Friday, June 9, 2017

When Is Fake, Real? When It's News

At one time in High School I wanted to be a journalist. Especially a photo-journalist. I worked for the High School newspaper and the yearbook. I took lots of pictures and wrote some articles. I learned about an article that was “directed” by the school Principal. He wanted the article to read a certain way. Basically, he was limiting the free press of the school and trying to put out his agenda rather than news. When I heard about this I appealed to the head of the Journalism department, a teacher I knew and loved and who influenced me greatly. It did no good. The article ran as the Principal wanted it. I was so upset by this that I started an underground newspaper called “Another View”. I told the story of the article and other things that I saw going on that I thought were wrong and unethical. This was in a time before cheap copiers and computers so I typed it up and ran a mimeographed copy of my paper. I went early to school and “delivered” my paper in each locker. Ever since I’ve been skeptical of mainstream media (MSM). I also was a kid in the 60’s and I never thought I’d grow up to be “the establishment”. But liberal thinking just annoys me. It’s not very logical and it plays on emotions. MSM cannot be trusted.
Joseph Goebbels served as minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich under Adolf Hitler—a position from which he spread the Nazi message.
These are some of Goebbels quotes:
“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.”
“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
These quotes remind me of mainstream media today. This is where the term “fake news” came from, propaganda.
Propaganda is: Information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
The deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

The particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.
To be effective propaganda themes should be repeated over and over. Ever hear of a “news cycle?” This stories sometimes repeated many times over. Goebbels knew this and so do many today.
The easiest way the media keeps you from making up your own mind about what’s happening in the world is by simply ignoring stories that don’t fit their narrative. When was the last time you saw a news story about the ten thousand Christians being murdered every year in Myanmar (Burma)? No? Ask yourself why not. It’s human nature to fear the unknown, and so it isn’t surprising when the media preys on that fear to increase ratings.
One way I have tried to maintain a better world view is to stay in contact with two people. One is a Swedish businessman who travels because of his business. He buys and sells heavy machinery internationally. Some of this equipment is only made in a few places in the world so he travels a lot.
Another person I stay in contact with is a young ex-special forces operator who now works for the State Department. He works in Diplomatic security. I have a close friend who worked in Diplomatic Security with this young man. He travels extensively and reports what he sees and knows to my friend and me. I’m grateful for his insights into wars the U.S. is still involved in not including Afghanistan and Iraq.
If you’ve made the mistake of turning on your television or firing up the internet in the past several months, you’ve likely been subjected to a near-incessant drumbeat of “fake news.” It’s a term being bandied about by all sides of the political spectrum.
The accusation is that there are stories being reported as fact that happen to fit a political agenda, but are based on sketchy, if not outright fictional information. There is ample proof that this shoddy reporting has been used on all sides, bringing mistrust by the American people.
In my 25+ years working for the government, I’ve seen a more sinister way that the media shapes public opinion, and it’s more prevalent than you think. They use subtler methods to mold the culture and, in the process, insert themselves into the story in a very self-serving and perverse way.
One way the media influences how Americans think about certain issues is by framing the conversation in such a way that reasonable, decent people can only swallow one side of the argument.
Let me give you an example. With the news that President Donald Trump intended to enforce federal immigration law, the so-called “mainstream” media outdid themselves to paint him as racist, xenophobic, and just downright mean what has been regarded as sound executive policy under other presidents.
CNN then deployed its senior correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, to Jordan, where there are hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, ostensibly just biding their time until they can move to a country that shares their Muslim culture. I mean, a country where they can get the government to provide them with a lifestyle at least 100 times better than they were accustomed to in Syria before the war. The Obama administration made an art form out of ignoring stories that went counter to its political position.
Amanpour interviewed scores of refugees living in tents—the more ragged the better—about how cheated they must feel because they missed the boat by not getting to the United States before that devil Trump seized power. The not-so-subtle message is that these people obviously deserve to come to the United States of Welfare because, “Look! They are living in tents and some of them need medical procedures.”
Never mentioned was the fact that for the cost to bring one refugee to the United States, we could support 13 refugees where they are, and make it more likely they will return to their home country to rebuild once the violence stops.
And just in case Amanpour’s empathetic frowns didn’t motivate you to call your congressman and demand he or she throw open the gates of our country to shiploads of military-age refugees, the intrepid CNN reporter brought her young son along on this trip for some great phot ops of him interacting with refugee kids his age. What could be cuter? How could we be so callous as to deprive poor children the world over of their God-given right to grow up in a free country their forefathers did nothing to build?
If you are noticing the sarcasm, that’s because I’m laying it on pretty thick. Look, the Syrian refugee crisis is a catastrophe, there’s no arguing that. But can you see that CNN is going far beyond reporting on the plight of the Syrian people and is purposely framing the story in such a way as to shape public opinion? This might not be “fake news” in the pure sense, but it is nefarious and dishonest at the very least.
Here’s another example of how the media endeavors to go beyond reporting to influencing public perception. In 2010 CNN was discussing Iraq.
I’d been encouraged by the progress U.S. troops were making in the Iraq. Casualties were way down and the number of roadside bombs that were exploding around the country had dropped immensely. Part of the reason was that our military had gotten very effective at finding and defusing them before they went off. Things were looking up. Violence in general was down and a sense of hopefulness was evident there.
CNN was having a roundtable discussion on the situation in Iraq. I don’t remember having a problem with the content of the discussion—various “expert” talking heads were expressing their opinion. But it was the footage CNN was playing in the background that jumped out at you.
As the experts were talking, CNN was showing footage of a fierce gun battle. U.S. troops appeared to be pinned down, engaged in heavy combat. The sense it conveyed to the viewers is that Iraq was a mess—a quagmire every bit as lethal as Vietnam had been.
There was only one problem. The footage they were running in the background was from the battle of Fallujah, five years earlier. While gunfight footage is “sexy,” no doubt, how honest is it to run five-year-old gunfight footage, giving the impression that it is current?
The media aren’t the only ones shaping the story before it gets to you. Politicians, in some ways, invented this game. The Obama administration made an art form out of ignoring stories that went counter to its political position. Even when calling for more gun control, President Obama defaulted to the Sikh temple shooting in 2012 (shooter was a white supremacist), or the 2015 Charleston church shooting. You can be sure he never mentioned the Fort Hood massacre or the San Bernardino shootings, because the perpetrators were Muslim and didn't fit his narrative that the only real threat to Americans is angry white men.
The news exists to report things out of the ordinary. Keep that in mind. If there’s a 10-car pileup on the freeway near your house, you know that’s a rare occurrence because you live there—you have context.
But when a bomb goes off in, let’s say, Colombia—and you haven’t been to Colombia—in your mind, bombings are everyday occurrences, and if given the chance to go to Colombia, you’ll probably pass. Never mind that you are statistically more likely to be the victim of violent crime in Chicago or Detroit. You don’t have context. It’s human nature to fear the unknown, and so it isn’t surprising when the media preys on that fear to increase ratings.
Ever wonder why most news is free? That’s because you are not the customer. You are the product. There is a war being waged for your mind. You must be the victor. You must not give into the hype and the rhetoric. Find better news sources. View or read MSM with great skepticism. Think for yourself and don’t be a victim of the Goebbels-style propaganda that comes from MSM.
“Fake news” has been out there a long time. One of things I like about President Trump is his disdain for MSM. I don’t like that much about the way he acts or what he Tweets, but I understand wanting to have access to the people that can’t be manipulated by CNN or the NY Times. I have the same disdain and distrust of MSM.
Don’t drink the Kool-aid, find real, honest, sources for your news. Stop, I beg of you, STOP! Getting your “news” from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These are NOT news outlets! Do your own research, find 3 or 4 credible sources and cite them. Don’t pass on crap that should die on the internet instead of living a long life. We can be better. We are better. And please for the love of all that is true, don’t believe everything you read on the internet!
Semper Paratus
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