The Big (“Poor Me”) Gamble

I didn’t set out with a desire to create a post about a topic so dispiriting — so head-shakingly disgusting — to start off the week.

Nope, actually… instead, Heather and I were thinking about creating a poll around the very inspiring subject of “money multiplication” — as in, growing the digital ‘fiat’ cash in your bank/brokerage account and turning most of it into real assets that accumulate into sustainable wealth.

But, that’ll have to wait (or not, if you’re already a paid-up WV member)… as for now, I’ve got a gripe with the MSM (Main Stream Media), as expressed through 60 Minutes.

Last night, as Leslie Stahl was introducing her segment called “The Big Gamble,” my mind was instantly wired to hear a report on the the state of the industry, what new methods people are using to win big, or simply just the psychological make-up of somebody who goes “all in” (er, bets BIG).

Little did I expect to see one of the most biased, my-agenda-has-been-set interviews ever orchestrated by the 40-year-old TV news magazine…

First, the entire premise — even if only passively alluded to throughout all the commentary and questioning — was nauseating:

That the so-called “new” slot machines, currently operating in 38 states, somehow, some way, COULD be making their players addicted to… er… yup… here it comes… playing them.

Almost as if they’ve been installed with some magical invisible “continue-playing-me-until-broke” pixie dust that transfers itself into the player’s bloodstream (yeah, that’s how distorted the reporting was on this. I was expecting Ms. Stahl to say that any second).

So, why pass along the video segment to you, if it was truly just another blatant attempt by the power elite to see how far they can push independent thinkers and self-responsible adults?

Why even give it energetic legs if — when you strip away the gloss and veneer of the purported Sunday night news show that most believe provides a level of unprejudiced reporting — in the end it’s simply another tool?

… A tool used by those select few in high places who relish in conditioning The Crowd that human flaws are bigger social problems, aggravated by enterprise.

The statement above, alone, could attract quite a few labels to be slapped on me (“ut-oh,” as I’ve heard before, “he’s arguing again that the memes of the many are influenced by the diabolical purpose of the elusive few.”)

But it could also cause some readers to think harder about things:

#1) Just because an authoritative, long-standing TV news magazine reports it, and guides me to “feel” something, anything, for those in need, do I have to view them as victims?

#2) What’s the context of the story? Are they providing me equally intelligent and rational evidence on both sides of the debate, issue, or argument?

#3) Is the problem they’re reporting on, in the grand scheme of things (and my life), trivial… or… is it something I should be active in solving?

#4) And, if I feel I need to help solve it, is the message that it can be solved by passing along common sense and self-responsible thinking to my fellow humans… or, is the pitch that it requires action and regulation by government and political organizations?

In any case, I’ll give you my specific thoughts about this episode below the video. For now, just keep the above questions in mind as you watch it:

If video player doesn’t work, watch it online here..

♦  ♦  ♦

My takeaway, as it applies to one of the dominant themes swirling around in younger impressionable minds these days?

Simple:

“Whatever isn’t working right for me in my life, there must be something, or somebody, I can blame! Big Brother, I’ve got a complaint… make it go away!”

In a world of unlimited possibilities, only hampered by our own interest in self-accountable thinking and unbridled imagination, the percentage of people who won’t or can’t look in the mirror is way too big.

Did you notice how Ms. Stahl never cornered any of the “addicts” — especially the big granny with the curls all over her big head — by simply asking a question about themselves?

For example, how about: “So, Big Granny, how do you see your own habits playing into all this?” Or, to be more direct, “What do you think caused you to plant your butt in the car and drive it to the Casino, and then plop it down on the slot machine chair?”

Nah, when you look back into how the MSM tackles issues of personal action and self-defeating methods of operation, they really just don’t know how to engage.

And, the sad part is this: 60 Minutes, of all news operations, should be able to pull off mildly confrontational questioning to somebody who, instead, is coming off as a victim of big business, industry, or capitalism gone bad.

