Column: How to survive a yak attack from the TV yapping pack

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2002

Before we get too involved with trying to explain the somewhat different heading on this column, maybe a few definitions would be in order.

The yak is an ox, somewhat similar to the American bison which lives in the highlands of Tibet. This Asian critter is both wild and domesticated. And if there’s a Yak Fan Club or a Yak Breeders Association for these hard working beasts somewhere in the world, I’d like to offer my apologies for what’s coming up.

My copy of the dictionary also says yak can be defined as &uot;talk steadily and senselessly.&uot;

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My well-worn copy of the dictionary also says yapping can be defined both as a &uot;shrill bark&uot; and &uot;noisy and foolish talk.&uot;

Now, let’s shift the focus of this column to what’s being perpetuated on Americans day after day and night after night on some radio stations and a few cable television channels.

What I’m specifically referring to are those pompous know-it-all commentators and babbling blabbermouths. They’re just like the small dog on a leash that’s constantly barking at almost nothing.

Thankfully, our three radio stations here in Albert Lea aren’t a part of this alleged talk radio format. They’re more devoted to the concept of local and area public service and a good balance of programming which includes music.

However, other radio stations on the dial feature mouthy media marvels who concentrate on warped, one-sided and extremely selective commentaries. All too much of this time-wasting talk is politically partisan. And every other year it just gets worse. It makes one wonder what happened to the concepts of fairness and honesty.

Then there are the cable television news channels where the yapping pack has the opportunity to really become unfair and unbalanced. Here we have the dubious privilege of watching some of these characters in action. Again, we have to suffer with an overload of warped, one-sided, and sometimes all too stupid commentaries based on current events.

Here’s where some really sad examples are being shown to all too many Americans. Debate, if done properly, is based on logic, facts, and hopefully some degree of courtesy.

That last part implies only one person at a time speaks, there are no interruptions, some time limits are set for each speaker, and equality is given to each side of the question or topic being considered. Instead, we’re all too often being subjected to shouting matches and all too many biased falsehoods.

Television is one place where we can see in living color someone give real meaning to the phrase, &uot;My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts.&uot; Another phrase, which I actually heard on one recent telecast is, &uot;I don’t want to hear that.&uot; This closed-mind reaction came as a reply to a statement made by another panel member with a different and more accurate opinion.

Maybe these yapping sessions on the cable television news channels are scripted events &045; just like television wrestling. During some programs I’ve wasted time watching, the spokesperson for one side of the controversial topic seems to be ill prepared. Maybe this is done deliberately. Thus, the other side looks even better and hopefully wins over a few folks in the

viewing audience.

The one person who seems to be the most responsible for what we get with television wrestling is Vince McMahon. Yet, he also has the right solution for television viewers and radio listeners to avoid a yak attack.

A few years ago Vince was being interviewed by a person who thought his type of alleged entertainment was pathetic.

Vince’s reply was very blunt. In effect, he said if the television viewer (or radio listener) didn’t like what they were seeing and/or hearing, then they should immediately change the channel or frequency, or just turn off the set.

Last week’s column about the Olson Sisters resulted in a quick reply from Elinor Stotts, a distant relative, who supplied a photo and small booklet which will be used for both a future column and a feature article in the Lifestyles section.

Tribune feature writer Ed Shannon’s column appears Fridays in the Tribune.