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Monday, December 1, 1997

The Way I See It

By Rick Smith

News cycles stand out

As time creeps by I become more aware of cycles that pass
every year and how the media responds to some of them. The
media just went though its the-day-after-Thanksgiving,
the-biggest-shopping-day-of-the-year, cycle.

Every year on the-day-after-Thanksgiving the various
branches of the media hold interviews with economic experts.
It's always the same. The experts are worried about sales.
It's been a hard year and if consumers don't spend a lot of
money on gifts during the holiday season the economy will

In the last weeks of November these experts are always
saying they think spending will be down this year. They say
profits are down and retail merchants are hurting.

It's almost as if these so-called experts are saying that if
consumers don't get out during the holidays and spend every
spare penny they have the economy of the nation is going to
collapse. These economic experts talk as if it's the duty of
consumers to go into debt for the sake of the economy. Every
year the media jumps right in there dishing out these doom
and gloom reports and laying a guilt trip on consumers who
already feel guilty because they don't have enough money to
buy as many gifts as they would like for their friends and

Then, about two weeks into January, the media come out with
reports saying that the past holiday shopping season was the
best ever. The reports say consumers turned out in droves
and spent more money than in any year previously. What a
surprise. The economy has been saved! All it took was the
sacrifice of our credit cards.

It's no wonder consumers turn out to purchase gifts. During
the holiday season the number of television commercials for
toys and gift items seem to double. These commercials drive
home to our children exactly which toys are the coolest and
which ones they must have to be accepted by their friends.
Then our children start in on us making us feel that they
will be deprived if they don't get the latest and greatest
toys under the tree on Christmas morning.

About a week before Christmas comes the
Christmas-is-too-commercial cycle. This cycle never begins
until most of us have ran our credit cards up to the max. Of
course we agree that too much emphasis has been place on the
material instead of the spiritual for this holiday, but its
too late. We are forced to become more spiritual because we
are on our knees praying that God will help us get out of

Next comes the New Years resolution cycle. Everyone with any
kind of a self-help k gimmick begins pitching for us to
spend more money to get more fit or healthy. Again the media
is out there doing stories about all these sure-fire methods
for us to turn ourselves into the perfect human.

Of course you know the next major cycle the media jump on,
income tax day. Starting in early March the media become
full of reports on how many months we have to work paying
Uncle Sam before we get to keep part of our pay check. I
think its at least up to six months now.

By early April the stories change to how many people wait
until the last minute to file their income tax. And of
course on April 15 the television cameras will be at the
local U.S. Post Office filming all those last minute filers
as they drive up to the mail box.

It kind of makes you think that hanging in every news room
of every television and radio station and every newspaper
office there is a calender that, along with the months,
dates, presidents' birthdays and holidays, includes a list
of required news reports for every season and occasion.

Rick Smith is the City Editor of the Pecos Enterprise whose
column appears each Monday. He can be e-mailed at:

Critic's Corner

Couple share messages with a picture book

Robert and Lynn Jones celebrate Christmas each year by
writing an inspriring newsletter to friends. This Christmas,
they are sharing those messages with the world through a
slim, picture-packed book called "The Promise of Christmas -
a celebration of hope.

Each brief message appears opposite a photograph that helps
the reader to experience the message of peace.

"The Promise of Christmas stirs the imagination and awakens
new insights as it challenges us to move into the future
with a deep trust in humanity and a strong hope - indeed a
vision much needed in our world," said Gabrielle Kocour,
O.S.B., justice & peace Ministry, Church of St. Mary, Tulsa.

Available in bookstores at $10.95 or by e-mail through Internet site is

Peggy McCracken

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