But, nope… rather, it’s fashionable to give these poor-me types the benefit of the doubt.

One of the commenters on the 60 Minutes “The Big Gamble” page put it nicely:

“I’m so sick of hearing about the ONE PERCENT of people who have problems and develop addictions, when 99 PERCENT of those who gamble do so responsibly. What next? A story about fine wine or the beer industry that focuses most of the segment on alcoholism? Fact is, the cost of living in a FREE SOCIETY is that some people can’t govern themselves.”

So, as the world turns, so do people who’ll continue to blame everybody but themselves for their issues, and their own repetitive bad experiences. And, whether those experiences are good or bad, they can only occur, mostly, through our own actions.

As another commenter said:

“She [Stahl] should have explored and reported on compulsive behaviors, and addictive personalities that some people have. Who is the person that gets addicted? Just anyone? She didn’t, or maybe it was edited out, and this left the viewer without a context for understanding that it takes two to tango. 2. Continuing on that point to this, Rendall, I believe, got so upset because Stahl indeed was not hearing or accepting what he was saying — basically that it doesn’t really matter where the casino is, the addictive/compulsive nature in some human beings will seek it (craving) out.”

I’ll salute anyone reading this who is willing to buck up and take a level of ownership for their own results and experiences in life… for understanding that, regardless of what has happened to you in the past (even beyond your direct control), it’s still up to YOU, no one else, to get it right in the present and future.

And, I’ll call you out on anything that reeks of victimitis and thin-skinned beliefs toward what and who you think you should listen to.

For instance, this person — a Facebooker attempting to garner sympathy for her past lack of parental love — I’m sure was looking for agreement on her plight.

Her thinking:  “Remember no matter what age you are… The first five or six years of one’s life formed them! If you didn’t learn to care, share, empathy, compassion etc by five years….. Good luck at any of the other ages!”

My Reply: “That’s gotta be one of the most defeatist, high and mighty resolute attitudes I’ve seen in awhile. Kinda like saying: ‘hey, your whole ability to express goodness, to love others, is all controlled by your past relationship with your parents.’ Damn, that’s some seriously $%^&ed-up psycho-babble. And, it sure as hell takes away any self-accountable actions for taking the reins of your life and CHANGING YOUR COURSE.”

In closing, dear reader, I’m getting utterly sick over seeing and hearing people who think it’s normal and okay to operate as victim-minded beings and expect people to tell them what they want to hear… that things will get better.

Ah, let’s keep it real here: THEY WON’T… unless you’re willing to start hearing things about you that you need (and must) hear.

Where do you find such honesty about YOU?

Another topic for another time… until then, if you stink up your own bathroom, don’t blame it on the cat, the neighbor, or the repair man.

Get my drift? Hope so!

Filed under: Common Sense, Critical-Thinking, NEWS, Self-Sabotage

10 Responses to “The Big (“Poor Me”) Gamble”

  1. Congratulations – your post is brilliant! I too am so sick of people shoving the blame for everything to someone else. It is a symptom of society here in Australia as well and will devastate us if this way of thinking does not change.

    Our young ones are absorbing wrong thinking and becoming less and less self motivated and self responsible. Many, to save money, are staying at home longer – even into their 30s – and being looked after like children. What effects will this have into the future? Pretty scary I think! Cheers from Terri in Brisbane, Australia

    [ Barry’s Reply ] – Thank you, Terri, for the kind comments. Your assertion that there is indeed “wrong thinking” in the world is spot on. Some fundamentalist LOAers will take issue with such a bold judgemental statement. Yet, when push comes to shove, RESULTS don’t lie! – so, if we’re not getting or experiencing what we’ve set out to get or experience, there is something truly “wrong” with our thinking (beliefs, internal self-talk, notions about what is possible, etc.). Keep up the change-making in Aussie land.

