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Absolutely right on! Meet these people every day.. Frankly, I am amazed at how rude and nasty many people are and you can tell that they think they are someone “special.”

Would be nice if people actually did some soul searching after reading this and incorp’d some changes. Might make the world a better place to live..

From CNN

Commentary: Joe, Kanye, Serena — aren’t they special?

Story Highlights

  • Ruben Navarrette Jr.: Joe Wilson, Kanye West, Serena Williams are in the news
  • He says their outbursts have people talking about epidemic of rudeness
  • He says it’s a symptom of a society that has become narcissistic
  • He says parents have raised children who are primarily self-centered
By Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) — Thanks to Joe, Kanye, Serena, and other misfits, a lot of people are talking about how society is undergoing a rash of rudeness.

That’s not completely accurate. It’s more like a rise in self-centeredness.

Among the self-centered: Congressman Joe Wilson, rapper Kanye West and tennis star Serena Williams. But this phenomenon isn’t limited to celebrities and previously anonymous backbenchers in Congress basking in their 15 minutes.

There are many people out there, in all walks of life, who think they’re more significant than they really are. Plagued with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, they feel entitled to do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it no matter whom it hurts.

The self-centered rarely think about the consequences because they’re too busy claiming what they see as their rightful place in the spotlight. And when they’re criticized for letting their narcissism get the best of them and face the wrath of their colleagues or the disapproval of their fans, they might apologize. But, even then, they often don’t do a very good job of it because their heart’s not in it.

They don’t feel genuine remorse but they’ve been told by their press secretaries and publicists to fake it as best they can as part of the damage control. They mouth the words because they consider it to be in their own best interests. It’s always about them.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford made matters worse at home by apologizing for an affair with someone he called his “soul mate.”

Singer Chris Brown — who began performing community service in Virginia this week in connection with his sentence for assaulting his then-girlfriend, singer Rihanna — publicly apologized for the abuse and then played the victim when Oprah Winfrey criticized him.

So how did this virus of self-centeredness get in our national bloodstream?

Some in the media blame the coarseness of talk radio and the Internet where the most extreme voices are the loudest and where people tune in not to hear different points of view but to have their own views validated. That’s no picnic for those of us who won’t be boxed in. I’ve had liberals comment on this site that, as someone who sometimes voices conservative opinions, my column belongs somewhere else. But, when I recently hosted a radio show, and expressed liberal views, an angry caller protectively informed me that “AM talk radio is for conservatives.”

Others blame the look-at-me-I’m-so-special culture bred by egocentric social networking sites such as Facebook, My Space, and Twitter. With thousands of “followers” caring enough to take time from their own day to shadow you through yours, is it any wonder that the followed are getting big heads as they “tweet” what they had for breakfast?

But I’m old-school. I believe that what matters most is not what happens at your computer but around your dinner table. When we consider the reasons for this rash of self-centeredness, I think most of it comes down to just one thing: bad parenting.

Americans have reared at least one generation of kids, or maybe two, to think of themselves as the last bottle of soda pop in the desert. We said we were building children’s self-esteem so they could be successful, but it never occurred to us that giving kids what psychologists call “cheap self-esteem” could do more harm than good by making our kids think they’re 10-feet tall and bulletproof when they’re neither.

Besides, what many of these parents were really doing was feeding their own egos; by telling your kids they’re special, it confirms that you’re special for having such special kids. Isn’t that special?

Experts who study the generations say that, thanks to reliable birth control and legalized abortion, the last couple of generations have been the “most wanted” in American history. When they arrived, we drove them around in minivans with signs that broadcast: “Caution: Baby on Board.” And when they went to school or summer camp, we made sure everyone got a trophy so no one got their feelings hurt.

One person who has zeroed in on this is Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University. Twenge has spent more than a dozen years examining generational differences. Her research includes comparing studies on the self-esteem of more than 60,000 college students across the country from 1968 to 1994.

As a result of this, and the feedback of hundreds of her own students, Twenge has written two highly informed books on our self-centered culture. This year, she put out, “The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement,” with co-author and fellow psychologist W. Keith Campbell.

Twenge recalled the student who asked her to postpone a final exam because it interfered with his plans for a birthday outing to Las Vegas. She also heard from a person who runs a company in Minnesota who said it was not uncommon for employees to call into the office and say they were too tired to come to work.

In their book, Twenge and Campbell list the factors fueling the entitlement mentality. They include celebrity culture and the media, which teach Americans that they’re entitled to be famous.

