I can remember the first TV that I ever bought....which had a remote control and a feature to it that I came to appreciate...the mute-button. As the weeks passed with this new TV and the ability to mute....I came to hit the button almost automatically when commercials came on the air.
By the 1990s....my German wife had tired of my mute-flex activity and I was told to lessen my mute-button activity.
Over the past five years, when I sit and watch news media shows....I tend to hit the mute-button an awful lot.
For example, if Senator John McCain appears....it takes barely twenty seconds for me to sense incompetence and do the mute-flex until his segment is finished.
When Jeff Bezos, the Amazon and Washington Post guy, appears...it's a five-second reaction and I hit the mute-button. There's just not much that Jeff is remarkable about or keen on....it's mostly some personalized political hype. He had one bright idea in assembling Amazon but beyond that he's just not an authority on anything else.
There are certain actors now....that if they suddenly pop for an interview, it's a pretty quick mute-flex for me to react. Kim Kardashian, Kevin Spacey, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, and Whoopi.....it only take three seconds for me to react. Nothing personal....it's just that when they typically appear, it's not to talk about their latest work....it's either soap opera talk or some political gimmick.
For US Senators, there three groups from which I put the mute-flex into effect. There's the folks who get five seconds (Patty Murray, Lisa Murkowski, the Rubio, and 'Chief' Warren). The second group gets about 20 seconds to show their level of competence for the day (McCain, McConnell, and Booker). The third group will get up to an entire minute (Portman, Cruz, and Tim Scott fit into that category).
The problem for me is that I see a lot of people trying to influence you with nickel and dime-talk. They don't know much about the topic but seem to have memorized ten lines and repeat those often (Nancy Pelosi is famous for that type of behavior). Maybe twenty years ago, Pelosi was bright and clever, but if you look at statements over the past three years....she's got some card in her pocket to remind her of the scripted answers and sticks always to the script.
The Apple CEO....Tim Cook....is on my twenty-second list. If he's there to talk about products....fine, I'll sit and listen. If Tim wants to get hyped up on social commentary, politics, or the status of bathrooms in America....well....the mute-flex is pretty quick.
For Rush Limbaugh? I'd put him on the twenty-second list as well. Sometimes, Rush might pick out one single topic and show a fair amount of research. On other cases, he's just hyping some one-star topic without any value, and that mute-button lessens the pain of having to listen to him.
If you add it up? I probably mute at least ninety minutes every month.
The thing is.....it becomes more and more a habit. Rather than sit there and listen to some idiot on NPR talk on some fake topic...I hit mute. Rather than listen to some journalist give a five-minute piece mostly on speculation rather than fact....I hit mute. Rather than listen to the Today Show Matt Lauer give a fake interview with some idiot....I just hit mute.
So all of this brings me to the general public. Are they doing the same thing? Are twenty percent of the viewers of some Sunday talk-show hitting mute when Senator McCain appears? Does anyone track this? Would it scare the networks to realize that a quarter of all their hyped up political talk isn't being listened to? Would Tim Cook of Apple get all upset if he found out that most people don't care to his his political feelings?
The mute-button, in my humble opinion....was the one of the top ten things ever devised or invented.