November 20th, 2006

I Love Richard Dreyfuss

Academy award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss suggests that the current inattentive, apathetic and uninterested nature of our citizenry will eventually doom U.S. republican democracy. He discusses Jeffersonian views and how the future survival of our freedom and democracy is dependent upon an educated and inquisitive citizenry, not those who accept administration rhetoric, or Fox News propoganda.
Dreyfuss Slams Media "Bias"

Veteran actor Richard Dreyfuss has launched a scathing attack on the mainstream media, accusing it of sacrificing accuracy and impartiality for sensationalism and instant gratification. The Jaws star, who is currently studying civics and democracy at the University Of Oxford in England, claims such reporting leads to "shaped news" - completely biased and inaccurate reporting that has an agenda. And he has also expressed alarm that a few big media corporations control most of the news the general public has access to. Dreyfuss, who is a longtime political activist, has also campaigned for peace in the Middle East and lent his support to a campaign calling for the impeachment of US President George W. Bush. He says, "There is no room to pause, no room to think. We don't build into our system of thoughts the need to explain, the media doesn't build that into its transmission of knowledge and information. Information from more than one source is good. I'm totally in favor of it, even if people send propaganda. In the aggregate you can find more truth than in one opinion. The falling Twin Towers (in New York City on September 11th 2001) - pictures that produced anger, a lot of anger that was sent instantly around the world, they created a need to react. People in Kansas could see the Twin Towers fall at exactly the same instant as in Nigeria and Cairo. Such an instantaneous knowledge of a situation leads to an instantaneous reaction which creates demand for an instantaneous, reflexive response. The question is how do you get people to find out more, how do you get people to read not just what they are told to read. You have to encourage prose, analysis and detail - otherwise people will go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan without really knowing why. The 'war on terror' - objection to using this term is dead. It's become part of our vocabulary, but what does it really mean? You should know more specifically what you are fighting. Civics is no longer taught in the US, a sign of a neurosis that is inexplicable. Not to teach civics is suicide. Reason, logic, civility, dissent and debate - five ancient words that should be taught again and better, at elementary level, so that people know the difference between news and shaped news."

I adore this man, I loved Jaws and Close Encounters and Stand By Me - and Mr. Holland's Opus is one of my top 10 faves of all time.

Richard Dreyfuss Sr. Advisor Oxford University on Democracy