  2. I agree with you. There is way too much victim thinking. People must be willing to take responsibility for every choice of action they choose to take.

  3. Barry.. right-on… AMEN brother… bravo… kudos…

    What a crock of [biased T.V. reporting] crap…seriously.

    Could they only find those 2 grandma’s to interview? Should have had them both stand in front of a mirror and ask them if they see “the problem.”

    This past weekend I sent a video to my daughter by Brendon Burchard titled, New Year Inspiration.

    Her 2010 was challenging in many ways but she recognized it was of her own doing. The response she posted on her Facebook wall was priceless…I was proud of her willingness to take ownership at age 26…but more importantly…to put an actionable plan together for 2011.

    Here is her response.

    “Make this your best year ever!!! (If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!) Who are you going to be in 2011? I’m committed to being someone who is 1. Positive and happy (“Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out.”), 2. Active (in both the community and my exercise regimen), and 3. Excited about new opportunities and experiences every day will bring!”

    She’ll succeed because she’s choosing to.

    THANKS for your candid and honest comments. We need more people that are willing to stand up, share their thoughts and challenge people to THINK.

    Best regards,

    Tim

    [ Barry’s Comment ] — Your daugher, Tim, is going to have a wonderful new year. She has a level-head, a sound mind for responsibility and, most importantly, understands that in order to suceed and thrive, the first step is in being okay with helping herself first. Keep up the great work your’re doing.

  4. Whatever a person does on a regular basis is an addicted behavior. Somewhere in our brains we are triggering a response for a program with which we chose to identify.

    Brushing your teeth first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed is an addicted behavior. You may have thought about its consequences when you first started brushing your teeth on a daily basis, but how many people actually think about it each time they’re brushing their teeth? And how many think about the consequences of not brushing each time they brush?

    We become tuned out to our addictions. Luckily, some of us are doing well by our chosen addictions. Playing in the stock market is an addiction, as is everything else in life. The odds may be greater or less for good outcomes depending on your strategy. Yet, if you’re in it, you are addicted to it – until you choose not to do it anymore.

    Whatever a person is doing regularly is an addiction. Try stopping anything you do on a regular basis. It’s painful. We head toward what we believe is the most pain-free on our way to a desired goal….and it’s not necessarily based in reality…because reality is whatever you decide it is.

    The bottom line: choose your addictions carefully.

    [ Barry’s Comment ] — Huh, according to you Maralissa… the world needs more support groups for stock addicts. Damn, I can see it now. “Hi, my name is Barry Goss and… a-hem (cough, cough)… I just went short GM for 500 shares and, folks, please, please help. I don’t think I can control myself anymore. All I can think about is logging into Etrade.com every 5 minutes because I need to short some more over-priced stock.”

    Ah, the comedy in such beliefs… the poor souls, you say, who just have no clue about the world of high-finance and competent investing they play in. So, me… I guess I’ll go out and get my “I’m a Stock Addict” card. That’ll make me an official stock sheep that needs to be watched over by an “in control” sheep dog (i.e., governmental body) who will ensure I don’t get outta control. Ohh maamaaa!

  5. The only reason anyone [the Masses] still thinks that 60 Minutes is unbiased is (1) It is still on the air, and has the aura of a “newsmagazine,” and (2) Their many instances of blatant bias go unreported – the foxes are guarding the henhouse.

    I can name two other very specific broadcasts over the years involving irresponsible, one-sided reporting (and even defiance of court orders for discovery of their source documents, repeatedly paying fines that would seem large to us but were pocket change to them).

    The CBS News Department lost my trust many years ago (and I am not alone). There is no good reason for anyone to ever watch that program, in my opinion, and shame on their corporate sponsors.

    John

    [ Barry’s Reply ] – Now, let’s reveal to the world who those “foxes” are, John. Okay, I’ll let you get back to watching a more wholesome, less-instigating show. Maybe some reruns of Leave It To Beaver?

