Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mamet: Conflict, Choice and Surrender

One of my pet peeves about the media is the way that local news, and to a lesser extent network news as well, deals with stories about legislation. "GOP blocks jobs bill," or "Republicans oppose environmental bill" are typical headlines. Rarely does the news story analyse the actual legislation and its likely impact. As David Mamet points out in his column in the November 17, 2011 Jewish Journal, hard analysis may demonstrate that what is sold by its proponents as a "jobs bill" may in fact be more likely to result in the loss of jobs.

Likewise one sees so-called environmental legislation that at best is innocuous in its effect on the environment, and at worse may well result in a decline in environmental quality. And we are all familiar with the "education bill" that if enacted would only further aggravate conditions in our schools.

Sometimes, a deliberately misleading bill of goods is being sold by the media, but quite often the reporter is simply too lazy or too stupid to read and try to understand what the proposed law would accomplish. Frequently enough, the actual objective of the legislation is to line the pockets of someone, or a lot of someones, either politicians or special interest groups, or both. Nonetheless, anyone courageous enough to oppose a "jobs bill" risks being branded as "anti-jobs," opponents of an "education bill" are labeled as anti-education and those who vote to defeat an "environmental bill" earn the reputation of being enemies of the environment, if not of planet earth itself.

In an intelligent and articulate article (what else would one expect of a Pulitzer-prize winning playwright?), Mamet appeals to the American Jewish community not to make the same mistake regarding the "Middle East Peace Process." Do not be so mentally lazy and so craven, he implores, as to fall for the conventional wisdom that if Israel would just make more concessions to the Palestinians, peace would inevitably follow.

Read the column. A summary cannot do it adequate justice.

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