Note: Part I can be found here.
INTRODUCTION TO PART II
Companies have dramatically cut training programs for new employees, experts say, worsening a skills gap that’s keeping them from finding qualified job candidates and pushing up unemployment.
That is the lead paragraph from a USA Today story which goes on at some length bemoaning the fact that federal funding for job training programs has been cut, which means that companies cannot find skilled employees, and companies won’t train employees, which means it is all their fault, or something, and, incongruously, that the unemployment rate is remaining artificially high because companies, cutting off their noses to spite their faces, won’t train employees they already have, or should have, or something. It is all very contorted.
It is not our aim here merely to point out yet another example of media bias, or news manipulation, or agenda-driven journalism. You have noticed, been made aware of, suffered this junk journalism for a long time. We all know this stuff. The people who engage in it just consider it part of their duty to…….make a difference, change the world, shake up the status quo, transform America, whatever. For them, the useful idiot majority of them anyway, what they are doing is noble and “for the greater good”. Untold millions have suffered in the wake of good intentions like theirs because, regrettably, real-life decisions are far too often made based on what people read in the newspaper.
We use the above because when parsed, the USA Today article contains so many false assumptions, so many examples of irrelevant factoids, and so much reliance on the pearls of perception by those it describes as “experts” (experts at what?), and so much just plain absurdity that it is a perfect caricature of a media gone insane with grasping at any straw to conform to the Talking Points Memo. To believe anything contained in the USA Today article, you have to believe that a company, which is in the business of making money, would deliberately hurt its chances of making money by refusing to do something within its means to do.
Coincidentally, there is now going on accusation and counter-accusation about the status of welfare programs in this country and the manipulation of the laws and the rules surrounding requirements to receive welfare. One of them is the definition of “work”, or “seeking work” and one facet of that is whether some form of training program qualifies a worker, or potential worker, to receive welfare.
As you wonder what connection this may have to our topic(s), recall from the article that, according to USA Today and their bevy of “experts”, it is “companies” that are trashing the economy, holding down the working man, deliberately suppressing their own profits and artificially maintaining the worst sustained joblessness statistics in eighty years. If only they would hire people who “meet all other criteria” (except know how to do the job!) and then spend a lot of time and money training them to do the job (with what guarantee these ‘otherwise qualified’ folks will get the hang of it?) then unemployment would drop like a rock. But in the meantime, it is absolutely crucial that those welfare checks keep flowing out, say the Socialist Progressives trying to swell voter turnout on election day. Connection? It is a raging debate, so you make the call.
And if you believe that’s the way things are, no training opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed, reread the article and parse it for the supposedly disastrous effect ‘companies’ have had on employee training and competency since the Reagan years, among other gems, and then take a look here from last January and here from last February, when the purveyors of this message, the very same USA Today, pushed the exact opposite message – a. That the money spent by the Feds was in the $18billion range for ‘job training programs’ and b. That companies were stepping up to the plate on employee training.
The federal government spends $18 billion a year on 47 separate job training programs run by nine different agencies.
Now, instead of complaining, more companies are beginning to train employees for the skills they need. Some are even working with high schools and colleges to develop students who will be ready to take on those jobs when they graduate.
Many companies have employee-development plans clearly outlined in their performance guidelines.
So which is it? Well, who could possibly know. Either, neither or both, because the straight news press is forever and continually trying to fine tune, retune and revamp it’s message to correspond to the current iteration of The Talking Points, or the buzz from the JournOlist, instead of being an honest broker and just reporting the facts. It fails to recuse itself from the ‘commentary’ portion of ‘news and commentary’ and lets its partisan or ideological bias affect not only what stories it pushes, but the slant of its headlines and down to the very quality and authority and credibility of the sources it uses to push the meme. And it contradicts itself in the next breath, blissfully unaware that it mangles its own message.
As we said, this is just one example, but it is an example of how the media ties itself up in knots by doing things because they think it is ‘the right thing to do’, as Barack Obama would say, rather than doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is to report the facts and leave the judgement to others. And besides the absence of professionalism and tarnishing the appearance of propriety and good judgement, that pesky problem of unintended consequences comes back to haunt.
In the case above, any rational thinking person would conclude, setting aside the ‘biased’ or ‘agenda-driven’ tags we commonly hang on the newsies, that these outfits are spectacularly incompetent and cannot present a comprehendable, coherent, consistent product that people can assimilate, because it is so outlandish and counterintuitive. As such, they are shooting themselves in the foot and accomplishing two things: driving the public away (harming their interest as “companies”, the very thing they accuse other “companies” of doing by not putting enough resources into employee training) and by doing so foregoing the possibility that the discriminating reader might actually decide in favor of the proposition the paper felt was desirable in the first place.
