Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Journalistic Dumpster Diving

Heralded as a perfectly acceptable alternative lifestyle by MSNBC, a series of articles by staff writer Allison Linn has angered and infuriated many advocates for the poor across the land. The articles, hawked as a 'special report', include the disgusting notion that it's perfectly acceptable in these days of hard times, to go 'dumpster diving' or foraging through garbage cans for the essentials one needs in life, including food.

Written in a writing style that tries to be cute in the way the people that were followed tell their stories, the series chronicles the adventures of a group of people who describe themselves as 'freegans', people who choose to go through other people's garbage, in an attempt to avoid what they call rampant American consumerism.

No viewpoints were given throughout of doctors or other professionals, such as mental health, as to the dangers of eating food that has been mixed in with other garbage. Foods such as produce, fish, bacon, or open bags of rice were among some of the things touted as being edible by the articles. Universal in thinking, the American Medical Association says this practice is like playing Russian Roulette due to the chances of eating tainted, rotten food. Or that bringing home clothing found in the garbage can be the harbinger of all types of unwanted pests and diseases. And how about all of those little sharp things, like, oh say, discarded needles that you can poke yourself with?

Also not mentioned are the laws in some states and cities against dumpster diving. Due to the rash of medical and bank records that were being used by some unscrupulous divers for identity theft purposes, there are many locales that have strict anti-garbage picking laws. One extreme case would be the city of Las Vegas, where not only is dumpster diving a crime, but helping a homeless person in public is a crime punishable by fines and/or prison time.

Getting back to the articles themselves, it is pointed out that many of these so called 'freegans' aren't poor and actually have no need to do what they are doing. In the days of old, these people would have been called mentally ill, not held up in esteem as an example that others should follow. Because this series doesn't just tell the story of a group of sad individuals who have opted out of society in favor of a dangerous and gross lifestyle, but goes on to show the ins and outs of how you too can be a dumpster diver, as though this were some sort of alternative lifestyle.

This is the state of affairs that we find ourselves in. Our country is in such dire straights that the media doesn't scream from the rooftops about CEO's making 400 million dollars per year. They don't ask questions about outsourcing at all, and never really did. And so we are now in the position that when you work your butt off for a company, helping to enrich the top tier, they outsource your job to make even more money, leaving you broke and helpless, but hey don't worry, they left a half eaten sandwich in the dumpster out back for you, so you should be ok.

Beyond irresponsible, this series borders on the criminal, because what is going to be done when some teenager who reads this thinks it sounds cool as hell? That getting free stuff is better than paying for it, eats some garbage food, and gets sick or dies? Who will the finger be pointed at? Not the media, that's for sure. No. Espousing this practice by people that are owners of land, businesses, and have nice little bank accounts is not something that should be held in high regard. These people should be having their heads examined, not being followed around by the media, and then having stories written that glorify the eating of food out of garbage cans as a way for Americans to save money. Or survive.

What this dumpster diving, bottom of the barrel media should be doing is screaming about how our way of life is disappearing due to corrupt politicians and even more corrupt corporations destroying the American Dream. What the media should be arguing is for the impeachments of all of this corrupt President's cronies, not sighingly wringing their hands as though nothing can be done, and that it's so late into his term that it doesn't matter. And they definitely should not be trying to play a sick twisted game on all of us such as these articles amount to.

Don't have enough money to feed your kids? These articles will show you the ins and outs of getting into a McDonald's dumpster. Need a blanket because the price of heating oil is too high? Well, the rags that even the second hand stores won't sell are right behind the place, mixed in with all the other garbage. So what if they're torn and tattered, full of bugs and God knows what else? They're free right?

This despicable series and other writings like them are nothing short of an attempt by the media to try to lead Americans to the belief that it's really ok for there to be a two tier system in the United States. You know, the extremely rich, and the extremely poor slaves who enrich them further. They try to make it seem that everything will be ok, because the rich will bestow gifts for us in their garbage cans. All you have to do is climb into that dumpster and dig through the glop and you'll find something edible.

Journalists are supposed to be asking the hard questions of the people in D.C. as to why we are in this mess and why they were going along with the destruction of the American economy. They're not supposed to be trying to cover for them by making it seem that disease ridden food and clothing is a perfectly acceptable alternative to what we used to believe in here in America. This journalistic dumpster diving is exactly why the mainstream media loses credibility by the day. They don't ask the hard questions any more. They don't hold anyone accountable for the criminal actions of an administration who has done it's best to enrich their friends and destroy everyone else's lives. That wouldn't be because most of the so called fourth estate are friends and fellow party goers with the very same politicians they're supposed to be reporting on now would it?

Enough. When the time has come that our media says that in order for Americans to survive, we should seriously take a look at and consider taking articles out of garbage cans to put into our bodies and the bodies of our children, then that media has shown that they should not be believed about anything. Until they start asking why this President and his criminal cohorts aren't sitting in jail cells and not be covering American Idol and drivel such as this every day, Americans would be better served by getting their information from reputable overseas news sites. The time has come for the American media to grow some you know what again, and possibly be broken up into smaller, independent outlets unbeholden to defense contractors.

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