Well, I stirred up a can of worms at Thanksgiving lunch by accident…
Let me set the stage here. There were probably 25-30 people present ranging in age from 12-89; of those three were in their 80’s (husband-WWII vet 101st Airborne, wife and wife’s sister), fourteen of us between 50 and 60 (six couples, two stragglers; five veterans- primarily Vietnam), six in their mid-20’s (two couples, two stragglers; one National Guard), and three to seven kids 12-17 at various times.
I was asked by the kid in the Guard, who is just back from a second tour, what my perspective was since I work in DC, I told him based on what I was seeing, we were definitely gaining on the problems in Iraq, and Afghanistan was a break even, better if Bhutto gets back in and gets us into the tribal areas where bin Laden is hiding.
One of the old ladies overheard my comment and basically called me a liar, she said that was NOT what she had seen on the news, or read in the papers and how could I possibly know, etc…
The next question I asked was, “Well, what news are you talking about?”
Her answer, echoed by her sister was CBS, NBC, ABC, they didn’t believe cable news.
The wife of the lawyer in our age group piped up that she agreed, because she listened to NPR and they were ‘official sources’ so they had to be right. She also said she watched a lot of the news shows; Oprah, Dr. Phool, etc. and they all said we were losing.
The former Recon Marine, whose son asked the original question, jumped in and said he agreed with me, so did the rest of the veterans. Of course the lawyer just had to jump in, and he pretty much parrotted the “we’ve lost and need to bring the boys home, it was all about oil and no WMDs, and, and…
The 89 year old rather succinctly called B.S. on the lawyer in language I won’t use here 🙂 He then started in on his wife and sister about how they were being brainwashed by TV and the papers and that they needed to listen to the people who were actually there.
The wife of the kid in the Guard spoke up, and she said everything she was hearing from the other wives was that progress was being made, but it was slow and dangerous. She admitted she had been scared s**tless while her husband had been gone, but believed in him and the Commanders that it was the right thing. The other young couple agreed, and said they were getting their information from the Internet and cable.
One of the wives in our age group chimed in that she listened to talk radio and regularly surfed the Internet to stay abreast of what was happening. She also said they almost never watched the mainstream media, just CNN, Fox News, Discovery and History channels, and sports.
The seventeen year old boy was asked what he thought and he indicated he wanted to go into the Marines like his dad had done. When asked why, he gave a rather interesting answer for a 17 year old- “Well, I see what kind of a man it made my Daddy, and I don’t think I could do better, and a lot of the teachers don’t tell the truth in class. I know I’m not ready to go to college, so if I go in the Marines, I’ll learn a lot and get money for college too. I’m not scared of the fighting, or guns, cause we’ve always had guns and Daddy taught me right.”
Of course Daddy was beaming, and so was Momma, but Grandmother threw an absolute hissy fit…
Bottom line I gathered- Media definitely controls viewpoints. The older generation that is not computer literate and doesn’t watch cable are getting nothing but the MSM point of view. Lawyers and soccer moms are tending the same way adding NPR to the mix. Working parents and veterans are using their experiences, cable news and the Internet to form an opinion based on multiple inputs. The younger generation is living the war with family members going over, and they are using the Internet and networking to get the real scoop unfiltered by any media organizations.