Thanks for joining in the conversation!
"It's natural and inevitable for people to form impressions, ideas, and opinions in reaction to news items, subject as ever to ongoing revision as further or different info becomes available."
Hi Laurie. Yes, it is natural for some people but I do not think it is inevitable for all people. I would think that you would be the first to agree that there is no one "natural" way for human beings to process information.
I absorb what I see and hear, but I do not have the type of mind that is interested in speculating about the innocence or guilt of the parties involved. That doesn't mean I have a blank mind, it just means that my mind is different from the minds of people who enjoy trying to figure out what the facts mean in these public cases.
From what I see from your posts, you have wide-ranging interests and you enjoy listening to and reading many different sources in the media, including what I call the "talking heads". I applaud you for being willing to take the time. I personally find it excruciatingly boring to listen to the opinions of people who, to my mind, usually always say exactly what I expect they are going to say.
They have every right to say anything they want, and people have every right to listen to them. I suspect that too many people get too many of their ideas from the talking heads and don't use their own brains to figure things out for themselves, but that is just my opinion.
I certainly do not put you in that category. If I have learned anything about you from your postings on this board, it is that you are the last person to let anyone in the media tell you how to think.
Sometimes I get the feeling that you take it as a personal criticism when others post their opinions that they prefer not to make judgments or that people should hold off on making conclusions as to the guilt or innocence of the parties involved.
The way I see it, you have every right to be who you are, and if you feel like airing your views or feelings or conjectures you should do so.
In an earlier post I said that the main reason I never try to figure it all out is that I once jumped to a conclusion, was adament in my opinion, and I was dead wrong. The injustice of my rush to judgment made me ashamed of myself and I lost interest in ever doing that again.
I did state that I thought Zimmerman's brother was lying, and I will also state that during another interview recently I thought he was an arrogant, cocky, and nasty little "P" word. But that still doesn't enlighten me as to the guilt or innocence of George.
Anyway... my conclusion to all this rambling is that we are all different. No one should judge you for having an opinion, and no one should judge those of us who simply do not form opinions in situations such as this.
I wasn't around here during the Peterson and Anthony cases, but if I had been I would have expressed my wonder at all the attention these two boring cases received. I found nothing of interest whatsoever in either case.
But back to the Martin case. You made many interesting statements I would like to address but at a certain point I bore myself. Lol
What I meant about the jury is that it all comes down to admissible evidence and open minds.
"What's the point of watching or reading news if we can't have reactions to what's in it according to our own lights?"
Hi Laurie, last night I was too tired to respond to some of your points, but this one stayed on my mind.
I watch and read the news for the purpose of having an idea of what is going on in the world. The news gets filed in my head, in case I need to reference it. I generally have very little reaction to it. The only things I react to are items that I may need to follow up, or things I need to beware of.
I have a sister who has strong reactions to everything she sees and hears on the news. She often accuses me of being cold hearted because I do not allow myself to get emotional over every tragedy in the news. It took me years and years of therapy to be able to learn how to keep the tragedies of other folks from depressing me beyond reason.
We are all different and we process these things differently.
EDIT: I realize I have written several responses to your post, but I am just trying to explain my point of view after reading this from you:
"But... but... I still don't get it, Robin and Don. I really don't."
Okay Laurie, Here's my take on the whole mess:
The media is much more widespread and pervasive than ever, and people are much more apt to form strong opinions based on less evidence (or even no evidence) than in past times. Seemingly credible public figures are more likely to make prejudicial statements. Our "real time" news culture is less patient with the process of investigating and bringing a case to trial. Business, careers, agendas, and issues are more affected by events, even if they are only tenuously related. Trials are more often highjacked by issues, issue mongers, and policy makers as they resemble less a search for justice and more a three (or more) ring circus.
I take it back - a circus is more organized and dignified, even if some of the major media players are acting like clowns . . .
The whole mess is complicated by an investigation seemingly prejudicial and incompetent from the get-go.
Yes, there have been sensational trials in our history, but never so often amongst those not in celebrity circles as in recent times.
The coverage of this and other investigations and trials is bombastic - leading to not only forming gerneral impressions, but strong polarization of opinions based on incomplete evidence, sensational journalism, and irresponsible publilc posturing.
The justice system has taken a back seat to public speculation, posturing, and questionable journalism.
Nothing has been fair about this whole event since Mr. Zimmerman first spotted young Mr. Martin. One can only hope our criminal justice system is strong enough to stay the course.
Wasn't very brief was it? Evidently, I'm just as full of hot air as all of the media mavens!
I do agree with much of your post, Don. The 24-hour "news as entertainment" media of today are a far cry from the plainer, simpler (if definitely not kinder, gentler) news media of decades or centuries past. The increased availability in number of hours of news coverage often just means increased repetition of the same stories or shows, however. The focus has become rather obssessive, it would seem. I haven't personally encountered much commentary about the Trayvon case I would consider truly "bombastic", although, as half-New Yorker, maybe my tolerance for bombast and blab is naturally higher, ha. ;-) You see, I LIKE to hear people spout off about stuff. I don't expect that it'll all be reasonable to me or most, though hopefully sooner or later it will be. People's differing thought processes and rhythms are interesting to me. I'm not easily nor superficially swayed by the changes in news media, but I have to acknowledge some people most likely are. Is this the responsibility of the talking heads themselves? I do find it annoying when TV journalists editorialize in the middle of what's supposed to be an actual newscast, when they don't have their own opinion-oriented show. My high school journalism teach would definitely roll over!