May 8, 2007

America is still a nation of choices

by Stephen Nelson
It’s hard to pick up a newspaper, watch TV or listen to the radio without opinions and perspectives being broadcast every which way. But is that not what is supposed to happen? In a sense, yes. But many times individuals use their popularity or raised status to stand on a soapbox and preach on things they are anything but knowledgeable. The conservative media call these individuals the media elite. We know them as celebrities.

Many conservative authors have penned books on the pestilence of media elites and their ability to cry foul. Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS correspondent, wrote “Bias” and “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.” Goldberg examined the liberal bias in the media and suffered severe repercussions for what he revealed.

Being shut out of CBS was just the beginning as he was shut out of most general media outlets for surfacing the issues. Goldberg stood behind his views, gained credit as a conservative pundit and that he takes his job as a journalist seriously.

Laura Ingraham describes the elites and what they stand for in her book, “Shut Up & Sing,” not to be confused with the documentary of the same name about the Dixie Chicks.

Ingraham said, “Essentially, the elites are defined not so much by class or wealth or position as they are by a general outlook. Their core belief … is that they are superior to We the People.”

This is an interesting perspective, a perspective that states that elites think they are better (hence the name “elites”) than “average” Americans. When these elites board their soapbox, their intentions are not for the good of the nation or society—only themselves. To be honest, I try not to listen to the voices of those who just like to hear themselves talk but instead to the voices of change.

There is a difference between creating something that sends a message that change is needed and creating something that sends a message that simply says our president is an idiot, expletives excluded. Musicians and actors alike mostly have liberal views, but they are still Americans and entitled to their opinions.

In 2004, the Dixie Chicks proclaimed exactly what they thought of George W. Bush, and the backlash was fiery. They lost a lot of radio time and fans. While maybe that declaration wasn’t the best choice, they came back with a single that spoke vividly about what the singers believed without name-calling.

What drives me crazy is when people will vote for a candidate or issue just because their favorite musician, actor or athlete endorses them. This behavior shows how easily some Americans are influenced.

It also shows how we as Americans take for granted our ability to vote and make choices. Whether you agree with Jennifer Aniston, Sean Hannity, Michael Moore or Pat Robertson, America is still a nation of choices. America is also a nation based on individualism and individual values. Rather than blindly agreeing with celebrities, people should take the time to form their own opinions.

Contact Stephen Nelson at sanelson2@liberty.edu.
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