  6. The words “Television” and “News” just are not compatible with each other. Did you notice that the 60 Minutes set had the words “Produced by” behind her, not “written by”?

    All television news is a production for ratings and advertising dollars. Print journalism on the other hand, at least needs to attempt to understand the who, what, when, where and why questions to compile a logical written report; or their publication’s bias is clearly known.

    A handful of television reporters attempt to cover all types of news stories. Stories that they have limited understanding of and even less personal interest in, and the national news is little better at this.

    All they need is someone who actually said the words they use on air, even though the words are usually out of context. It makes a better production that way.

    They do not get a full report, they produce a catchy video and sound bite for the next news cast, hoping to be the reporter that gets the teaser story to run before the newscast and get their own personal quota of face airtime. 60 Minutes is no different and never has been.

    As one songwriter insightfully said, its DIRTY LAUNDRY they want- nothing more. And give John a break, he is correct.

    [ Heather’s Reply ]:

    Hi Dave,

    While I’m obviously not supporting Leslie’s questionable interviewing techniques (asking hard — er, rather, dumb — questions to the “bad guys” while pandering with softballs to the “victims”)… as a journalist who has worked in both TV and print (oh yeah, and radio too — as well as, obviously online), I have to point out a few things about your comment.

    “Television” and “News” certainly CAN be compatible, and TV was originally able to capture news much faster and better than print ever could — with former print journalists who were tapped to become the first TV news anchors.

    Back then, objectivity was much more common too.

    Now, technically “news magazine” TV shows, despite the moniker, are not meant to be covering “news”… they’re meant to be covering “current affairs”, which are less timely and lend themselves to a more in-depth investigation (when done properly).

    But whether news or current affairs, of course a TV segment will say “produced by” instead of “written by” — the latter would imply a fabrication. Nobody wrote scripts for the interviewees, and if they did, that would be called “drama” (or, perhaps, “comedy”).

    All mainstream media (not just print, not just TV) exists, first and foremost, because of, and for, the advertising.

    All mainstream media (not just print, not just TV) has a certain editorial slant… heck, even alternative and online media has a definite editorial slant. There is no longer any such thing as a completely objective news outlet (if you can find one that proves me wrong, I’d love to see it).

    And all mainstream media (not just print, not just TV) has a sort of identity crisis going on, whereby the journalists (or at least, those starting out who still have good intentions at heart) believe that they ARE being objective, and want to tell the story based on the “public’s right to know”. And yes, all these journalists (not just print, not just TV) need to understand the who, what, where, when, why and how to write and/or produce that story.

    Leslie Stahl, on the other hand, has been doing this long enough to know her show’s slant, which is basically “support the victim” and “go hard at the ‘corrupt’ corporations”. And she plays that card very well — not that it makes it any more moral, or helpful to humankind.

    As for TV outlets using interview clips out of context — that may happen, but more often than not, it doesn’t. It may certainly be a limited view of the whole statement or interview, but that doesn’t make it out of context — especially in a current affairs (not news) piece where you see entire chunks of interviews instead of just 5-second sound bites.

    The quick turnaround production you talk about also may happen, but for the most part a TV reporter will spend the good part of a day covering a story — the same amount of time a print journalist will to cover the same story (except the newspaper writer then has to write it).

    And current affairs programs, including 60 Minutes, have plenty of time to produce and edit their stories — days or even weeks sometimes — so not only are they different, but they just don’t operate the way you’ve suggested.

    But yes, you are right that reporters will often have little personal interest in a story they cover — I give you that.

    Just needed to set the record straight… “ON the record”.

    cheers
    Heather

  7. Great post guys. This was the kind of attitude that sent the UK down the slippery slope it now finds itself on. Anyone voicing opinions to the contrary are drowned out by the do-gooder brigade and other agenda based self serving groups. This once great country is now mired in the ” why should I take responsibility for my actions when I can blame everyone else” mentality. We here in the UK and worldwide need to stand up and be counted before it is too late.

