THE ‘MINIMIZATION’ NEWS PERSPECTIVE
Notice the “just drinking in the park” part of that headline? The author of this article factually reports that it was illegal to drink any alcohol in that park so what Bruce did was definitively and without question against the law. This was more than “just drinking in the park.” The headline was not quoting Mr. Springsteen directly; this was the writer asserting the “just drinking” view. Clearly an attempt to minimize Springsteen’s behavior, which was a choice. As American culture increasingly pushes for the legalization of drugs of all types, I would say that an adult drinking alcohol is generally viewed as no big deal. In this case, the “just” refers to the one charge that was upheld when two other charges were dropped – all having to do with this one situation and alcohol. We must further explore what people intend by their choice of words. Further reading and researching is necessary.
CBS’s headline reads: DWI and Reckless Driving Charges Dropped Against Bruce Springsteen. No mention in the headline of the one charge that stuck, as they say. The article headline and omission of the charge that he did receive leaves much to be assumed. The writer’s choice of words appears as though all charges were dropped and Mr. Springsteen was cleared completely. One must watch the video report of this story to gain more of the facts, but even that video presentation was slanted in Springsteen’s favor to minimize his behavior.
Rolling Stone’s headline reads: Bruce Springsteen DWI, Reckless Driving Charges Dismissed at Hearing. This article is very protective of Bruce’s reputation stating that “up until” three summers ago it was legal to drink alcohol there.
The charges against Bruce Springsteen are very serious and operating any motor vehicle under the influence of any medication or drug like alcohol (yes, alcohol is a drug in liquid form) is dangerous to the operator and to the general public. How many people have you known who have lost a loved one to a drunk driving incident? We should not minimize drinking and driving no matter who the offender is.
PROVOCATIVE NEWS PERSPECTIVE
A commercial for Jeep featured Bruce Springsteen but was suspended for a short time which included the Super Bowl, a time when commercials are most talked about. Once two of the three charges were dismissed, the commercial was re-released and this article used the words “cranking up” description of his Jeep commercial which is probably meant to stir some of the emotions within us. This article gives events of the arrest and Jeep’s decision to “pause” the ad until the legal matters were cleared up.
Interestingly, Mr. Springsteen was quoted in the article as stating, “I think I can pay that immediately, Your Honor,” when referring to his $500.00 fine and $40.00 of court fees. Smiling when he said it, that statement has an air of sarcasm in it as we all understand this is just a drop in the bucket for the man admired by millions around the world with hundreds of millions in the bank. I hope he meant it without sarcasm but when I read that comment, I was concerned that he is not truly sorry that this event occurred. I hope I am wrong.
Another hard-hitting article headline produced by Vulture reads: Bruce Springsteen Pleads Guilty to Drinking in a National Park. It was a truthful headline though it omitted the two charges that were dropped against Springsteen. Overall, I found this article to be honest, hard-hitting, and mostly fair.
I appreciate this headline the most because it highlights the truth without omitting facts or minimizing facts. My point in this short blog post is that readers must be discerning, and thoughtful, without blinding accepting what you read in your news sources. Writers definitely slant the news in the direction they want you to go. You can catch the slant if you think and look for it. No longer does the media simply report the facts; writers are steering you all the time. Persuasive writing, not reporting, is the world in which we now live. That’s true with the majority of news reporting these days and that’s true of all shades of the political spectrum. No one is without guilt!
JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE
As I read each of these reports, here is a consensus of facts about the event as far as I can gather:
At 4:12 pm on November 14, 2020, Mr. Bruce Springsteen drove his motorcycle into a national park. He confessed to a park ranger who is a law enforcement officer in a national park, of drinking two shots of tequila, and adding that he intended to drive out of the park twenty minutes later. It is illegal to drink alcohol in that park and has been for several years now. The ranger reported Mr. Springsteen smelled like alcohol, had “glassy eyes,” refused a breath test, failed a field test by taking “45 steps” instead of the instructed “18,” swayed during his walk in the field test, and possessed an empty bottle of Patron. At the ranger’s station AFTER all of these observations, Mr. Springsteen took a breath test where his blood alcohol level was 0.02 much lower than the 0.08 required for intoxication. But understand, this test was taken some time after the events described above.