“Narcissism is absolutely toxic to society,” Twenge told me when I interviewed her about her book a few months ago. “When faced with common resources, narcissists take more for themselves and they leave less for others.”

And, as usual, diagnosing the ailment is easier than curing it. But cure it we must. Before we learn all the wrong lessons and come to think that the abnormal is normal, and the intolerable is acceptable. 

A friend who used to work in the Bush White House tells me that some Republican voters are already flooding the Congressional switchboard and pushing the idea of Joe Wilson running for president in 2012. No lie!

We had better work fast.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ruben Navarrette Jr.

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From The Huffington Post

Posted April 28, 2008 | 09:21 AM (EST)

In the fall of 2002, week after week, I argued vigorously against invading Iraq in debates televised on MSNBC. I used every possible argument that might sway mainstream viewers — no real threat, cost, instability. But as the war neared, my debates were terminated.

In my 2006 book Cable News Confidential, I explained why I lost my airtime:

There was no room for me after MSNBC launched Countdown: Iraq — a daily one-hour show that seemed more keen on glamorizing a potential war than scrutinizing or debating it. Countdown: Iraq featured retired colonels and generals, sometimes resembling boys with war toys as they used props, maps and glitzy graphics to spin invasion scenarios. They reminded me of pumped-up ex-football players doing pre-game analysis and diagramming plays. It was excruciating to be sidelined at MSNBC, watching so many non-debates in which myth and misinformation were served up unchallenged.

It was bad enough to be silenced. Much worse to see that these ex-generals — many working for military corporations — were never in debates, nor asked a tough question by an anchor. (I wasn’t allowed on MSNBC unless balanced by at least one truculent right-winger.)

Except for the brazenness and scope of the Pentagon spin program, I wasn’t shocked by the recent New York Times report exposing how the Pentagon junketed and coached the retired military brass into being “message-force multipliers” and “surrogates” for Donald Rumsfeld’s lethal propaganda.

The biggest villain here is not Rumsfeld or the Pentagon. It’s the TV networks. In the land of the First Amendment, it was their choice to shut down debate and journalism.

No government agency forced MSNBC to repeatedly feature the hawkish generals unopposed. Or fire Phil Donahue. Or smear weapons expert Scott Ritter. Or blacklist former attorney general Ramsey Clark. It was top NBC/MSNBC execs, not the Feds, who imposed a quota system on the Donahue staff requiring two pro-war guests if we booked one anti-war advocate — affirmative action for hawks.

I’m all for a Congressional investigation into the Pentagon’s Iraq propaganda operation — which included an active-duty general exhorting ex-military-turned-paid-pundits that “the strategic target remains our population.”

But I’m also for keeping the focus and onus on CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, even NPR – who were partners in the Pentagon’s mission of “information dominance.” And for us to see that American TV news remains so corrupt today that it has hardly mentioned the Times story on the Pentagon’s pundits, which was based on 8,000 pages of internal Pentagon documents acquired by a successful Times lawsuit.

It’s important to remember that at the same time corporate TV outlets voluntarily abandoned journalistic ethics in the run-up to Iraq, independent media boomed in audience by making totally different journalistic choices. Programs like Democracy Now! featured genuine experts on Iraq who — what a shock! — got the facts right. Independent blogs and websites, propelled by war skepticism, began to soar.

As for the major TV networks, they were not hoodwinked by a Pentagon propaganda scheme. They were willingly complicit, and have been for decades. As FAIR’s director, I began questioning top news executives years ago about their over-reliance on non-debate segments featuring former military brass. After the 1991 Gulf war, CNN and other networks realized that their use of ex-generals had helped the Pentagon dazzle and disinform the public about the conduct of the war.

CNN actually had me debate the issue of ex-military on TV with a retired US Army colonel. Military analysts aren’t used to debates, and this one got heated:

ME: You would never dream of covering the environment by bringing on expert after expert after expert who had all retired from environmental organizations after 20 or 30 years and were still loyal to those groups. You would never discuss the workplace or workers by bringing on expert after expert after expert who’d been in the labor movement and retired in good standing after 30 years. . . . When it comes to war and foreign policy, you bring on all the retired generals, retired secretaries of state.
THE COLONEL (irritably): What do you want, a tax auditor to come in and talk about military strategy?

ME: You hit it on the nail, Colonel. What you need besides the generals and the admirals who can talk about how missiles and bombs are dispatched, you need other experts. You need experts in human rights, you need medical experts, you need relief experts who know what it’s like to talk about bombs falling on people.

