JFK: The Less I Remember Maybe I’m Better Off

JFK: The Less I Remember Maybe I’m Better Off

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The Less I Remember Maybe I’m Better Off

By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday Nv. 8, 2013

JFK Tour of KSC

JFK Tour of KSC (Photo credit: NASA on The Commons)

Why is it that I remember exactly where I was 50 years ago when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but I can’t remember what I did last week?

Don’t tell me… it’s just age.

I remember the JFK killing like it was yesterday. I remember where I was when Princess Di was killed, and I didn’t even care about her. And, I remember exactly what I was doing when terrorists struck the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

Isn’t that the problem with life? We remember the tragedies more than we remember the good?

I blame it on the news media. Yes, the big bad boogiemen of social mayhem, the mainstream news media. I’m not talking about the community news media, like this newspaper. The community news media writes about the tragedies but they also write about the community events that more directly influence our lives.

The big bad media do not. No. The big bad news media writes like a car driving on the Stevenson Expressway, which slows down to slowly soak in the tragedy of a car crash on the side of the road. Like a gaper’s block. Yes, the mainstream, major news media is like a gaper’s block. A group of vehicles that are slowing down and causing a major traffic jam so that the drivers can gape and gawk at someone else’s tragedy.

The JFK murder was a media gaper’s block, and so was the killing of Princess Di (You know she was murdered by the Royal Family). The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 were different, of course, but it was the media that replayed over and over and over again the planes crashing into the buildings and the buildings collapsing and the poor people who jumped to their deaths rather than die in the horrendous fires.

Behind the faces of sorrow that many in the media feigned that day, and the others, you knew this is exactly what journalists today live for.

Shouldn’t we have memories of the great moments in our lives and in our communities, more than just the horrific tragedies?

I admit, I was a part of that ugly media for many years, though most of my focus was on covering Chicago City Hall during its most tumultuous times. These days, City Hall news is as lame as its coverage. Boring.

The best thing that ever happened to me was to exit from the clutches of the media demon. I rolled up my sleeves and found real work offering communications services and freelance writing to clients around the world.

But the memories embedded in my mind on Nov. 22, 1963, and on the subsequent tragic dates, can’t be erased. They were hammered into us by a media that knows that blood and gore sell, and Boy Scout stories do not.

And there is something wrong with that.

What we should be reading about in the media evil doers (borrowing President Bush’s famous phrase describing the terrorists) are stories about who we are and what we do in our communities. Too many of the so-called controversies are worthless drivel concocted by hypocritically shocked “journalists” who not only exaggerate and lie, but also have lost the skill of writing.

Yes. Today’s big daily newspaper journalists don’t know how to write. The more their talent erodes, the more they must compensate with fabricated controversies.

I remember that day when JFK was murdered. I wish I didn’t.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. You may reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RayHanania.)

This post has already been read 137 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com