September 17, 2010
Posted: 03:14 PM ET
Below is an excerpt from Rick Sanchez from his book "Conventional Idiocy: Why the New America is Sick of Old Politics".
These experts are often just plain wrong. Conventional wisdom? You say that more often it’s not wisdom at all, it’s really more like conventional idiocy.
Who’s to blame? The media, the politicians, the pundits, business leaders. Okay, they don’t listen to you. I get it. And you know what? At least with some of them, I’m not sure they ever will listen.
Yes, Americans are sick of being spoon-fed the same old bogus conventional wisdom from so-called experts who don’t listen to them. That’s the overwhelming message I hear from you every single day. You’re sick of the old ways, the old politics. You tell me you are skeptical, maybe more so than ever in our country’s past, skeptical of government, skeptical of the media, skeptical of corporations. And you’re showing your skepticism in polling data, on blogs, and – in the new way America connects – through social media.
You’re tired of the BS. Little do they know that you’re wide awake, you’re engaged with what’s going on in the country, and many of you are angry as hell.
Your anger, your concerns and frustrations, is what inspired me to write this book. From you I hear what is really on the minds of ordinary Americans, what you are thinking, what you are talking about, and above all what you’re sick of – from the bankers who recklessly gambled with our money, to the politicians who play on our worst fears and prejudices, to the media demagogues who spread ignorance for ratings. In this book, I talk about all of that and more, and I draw from everything I’ve learned listening to you.
Why do I know so much about what you’re sick of? It’s because you tell me every minute of every day, through Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook. And I care about reporting what pisses you off. You’ve given me a responsibility to use my craft to give voice to our unsung heroes – you!
You say we’ve let the so-called conventional wisdom speak for America for too long and it’s time for us, together, to respond – loud and unapologetically – with what we know is the truth, the unconventional truth!
Conventional Idiocy is more than a book; it’s an extension of my life work as a broadcaster – to amplify your voice and frustrations. I do exactly that with my show, Rick’s List, which is more of a national conversation that it is a news show. We don’t just report the news, we listen to you and we talk to each other, through social media, and list your concerns while gathering the facts you need to know to better understand what’s going on. Together we call people out and challenge the conventional wisdom. It’s been hailed as “the next generation of news,” because you the viewer have become an active participant in the “national conversation.” Good for you; better yet, good for us. Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace have changed the way we communicate to each other. Now they are changing what we, together, communicate to the world.
In the conversation I have with you every day, you set the agenda, you drive the issues. It’s your news; it’s not what’s decided for you in some ivory tower. It’s not some out-of-touch pundit or politico lecturing you about what you should care about.
With Conventional Idiocy, I have taken this model from the show, this idea of a conversation, of listing your thoughts and what you need to know and applied it to a book. In that sense, it isn’t even my book, it’s your book. It’s everything you tell me you’re worried about, everything that bothers you about what’s happening in our country, everything – and everyone – you’re sick and tired of. In some cases, it’s literally your voice – I have included in each chapter actual tweets from you.
My hope is that the book – driven as it is by you and by the concerns of everyday Americans – will cut through a lot of the BS that passes for political discourse today. America is speaking out, largely through social media, and saying it is sick of the old politics and the old ways.
It’s this “conventional idiocy” that many of you want to change, to overturn, because you tell me that what passes for conventional wisdom is really about other people’s interests, interests that aren’t yours.
The Revolution is Here
Some say the social media revolution will change the way we interact. I say they’re looking in the wrong direction. The change is in the rearview mirror. It already has.
When we engage in those communities of friends and followers, whether it’s through Twitter or MySpace or Facebook or whatever, we find a receptive, eager, and really smart group of people. And it does what neither newspapers, nor the old radio model, nor the old TV news model, nor even the Internet by itself was ever able to achieve. We no longer will to talk to viewers, we’ll talk with viewers. And they will talk back.
Many of my colleagues and managers at CNN were obviously a bit suspicious at the outset of my using social media. But we also became among the first in the industry to embrace it, because while some believe that watching television news is becoming passé, being part of television news is not.
You’re now connected and will likely not allow us, or your government leaders, to pull one over on you. You’re hungry for real information and want insight about the things you genuinely do care about.
The following chapters are intended to provide just that. You ask me to ask the tough questions, to challenge the people who I interview – so that’s what I’ve tried to do here. You tell me you’re sick of the old thinking and the old politics.
Things may be changing. Today it seems like every politician from John McCain to your local mayor has a Twitter account. It seems anybody who wants to get elected is going to have to connect on social media, and will have to be transparent about it. But they’ll have to be careful, because that virtual constituency is a lot tougher to fool. You’re informed, you’re engaged, and you’re demanding answers and accountability.
You are the new America and you won’t settle for the old politics of business as usual.
Reprinted from CONVENTIONAL IDIOCY: Why the New America is Sick of Old Politics by Rick Sanchez, with permission from Celebra Books.
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