Before the debate ended, I expressed my doubts that corporate media would ever quit their addiction to unreliable military sources: “There’s this ritual, it’s a familiar pattern, a routine, where mainstream journalists, after the last war or intervention, say, ‘Boy, we got manipulated. We were taken. But next time, we’re going to be more skeptical.’ And then when the next time comes, it’s the same reporters interviewing the same experts, who buy the distortions from the Pentagon.”

A few years later, during the brutal US-NATO bombing of Serbia, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interviewed CNN vice-president and anchor Frank Sesno:

GOODMAN: If you support the practice of putting ex-military men, generals, on the payroll to share their opinion during a time of war, would you also support putting peace activists on the payroll to give a different opinion in times of war, to be sitting there with the military generals, talking about why they feel that war is not appropriate?
SESNO: We bring the generals in because of their expertise in a particular area. We call them analysts. We don’t bring them in as advocates.

It’s clear: War experts are neutral analysts; peace experts are advocates. Even when the Pentagon helps select and prep the network’s military analysts. Shortly after the Iraq invasion, CNN’s news chief Eason Jordan acknowledged on-air that he’d run the names of potential analysts by the Pentagon: “We got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.”

Of all the excruciating moments for me — after having been terminated by MSNBC along with Phil Donahue and others — the worst was watching retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, NBC’s top military analyst, repeatedly blustering for war on Iraq. Undisclosed to viewers, the general was a member (along with Lieberman, McCain, Kristol and Perle) of the pro-invasion “Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.”

A leading figure in the Pentagon’s pundit corps, no one spewed more nonsense in such an authoritative voice than McCaffrey — for example, on the top-notch advanced planning for securing Iraq: “I just got an update briefing from Secretary Rumsfeld and his team on what’s the aftermath of the fighting. And I was astonished at the complexity and dedication with which they’ve gone about thinking through this.”

After the invasion began, McCaffrey crowed on MSNBC: “Thank God for the Abrams tank and the Bradley fighting vehicle.”

No federal agency forced NBC and MSNBC to put McCaffrey on the air unopposed. No federal agency prevented those networks from telling viewers that the general sat on the boards of several military contractors, including one that made millions for doing God’s work on the Abrams and Bradley.

Genuine separation of press and state is one reason growing numbers of Americans are choosing independent media over corporate media.

And independent media don’t run embarrassing promos of the kind NBC was proudly airing in 2003:

Showdown Iraq, and only NBC News has the experts. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, allied commander during the Gulf War. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, he was the most decorated four-star general in the Army. Gen. Wayne Downing, former special operations commander and White House advisor. Ambassador Richard Butler and former UN weapons inspector David Kay. Nobody has seen Iraq like they have. The experts. The best information from America’s most watched news organization, NBC News.

* *Jeff Cohen is the founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. His latest book is Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. He founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986.

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war-on-terror.jpg

This morning I heard a lot of conversation on CNN on whether or not our shopping malls were safe. I could not believe how much this was a conversation item on the morning news. This bothered me…

I agree that it is really unfortunate that the young man took so many lives in Omaha and then his own yesterday. It sounds as if he had been a very confused individual looking for the attention he knew he would get when he made his dramatic exit. Of course, he was smart enough to know that if he just committed a lone suicide he would not get the same media play he got by taking others with him. His story is a sad one. I feel grief for him as well as for his victims. Please say a prayer for all of them.

But to have this incident, and 3 others that have occurred (at least according to CNN, I have not verified) have our country questioning whether our shopping malls are safe enough is ridiculous.

I got the distinct feeling that CNN was placing the security of our shopping malls on the same playing field as the ‘war on terror.’ It’s like we are supposed to start feeling like there is a boogie man everywhere out there ready to shoot us down and we are never safe. I’m sick of it.

If there should be any issues with security at a shopping mall it should be focused on the mall parking lot. Most malls I frequent are poorly patrolled in the parking lot areas and when one has to park out in the boonies security is an issue. I’m not so concerned with being gunned down as I am being accosted by someone trying to steal my packages, purse or car keys as I fumble my way into my car.

But other than that type of security need, why the 2 hours of talking about how our shopping malls are now so unsafe? Eh, CNN?

Frankly, I have had enough of the ‘war on terror’ junk. I don’t and won’t buy it and I strongly dislike it when the government tries to frighten American citizens with everything that happens or whatever is made up that we are supposed to believe happened. The people need to start their own war on the government and throw this ‘war on terror’ junk right in their faces.

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