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A journalist friend: Everyone has biases, but reporters and editors are supposed to check that at the door when they do their jobs. As a journalist, I am embarrassed by the actions, statements, editorializing etc. Of the mainstream news media. There has been a complete double standard of coverage on this president vs. The last one. The last one could do no wrong in the media’s eyes and the current one can do nothing right. That is a problem.
Comment from another friend:. Chuck needs more friends like you
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Charles Ebeling
Charles Ebeling (Journalist above) is a friend, but we disagree. My long career in PR taught me that every media person has a personal bias. Some overcome that, and some don’t, and some use it as a moral compass for their journalism. Most are a bit of all three, to varying extents. I happen to agree with the weight of the current mainstream media regarding Trump, not because of their bias, but because of my own.

The opening scene in 2012, just five years ago, from the TV series  “The Newsroom,” made me tremble back then, and still does today, as the Trump regime bulldozes its way through the increasing rubble of America’s former greatness.

Wonder what I’m talking about? Take a look: you’ll remember.

Everyone, everywhere in this country and around the globe, knows of the high level of political acrimony in America — the right and the left are more viciously opposed than ever, as evidenced by the rude rhetoric heard on the street, in social and mass media, and right up to scathing Tweets from the U.S. President himself.

Add that acrimony to a weaponized America, in which a majority of countrymen are armed to the teeth, with few checks on who may purchase, own and carry guns, including military-type weaponry. We are a country with no will among elected politicians to restrict or repeal this mass weaponization of the public, despite one tragic incident after another.

What happens next? A Congressman in the line of succession to the Presidency is shot, along with several his teammates, by a heavily-armed radicalized civilian, while doing nothing more provocative than practicing for a Congressional baseball game between Republicans and Democrats.

This tragic incident will inevitably lead to increased security and separation from the public of elected officials. It will provoke increased political discord among opportunistic individuals and media. There will be a brief period in which some leaders call for reform.

But, the chances of this cruel incident leading to real and positive change, either in quelling the fruitless heat of political discord rampant across this land, or in prompting much-needed reform of our gun laws, remains predictably remote. Our political leadership and civilians are collectively our own worst enemies in both issues unless people of goodwill and common sense finally raise their voices and say “ENOUGH!”

Is this an educatable moment leading to constructive social change, or will this odd confluence of political acrimony and negligent gun laws drive even more wedges between the people and their leadership? We must do more than hope.

Lots of happy faces have turned their smiles upside down thanks to the cynical idiots who have portrayed clowns as evil or frightful characters, in film and out on the streets. Traditional clowns display outsized happy faces and act out the glee of innocent children. They came down to modern generations in circuses and on early children’s television shows as colorful, happy-go-lucky characters, who could juggle and do magic, jump around and entertain in a jolly manner, make characters out of balloons, and even teach kids simple lessons of life.

How very sad that the contortions of humorless cynics are busy taking away that delight from a new generation of kids, and even the adults who recall happier times, but fear those who now sometimes hide behind masks of terror.

Some of the brightest people I have known and worked with created the happy personality, engaging appearance and educational content practiced by one of the world’s best-known and loved clowns, Ronald McDonald.  They brought life to his jolly demeanor, and helped him entertain millions of kids at birthday parties, special events, on TV,in schools and hospitals and even, sometimes at McDonald’s itself.

Now, thanks to the rabble who have turned some clownish smiles into toothy glares, and even threatened people on the streets, even McDonald’s has been forced to keep Ronald at home more often. Spoilsports, nasty adolescents, small criminals and grossly-mistaken people have tried to take the clowns away from a generation that needs small jolts of simple joy and happiness more than ever.

I was lucky enough, some forty years ago, to have been part of a group that put special places of comfort and relief for parents of seriously ill children on the map of America and around the world. They are called Ronald McDonald Houses. How did they get that name? Not because McDonald’s, as a major financial supporter, had recommended the name. Because one of the volunteers thought that the happy environment conjured up by association with Ronald would give these houses an upbeat and hopeful image. The image was a happy one, and kids being treated for serious illnesses could get a smile when they heard their parents or siblings were staying at Ronald McDonald’s house, and even visit them there.

Two generations ago, my family owned part of a circus, and my Dad and Aunt had circus horses to ride, and clown culture was part of family life. My own professional life was filled  with creating events and materials full of upbeat clown content: Ronald McDonald Shows, including school safety and environmental lessons delivered by Ronald, working with the talented comedians and others who trained and motivated those who played Ronald McDonald, naming a major national and international children’s charity after that very clown — Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Today, the explorers of artificial intelligence are creating human-like exteriors for robots, so that people will find it easier to interact with them. A clown face is but an exaggeration of a smiling human, designed to elicit a big smile in return. Anything else is not a clown, but someone’s dark dream. I say, “Bring in the clowns, the real clowns, and let’s smile again!”

Yes, it is amazing news in these times, but some newspapers are actually increasing their circulation. More incredible to me is that the Chicago Sun-Times (of Roger Ebert fame) is leading the list.

Here’s the link to the story: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-25-newspapers-growth-los-angeles-times-roger-ebert-2011-5

August 2017
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