Brokaw: Google Is Making America Fat

    December 20, 2006

Veteran news anchor Tom Brokaw goes off on a tangent about the Internet being the cause of American indifference and obesity.

At his induction into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame in L.A., NBC’s seasoned and respected news anchor Tom Brokaw had some unkind words to say about search engines and the Internet’s effect on American society.

Brokaw spoke of the content in his sixth hour-long documentary in a series on illegal immigration in the United States entitled “Tom Brokaw Reports: In the Shadow of the American Dream”, at his hall of fame induction.

In the documentary Brokaw reports from ski resort towns Aspen and Vail Colorado, where there has been a recent influx of illegal Hispanic immigrants who are reportedly taking construction jobs and filling the local schools, churches and clinics.

Brokaw states in the report that the jobs are being taken by the illegal immigrants because America’s “computer narcosis” makes citizens soft and wary of physical labor.

“Americans lead such ‘virtual’ lives, we’re not living real lives,” he says. “We don’t see anything in the popular culture celebrating hard work. It’s all about flash and making big bucks on Wall Street.”

He goes on to say that the younger generation of Americans consider the type of work that illegal immigrants are doing to be beneath them, as a result of the boom of the dot-com industry.

“There are very good jobs American kids don’t want to take – $15- to $16-an-hour summer construction jobs I would have killed for in high school. They don’t want to work that hard or do grunt work. They want computer work.”

First of all, the cost of living has gone up considerably since 66 year-old Brokaw was young. Secondly, it should be considered a good thing that young Americans are striving for more mentally challenging careers, as opposed to physical labor; there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing either career path.

As a result of the popularity of the search engines and the Internet in the U.S., Brokaw claims that Americans have become flabby “by spending all our time riffing through Google and other Web sites. To what end? You’re not going to solve the world’s problems by hitting the delete button. You’re not going to solve Islamic rage by clicking ‘help’ on the toolbar.”

True, surfing the Internet won’t solve the world’s problems, but it isn’t making them any worse. The Internet and search engines are incredibly powerful tools that have absolutely revolutionized the face of the world. Google was even used by the U.S. government to locate terrorists and create lists of possible threats.

So if we as Americans effectively ban the use of the Internet and search engines, would we start working physically harder jobs and start caring more about the problems of the world? Probably not.

“Computer jobs” and Internet technology are not what have made 119 million Americans, or 64.5 percent, overweight or obese. Lifestyle choices, and sometimes genetics, are what make people obese.

As for the indifference toward immigrants “taking” labor jobs, it could possibly have something to do with the general disdain the majority of Americans have for current government officials and issues.

One blogger had this to say on Brokaw’s comments: “Tom, you’re not going to solve the worlds problems by water rafting in Chile or giving idiotic interviews about your vain life.”

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Autmn Davis is a staff writer for WebProNews covering ebusiness and technology.