  8. Boy – you guys sure know how to push my “hot button” with this!

    First of all, it’s so refreshing for people involved in marketing to expand the discussion beyond the perimeters of just “marketing information.” Marketing involves people, particularly the way they think, act, and most importantly, RE-act.

    Under the guise of “news reporting,” CBS – and to an infinitely greater degree, NBC (and its internet arm, MSNBC) REALLY take the cake when it comes to blatantly biased “reporting” which has recently become little more than philosophical “sales pitches” with a particular end result in mind. (Just try listening to Keith Olbermann for more than 5 minutes without finding yourself strongly fighting the urge to throw a brick at your $1,000 TV!)

    But I notice that nobody has yet offered an analysis of WHERE and HOW this way of thinking has become so firmly embedded in the MSM – namely, the indoctrination of our young in our public education system, which has been visibly infiltrated – and totally subjugated – by “progressive-thinking” agenda-driven people who have incrementally REMOVED lessons from their curriculum which were based upon THOUSANDS of years of learning and experience, and substituting “experimental teaching programs” which only serve to further indoctrinate our young into their fold.

    Those of us who are parents (and in my case, GRANDparents) bear a large part of the responsibility for this. The excuse that “we’re just too busy working” to see to it that your children (and grandchildren) learn what they need to know to succeed in life simply doesn’t hold water! (“Addicted” gamblers have excuses too, don’t they?)

    Sadly, we may have lost several generations to the indoctrination facilitated by these largely well-meaning “teachers,” many of whom are themselves “victims” of the very same indoctrination they pass along to their students!

    All I can say at this point is that if you truly love your progeny, don’t trust someone ELSE to teach them the IMPORTANT things in life – particularly core values, critical thinking, and a clear understanding of the difference between right and wrong.

    Until we get THAT part right, things will continue to go wrong, and we’re much closer to cultural disaster than most people want to believe!

    But other than that, I have no strong opinion on the subject! ; )

    – “Digital” Don Hill –

    PS – @Mara, I have to disagree with you when you say, “reality is whatever you decide it is.” If that were true, if I decided – with the firmest resolve a being is capable of – that the sky is orange, it simply ISN’T. There are certain identifiable absolutes in this plane of existence, whether we like them or not. When we choose to ignore – or worse, to simply DENY them – then it’s a sure bet that things will not end well. With all due respect, I fear you may be one of the recipients of the indoctrination I just elaborated on.

    [ Barry’s Reply ] – We dig sparking emotion, Don. It’s something very few researchers, writers, or business folk are willing to do. By the way… notice I said “business” — we’ve said this in the past. But, being “marketers” isn’t our thing. Marketing is just a “process” (one of many) in the growth and scalability of a thriving long-term BUSINESS….not something that labels WHO you are… or what you need to excel at or BE!

    Things like relevancy, uniqueness, problem-solving, and solution-seeking are all things that a business mind, not a marketing mind, focuses on.

    Needed to bring that up, as our Life Without Limits brand is here to propel people SEE beyond what they know, in the keys area of life: business/finances, relationships, and health. Marketing just pushes that into play.

    Anyway, your point about the WHERE and HOW mainstream, group-think, comes into plays is a good one. Definitely a conversation with explorying in detail sometime.

  9. So many people with the wrong thinking, and bad mental programing… first there are who blame others & don’t take responsability for their own actions and second there are who exploit the first kind of person that I’ve mentioned.

    I don’t know who it’s worst, I just know that people think that are here to pleasure themselves all the time without any kind of self-growth.

    That’s a little bit sad and very much stupidity manifested.

  10. […] recently on the Worldwide LWL (Life Without Limits) blog by Barry and Heather Goss in a post called The Big (Poor Me) Gamble. I skim their blog from time to time and find it is too conservative for my tastes. However, I was […]

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