our bias. However, I am able to disseminate hard, cold facts from what I call “advocacy journalism.”

Believe me, there remains plenty of great reporting of just the facts out there.

Calling all comments

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As many of you know already, I love to write this blog. It gives me great relief, allowing me to vent on this and that, to provide my admittedly biased perspective on world events and news of the day.

However, it does provide me with a frustration. Really, it’s just one for now.

I post these items on WordPress, a platform designed for this kind of cyber activity. I also distribute it along several social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Each blog entry on WordPress contains a tab that allows readers to offer comment.

My frustration? So few readers of this blog actually take a moment to comment. One gentleman comments regularly. That’s it! No one else weighs in. Well, mostly no one.

High Plains Blogger, I am proud to declare, is read around the world. The vast majority of visitors to the blog, of course, reside in the United States. But a healthy minority of them also reside in Ireland, in Ghana, Australia, Germany.

It reaches tens of thousands of people each year. I enjoy the worldwide impact this blog might be having; I cannot confirm any impact, because I cannot be sure whose blood might be boiling or who might want to offer me an atta boy.

Occasionally I hear from a critic. They weigh in, offer a comment or two telling me I’m a dumbass. I usually respond to them, often with a touch of snark. Hey, it goes with the territory.

This blog post seeks to solicit more comments. I want there to be some honest discussion. Moreover, be advised that I never have rejected a comment because it disagrees with the brilliant observation I offer.

The invitation is out there.

Phrases that drive you nuts

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I belong to a social media group that comprises alumni from my high school in Portland, Ore.

Someone in that group posted the picture you see with this brief post. I responded with “at the end of the day.” The question posed has sparked a lively talk among fellow graduates of Parkrose High School.

I feel a need to explain why “at the end of the day” is No. 1 on my list of annoying phrases.

It is, to put it simply, a setup for what comes next from the person who says it. The phrase seems to come most often from politician who are in the middle of some monologue about a policy matter. They will tell you, “At the end of the day” and then mutter a phrase that — in their vacuous mind — is the most profound statement ever uttered.

It usually is just another platitude.

I suppose I could offer all the other annoying phrases with which I am familiar. I’ll spare you all of that.

Just know that if you tell me something that follows “at the end of the day,” I am likely to scream.

I’m out.

Rep./Dr. Jackson tweets his thoughts … who knew?

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My friends and former neighbors in the Texas Panhandle are getting a totally expected treat from their new congressman: a Twitter storm of statements, proclamations and, dare I say it, demagogic grenades.

Check out a tweet that came from Rep. Ronny Jackson, the newly elected congressman from the 13th Congressional District:

We must say NO to any mandated “vaccine passport.” This isn’t about “stopping the spread,” it’s about CONTROL and restricting our RIGHTS. Vaccine passports = TYRANNY!

You know, I just love the all-caps approach to driving home a point to the faithful. Actually … I don’t. Why not? It’s so, um, Trumpian!

I am thinking at this moment of Mac Thornberry, the actual lifetime resident of the congressional district whom Jackson succeeded when he got elected in 2020. My thought is that Twitter tirades are so not like Thornberry. He was not inclined to fire off Twitter bombs. Thornberry would do that Washington thing, you know … dictate a policy statement and then issue it through his press office. The Thornberry method was more professional and for me more likely to be taken seriously than a wild-eyed, mouth-frothing tweet!

It’s not that Rep. Jackson is a stupid man. He is, after all, a medical doctor who once served as physician to three presidents: George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama and Donald J. Trump and along the way rose to the rank of rear admiral in the Navy.

Now he’s a politician and has taken so very readily to the medium of choice for many blowhards on the left and the right.

I hope my former Texas Panhandle neighbors have a stronger stomach for the upcoming barrage of Twitter messages than I believe I would have were I still living there.