Bias in the Media

Media bias comes in two forms, the suppression of news coverage and the coverage of news in a manner that constitutes propaganda. Propaganda, or what we are being told and sold, makes up half the problem of biased reporting, the other half of the problem lies in the suppression of news.

In an article I was reading this morning, published by POLITICO, there was a great quote by Sharyl Attkisson, “The images that the public sees every day, in many forms, are influenced and manipulated by political, corporate and other special interests through orchestrated and well-financed campaigns.”

I had great hopes, for a brief moment, that for once the media would discuss the presence of and issues caused by corporate or special interest bias in the media. Sadly, rather than branching out past the standard issue of political bias in the media, the article only focused on the well discussed presence of political bias.

Political bias/propaganda is fairly easy for most people to identify, and the educated can maneuver through it with little difficulty. Although frustrating, political bias is not the real danger because it is relatively obvious. It is the corporate and special interest bias/propaganda that hold the real danger for the public, because of the difficulty identifying the motivation. We could say, “It is all about money,” but this oversimplification obscures the difficulties we face in identifying what money is purchasing. Certainly, a corporation would want to increase its earnings and thereby wish to wage a campaign against anything that threatens earning potential, but unlike with pure political bias, the public is more often then not unaware the campaign is being waged. Special interest bias/propaganda is even more difficult to identify, because unlike in a political campaign where the special interest group is identified at the end, news coverage does not include a “paid for by” statement at the end of each news story. Nor will you hear a “this story which we did not cover was suppressed by” statement during the news coverage.

While many can learn to read between the lines of propaganda and glean an understanding of bias, one cannot read between the lines when there are no lines due to suppression.

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Reporting the News: a Psychic Creation

I  wish journalists would study more than historical talking-points before tackling foreign policy issues, particularly the effectiveness of intervention wars.

If the history of foreign policy is not their strong suit, bringing in an ‘expert’ would be fine. Bringing in two opposing ‘experts’ would be better, especially if the ‘experts’ were really ‘experts’ and not just the talking heads of the day.

When did reporting the news become nothing more than selling the news? Maybe it has always been that way but there are simply more annoying ways to sell it today.

Propaganda has always had a role in war, and even without governmental encouragement media has spread war stimulating propaganda. It all seems to revolve around having a good story to tell. Sadly, the good story, which spreads like wildfire in the blink of an eye or the click of a share button, can and does affect the public and the officials who in the end create the events that make the news. Reporting the news, therefore, takes on the nature of predicting the future, but a future the psychic has helped create.

It has been fascinating to discover how often propaganda has been shared by the media without the urging of a government. As we swim through the dangerous waters of governmental oversight, we should worry about the other dangerous creature in the water. Drowning may not be what kills us, but rather the sharks feeding off our fear of the water. 

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Saith Me… Choosing to be Miserable

Interpersonal connections through various modes and methods, specifically during this past two months, have reminded me of the old saying,

“You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

There is one category starkly missing, some people can never be pleased because they are determined to be miserable.

Regardless of the justifications of misery – temporary or chronic – there is a stark difference between experiencing misery and being miserable.

Wretched, distressful events occur, but it is a choice one makes to become wretchedly distressed by the events. The key factor separating the experience of misery and being miserable is Choice.

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Saith Me… Opinionated and Uninformed

It is amazing how many uniformed people have such strong opinions, and such strong desires to share those opinions.

Under-informed and curious, good combination. Uninformed and angry, not such a good combination.

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FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

What will be remembered?

Being fully aware of political spin and propaganda, I am wondering if in the end this letter will be what history records for future generations to study.

Willingness to come together for war, but government shutdown in an attempt to stop a health care law. Where does this leave us and what does this mean for our future? Most importantly, what does this really say about us as a nation?

Reid to Boehner 2013

 

PDF of the letter can be found at the ‘letter’ link and at the following:  harry-reid-letter-to-john-boehner.pdf

Saith Me… Success

Success is not measured by the things we accumulate. It is measured by the love we share and by our individual growth. It is also measured by how much we are loved by others.

Saith Me… Teaching Fear or Self-worth?

We are a society that teaches fear rather than choice and accountability.

This process of teaching fear begins at our basic needs of ‘food and shelter’. Clothing is part of the “shelter” and we are taught that our choices in clothing are responsible for the actions of others. Should not the choices and actions of others make them accountable and not us?

Teaching fear is not an effective way of teaching the importance of choice and accountability.  It does not help us make wise decisions and does not promote the development of wisdom. Fear weakens us rather than strengthens us. It creates victims rather than creating self-worth. 

Saith Me… A Note to My Child

It is easy for people to hate when times seem tough. It is also easy for people to justify their hate because they are ignorant of real history – they only know the glossy myth. I am proud that you are not one of those people, but seek to love all of mankind. I am also proud that you seek out the history and culture behind the myth. I love that you ask “why” and have learned to chart your own course rather than to allow yourself to blindly follow those who would seek to lead you astray (even if they know not what they do). I am proud of you for who you are and who you will grow to be because of the choices you make, particularly the choice to love not hate.

History of Intervention

Over the past few months, I have been studying the history of intervention as part of my pursuit of a Master’s in Military and Diplomatic History. There seems to be two common lessons to learn from the history of military intervention.

First:

There is no “getting it right.” Military intervention forcibly halts conflict for a time but does not end conflict. It always comes back. Inaction will cause many to suffer. Action will cause many to suffer. Therefore, do we intervene and cause suffering in order to stop suffering, all the while simply postponing war for the next generation? Or do we let war run its course and watch a generation die?

Second:

Stopping regional war but risking international world war is not usually worth the price. Unfortunately, no one can figure out when the price is worth paying. When 100,000 die? When multiple nations topple? When the threat reaches your own back door?

 

There is one new lesson being recorded for our posterity even as I post this.

Those who call for war are seldom the ones who fight the war. This is nothing new, but it is being documented in great volume in the news and social media. Armchair warriors cry for a strong stand against tyranny and call it weakness when diplomacy is used. They approve of the jobs created by military buildup but disapprove of paying the bill. They think war is like a game of Risk, a game that when an impasse is reached you box it up and put it on the shelf for the next time you feel like prancing around like a peacock. Being strong means looking strong rather than acting strong.

What we should be learning.

The one thing that history doesn’t seem to teach anymore is the value of stepping back from a fight and trying for peace once again. When this choice is made, if it is made, it is belittled and viewed as a weakness. It, rather than warmongering, is called the cause of future conflict.

President Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak softly and carry a big stick…” But we do not speak softly any more.

Machiavelli advised to be respected rather than loved. He used the word “feared” but his context inferred respected because the Prince should avoid being hated.

The person who always carries a big stick will eventually be hated – hated for acting, hated for not acting, and hated for the threat of the big stick. Sadly, this is the lesson history is trying to teach but a lesson we just don’t seem to be learning.