The ranger issued violation notices for driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a closed area but only the latter charge of those three was admitted to by Mr. Springsteen in a guilty plea.
WHAT SHOULD WE THINK?
I always hate writing about current events of celebrities involved in drug situations (again, alcohol is a drug) because it might appear to some that I have an axe to grind with Bruce Springsteen when I do not. I am a fan of some of his music. He is a very talented man.
My concern is how an incident like this is used to crucify some people while others get mercy and grace from the world’s system. You won’t find justice and fairness in this world in too many situations but you will find it in the forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ. Driving under the influence of any substance is a serious concern as it kills not only the drunkard but also the innocents. I personally know several people who have had DWI/DUI incidents that have resulted in the death of some innocent person. These stories are very sad. The good news is that the Lord used even those tragic events to bring these friends of mine to repentance and faith in Christ. I pray the same thing happens for Mr. Springsteen.
My concern is that this type of incident will happen again if Mr. Springsteen is not truly repentant but I hope I am wrong.
I just lost some of you. “Forgiveness for what?” you may ask. He wasn’t even near the legal limit. Let me share a segment from The Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective, page 60:
Comparative morality is a primary reason for the large variety of “self-help group meetings.” This categorizing of our sin is often prideful. Abusing drugs in any form is a sin called drunkenness in the Bible. Alcohol is a drug in liquid form. It doesn’t matter if you inject it, snort it, drink it, pop it, or inhale it; whatever means you use to get the substance into your body excessively is the sin of drunkenness. It is a sin in God’s eyes, and it will destroy you according to Ephesians 5:18. When you minimize your sin, blame-shift, or rationalize your behavior it is easy to continue in your sin by using your substance of choice excessively. By comparing your life to others that you consider “worse,” you are justifying your sinful actions. You can always find another sinner who is “worse than you,” but by minimizing and comparing your morality to others, you will never come to full repentance — to full acknowledgement of the truth of your life. (2 Timothy 2:25-26)
And page 63 states,
Is it a sin to drink alcohol? No. Alcohol, by itself, is the amount of tiny fermented microbes in the liquid that produces the intoxication results. Does God want you to count the number of microscopic fermented molecules that are in your drink? No. Because the bigger question here is, What is the motivating desire in your heart when you want to drink or use the intoxicant?
Regardless, the forgiveness from the only one Person who matters (the Lord Jesus Christ) is available to Mr. Springsteen if he desires it and my prayer is that he is granted repentance by the One True God (Romans 2:4). The free gift of salvation awaits those who repent and place their faith in Christ alone for eternal life according to Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
 Evan Simko-Bednarski, CNN Entertainment, DWI charges dropped against Bruce Springsteen, who pleads guilty to just drinking in the park https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/entertainment/bruce-springsteen-charges-plead/index.html Accessed February 24, 2021.
 CBS News online, DWI and reckless driving charges dropped against Bruce Springsteen https://www.cbsnews.com/video/dwi-and-reckless-driving-charges-dropped-against-bruce-springsteen/ accessed February 24, 2021, 2/24/2021: video.
 Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone Magazine, Bruce Springsteen DWI, Reckless Driving Charges Dismissed at Hearing https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/bruce-springsteen-hearing-dwi-charges-dismissed-1132609/, accessed February 24, 2021
 Gary Gastelu, Fox News online, Jeep is cranking up Bruce Springsteen again after DUI charge dropped https://www.foxnews.com/auto/jeep-bruce-springsteen-dui updated 2/24/2021, accessed February 24, 2021.
 Victoria Bekiempis, Vulture. Bruce Springsteen Pleads Guilty to Drinking in National Park https://www.vulture.com/2021/02/bruce-springsteen-pleads-guilty-to-dwi-in-national-park.html Updated 2/24/2021, Accessed February 24, 2021.
 Kathleen Hopkins, Asbury Park Press, Springsteen pleads guilty to drinking on Sandy Hook; DWI charge dropped https://www.app.com/story/news/local/courts/2021/02/24/bruce-springsteens-dwi-charge-dropped-boss-admits-consuming-tequila/4558989001/ Updated 2/24/2021, accessed February 24, 2021.
 Ibid. Springsteen pleads guilty to drinking on Sandy Hook; DWI charge dropped updated 2/24/2021, accessed February 24, 2021.
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