Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Pathetic Wolf

Go ahead.  Laugh at Wolf Blitzer.  You know you want to do it.

And you wouldn't be laughing about a natural disaster, or at its victims, but at a member of the media elite trying to relate (or trying to appear to relate) to a resident of middle America in a patently condescending fashion.   Blitzer (video below) on the ground with a tornado victim, says to a young woman and her baby "But we're happy you're here; you guys did a great job and you've got to thank the Lord, right?  Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?"

Hesitating, the woman (whose theological views differ from mine) replies "well, I'm actually an atheist."

Well, she actually is courageous, remarkably so.  Digby comments

I don't know what Blitzer's personal religious views are, but he comes across in this segment as attempting to talk down to the "little people" of Oklahoma as one of them by using their religious vernacular. Blitzer doesn't seem like the Bible-thumping type, but he is extremely condescending and constantly out of his depth. Fantastically for her, the tornado victim he was interviewing had the courage of her convictions and embarrassed the heck out of him.

But it goes beyond that because the alternative is so very easy and, yes, so politically correct.   Prompted by the interviewer, the interviewee could have responded as does virtually everyone in an even vaguely similar situation and agreed that God has smiled upon her.   She might have ascribed her good fortune to the Almighty, thereby implying that God had the good sense to single her out for favor.

But she did not.  With a notable sense of grace, the woman stated her opinion, which served as an inadvertent rebuke to an anchorman playing reporter, and a poor one at that. She might have given God the credit her life was spared- while that of so many others wasn't- and pleased the network newsman.

Privately thanking God, in whatever way the individual wishes, is a personal act one willingly chooses.   A reporter not covering a religious story should not, in courtroom vernacular, "lead the witness," but instead allow the individual opportunity to express herself in the sacred or secular manner she chooses.  Blitzer needn't have pursued an expression of gratitude for the Almighty from his subject.  There will be plenty of people now, and in the next disaster, who will do so unprompted, in some cases sincerely, in others not.   For them and for all the others, it is a choice no network personality, eager to trivialize religious faith, should attempt to influence.

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