In Part One we retold the Pete Rose story because it exemplified how a concern ultimately had to do what it felt was in it’s best interest, as an organization, when it involved a very tough choice. Baseball heroes are golden boys in American lore and as such literally worth their weight in gold to Major League Baseball. They generate tons of revenue for the sport and all it’s franchises, all it’s operations. But ultimately, they could not risk a disgruntled public in the Rose case because, in the end, the sport is bigger than any one man, even one of it’s greatest players.
Attendance at major league baseball games is not mandatory. There are other games in town.
There is only one Supreme Court. Why a sitting Justice, supposedly steeped in the ways and means and traditions of our system of jurisprudence would act to put one of America’s highly situated institutions in a bad light through a deliberate transgression (refusal to recuse in the face of public evidence of personal bias) is open to speculation, but it is supremely dangerous, because the American system of government depends on a well-respected judiciary. American civil society depends on a well-respected judiciary.
The primary function of a government is to protect it’s citizens, at least in Western societies. In our scheme, the two mechanisms we use to do that in international affairs are the military, through the Department of Defense, and the diplomatic and foreign service corps, through the Department of State. When the Department of State fails in its mission, through incompetence or infiltration into it’s ranks and programs by cultures and ideas foreign (literally and figuratively) to the preservation of America, our military is our last line of defense. So for those who decry the use of our military in foreign adventures, think about this: There are reasons for preserving the integrity, dignity and competence of the foreign services, the intelligence services, and so on. War is hell.
And finally, to the Press. The Press is the only private institution mentioned and given special status in our Constitution. The Academy, The Bar, The College of Medicine, even The Church, all arguably crucial to the maintenance of civil society, are blithely ignored in the Constitution. (Heck, there’s even no mention of the criticality of the Natural Resources Defense Council. What’s up with that?)
Why then would The Press so lower its standards, so disregard journalism ethics, so fail to propagate and perpetuate methods and standards of longstanding that justify it’s holding a place of honor and importance at the doctrinal foundation of American rights, the First Amendment? One would think it would be righteously protective of it’s position, its perks, its access through its credentials to the centers of power.
Unfortunately, for The Press and for America, which values a free press, those individuals and groups and auxilliaries and supporting institutions which used to uphold it have all been compromised, by the designs of the Left and by the vagaries of modern invention. To the point where A. There is very little actual work involved in the journalism aspect of it (it’s a cut, copy, paste operation these days) and B. There is very little thought that goes into it. As such, it cannot genuinely be very satisfying, on any level, and as such there is no real, true ownership of the end product. This is the one legitimate example of the now-famous Obamaism “You didn’t build that.” We cannot emphasize enough how very sad and dangerous to the Republic that is. Without a righteous press, there is only rumor.
For the People, We the People, who formed this great Union and molded it on the principles contained in the Declaration of Independence and chartered it with the Constitution which placed The Press on a pedestal, have the ultimate authority to dismantle it all. We’re not talking about the joy of sport here, we’re talking about the same things the Founders were talking about which they placed at stake – lives, fortunes and sacred honor. As the Declaration says, when things become too oppressive, too onerous, too controlled from remote centers of power, too illegitimate, we have the right to dismantle their basis, to alter or abolish those things which offend. We can cremate the Constitution of the United States and replace it with another document, or not replace it, as we see fit. Or we can alter it. We can do it in Congress or we can do it in a fit of passion. But we can do it.
See, this is what happens when men do not restrain themselves, when bodies do not police themselves, when Departments and Agencies circumvent the authorities given them, when the canons of ethics and the proprieties of professionalism are cast to the winds for the flavor-of-the-moment, the cause du jour. The people come bearing torches in the night and share their deep unrest. It is often not pretty.
We have often wondered why the journalism schools in America continue to be the beneficiaries of the largesse of both public funding and private donations. Perhaps it is in the vain hope that J-schools still teach a craft based on principled application of the rudiments of the profession. If they do, there is minimal to zero evidence of it in either the print or broadcast mediums. Perhaps it is just blind loyalty to ‘good old Columbia U.’ or “Mizzou”.
Whatever the case, the focus on returning to core values in America’s institutions is going to have to increasingly be centered on not the institutions themselves, but from where the people who populate them come from, how they are trained, who trains them, what the funding streams are that produce the sorry states of affairs we described above. To borrow from the USA Today piece, there is a skills gap. Significant majorities of the people engaged in the people’s business just don’t have what it takes to protect, and conduct the affairs of, America.
Either that or it’s not America’s interests that animates them. Cue the torchbearers.